Friday, January 10, 2014

Oh, patents! T-Fal Actifry

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Got cholesterol? Love fries? I feel your pain….

The SEB group, a French consortium of small cooking appliance manufacturers, including All-Clad, Rowenta, T-fal, Krups and Moulinex, and with roots traceable as far back as 1857, invented a really lo- fat fryer called the T-fal Actifry. Yes, it’s true, and it’s patented…! A low-fat fryer, where it is possible to fry a whole 2 lbs batch of spuds with a single table spoonful of oil. And this amount of oil  is 200 times less than a 2-liter tub of oil for total immersion of food as in the prior art electric fryer!

That’s gotta be cool with your doc…. And it resolves a number of unsatisfactory aspects of the prior art, in particular, the costs of having to buy large quantities of oil, the smell associated with traditional frying and the difficulty of cleaning after this type of cooking, as well as the potential risks of re-using tub oil and its effects on taste...

How does it work? The T-fal fryer contains a very sophisticated blade system that rotates and stirs the food, lifting and turning a portion of the contents at a time, while coating it with the oil as it is cooking. This also prevents the fries from sticking to each other or to the side of the cooker. And it is also possible to use the appliance for other purposes than frying spuds or veggies, such as sautéing, roasting, or more generally, heating food.  

This patent was originally granted in France as FR2896677, in 2007 and under the PCT as WO2007/088279. It was also filed as US2011/0185917 A1 and US 7993694B2, and in 25 more countries separately, including Russia, Japan, China, Canada, Australia, Spain, Germany…, plus more. The abstract below, and one of the patent drawings are included.  

Abstract WO2007/088279   The invention relates to an appliance (1) for cooking food, comprising on the one hand a receptacle (2) designed to contain the food and on the other a blade (8) inside the container (2), said container (2) and blade (8) being designed to be given a movement of relative rotation in order to stir the food in the container (2), the appliance being characterized in that the blade (8) includes an overturning means (13) shaped so as to overturn, under the action of the movement of relative rotation, at least some of the food in an overturning direction (D) which exhibits, in the plane of the movement of rotation, a mostly radial component. 


But, if you have cholesterol and love cheese, you are in a pickle…..And whether SEB can rescue you a second time  is yet another story…

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