It's no question I'm a fan of cooking. I also love technology. So, the idea of merging the two together in smart kitchen appliances intrigues me. One of my favorite apps tells me when my smoker and the meat on it come to temperature and there are countless apps to make grocery shopping easier, but what if you could cook a multi-course meal with just a few taps on a tablet? When I was offered the opportunity to try the Multo by CookingPal to see how it would perform for home cooks, I did not hesitate to put it to the test.
What is Multo?
Multo is a device that has multi-level cooking capabilities so you can cook multiple items at the same time. The base of the machine contains a sophisticated heating element and blade which are precisely controlled by the Smart Kitchen Hub, which is a tablet.
It's capable of 15+ cooking functions, with more in development. Here's the list of functionality so far:
- Keep Warm
- Slow Cook
- Sous Vide
Sounds almost impossible for one appliance to be able to do all of that, right? Multo works by controlling four factors: temperature, time, speed and rotation of the blade. It can essentially replace your food processor, blender, KitchenAid mixer and even to a point, your stovetop.
I have spent a lot of time cooking with this device this year, and I want to share my honest review with you.
Who is Multo for?
Let's talk about who Multo is for.
Multo is for anyone who needs to cook meals quickly or doesn't have time for meal prep, so it's a good fit for working professionals and busy parents. Multo is ideal for Millennials and Gen Z because they are familiar with technology and perhaps haven't been taught to cook for themselves yet. I also think it benefits this younger group of people because they likely haven't already invested in expensive kitchen appliances such as a KitchenAid mixer, Vitamix blender and Breville food processor. The Multo certainly isn't cheap at a $999 price tag, but if you consider the price of the three high-end appliances it can replace (which average about $450 each), it's actually the better deal.
Multo is for someone who may not have a lot of kitchen space. I have a very small kitchen and while I was surprised at the size of the base unit, it fits well on my kitchen counter, although having tall cabinets would be ideal since you stack the steaming baskets on top of the unit. I haven't pulled out many other appliances since I've been testing the Multo so I'm fine with it sitting on my countertop. And after staying in a tiny home earlier this year with a friend, I think it could even be a good solution for those homeowners, since the small kitchens in tiny homes often don't offer stovetops. This is so much better than a hot plate!
Multo is for someone who may not be interested in learning knife skills or the techniques behind cooking. Since the machine does all of the chopping for you, knowing how to create a perfect brunoise of onion is not necessary. (But if you want to learn what brunoise means, you should take The Chopping Block's popular Knife Skills class!)
Multo is for anyone who wants to cook healthier food, and this is a big plus for me, since I'm focused on healthy cooking this year. The unit comes to temperature very quickly which allows the food to cook quickly and hold its nutritional value. It's steaming functionality works well with lean proteins, such as chicken, pork, and especially fish. In the Sole Meuniere guided recipe, (I substituted flounder for sole and green beans for fennel), the vegetables and fish cook at the same time in a steamer basket. Once they are done, you make a sauce of butter, capers, lemon juice and parsley in the mixing bowl and drizzle it over the fish and vegetables. Healthy, delicious and quick!
Flounder Meuniere with Green Beans - Multo guided recipe with my substitutions
Now, who is Multo not a good fit for?
Multo is not for someone who wants to learn the "whys" of cooking. This machine can do a lot of the work for you, but you won't necessarily understand why things are happening. There's no doubt someone can get more proficient with using Multo by making recipes, and it will certain enhance your knowledge about food in general because of exposure to ingredients and new dishes. You can become an expert within this kind of element, but using Multo will not enhance your understanding of cooking techniques. That's what our cooking classes are for!
Multo is also not for someone who doesn't at least have a basic understanding of technology or want to work with it in the kitchen. So, it's not for my mom, and that's okay. She's happy to be my guinea pig and taste all of my Multo creations I make!
The Multo in Action
One of my favorite healthy guided recipes is Multo's Chickpea Curry. Here's a video of that recipe, from start to finish, so you can see how the Multo works.
Chickpea Curry - Multo guided recipe
The Multo comes with over 350 recipes in the hub, from breakfast to dessert, and more are released every week. Existing recipes are improved frequently, too. You can even join the CookingPal Facebook group and vote on your favorite new weekly recipes and share your own creations, something I do regularly. By having all of these recipes in one place, it's cut down on the time I spend scouring the Internet for meal ideas. The recipes include global flavors, so they could introduce you to some new ingredients or help you make dishes that you may have previously reserved for takeout from your favorite ethnic restaurants.
You can take pictures with the hub and make notes, which I do anytime I change a recipe based on my preference, like the substitutions I mentioned with the fish and green beans. One of the first recipes I made when I got my Multo was eggnog around Christmas-time. I found the recipe a tad on the sweet side for my taste, so I made a note within the hub to decrease the amount of sugar. When I made a second batch, the note reminded me, I made the adjustment, and it was perfect! Note that once the eggnog custard is cooled, it thickens up nicely and goes well with a shot of rum, bourbon or brandy.
The scale function, which I discussed in the curry video, is pretty impressive. All you have to do is hit the scale icon, then "tare" and the Multo becomes a scale at any point, allowing you to add ingredients until you get to the desired weight. I've found it to be very accurate in its measurements (yes, I tested it against my digital kitchen scale), and if you happen to track your food intake as I often do, there's no guesswork involved. You know the exact amounts of the ingredients you are using in the dish and can therefore calculate calories accurately.
You can also adjust the serving portions in the hub, so if a recipe is designed to serve 4 but you are feeding 8, you can simply adjust the number of servings and it automatically adjusts the ingredient amounts within the hub. This makes scaling recipes up or down very easy!
One thing that I think will take some getting used to for home cooks is that many of the ingredients in the recipes are listed in weights. Now, that's how restaurant chefs cook in order to achieve consistency, but weighing ingredients is not something home cooks are typically used to doing. If the recipe calls for 10 ounces of onion, it can be hard to know how many onions to buy for that recipe. Does that equal one small onion, or a half of a large onion? This is something Multo tells me they are working on - standardizing measurements across the globe. Obviously, the measurements we use here in the United States aren't the same as those used in Europe or Asia so they are working to regularize that. Multo is a global product, but they are working to make it more user friendly for Americans.
Another way they are doing this is by evolving the language of the recipes. Some of the terms or names for ingredients aren't exactly the same as we use in the U.S. (i.e. shrimps vs shrimp) but with the pictures, you can usually figure it out pretty easily. For example, when I made the steamed Veggie Dumplings guided recipe, the ingredients listed Napa cabbage which is what I purchased at the store, but the image was actually of green cabbage. Napa cabbage does absorb more liquid than green cabbage so I knew to strain my filling before using it in my homemade dumpling wrappers. They didn't look at good as the finished picture in the hub but they were definitely delicious!
Veggie Dumplings - Multo guided recipe
Multo Clean Up
One of the biggest benefits of Multo is how easy it cleans itself. There are two modes: quick wash and deep clean. I've found it does a really good job, even in some sticky dough situations. Here's the quick wash mode.
Here's the clean bowl which just needs a rinse in the sink to finish. It definitely saves on doing dishes! You can also easily remove the blade at the bottom of the bowl if you do need to do any hand scrubbing. The entire mixing bowl is also dishwasher safe, if you prefer to just throw it in there.
Multo cleaned mixing bowl
Quality of Multo
One benefit of the Multo equipment is its obvious quality. The mixing bowl is big and sturdy, and nothing about it seems cheap. The hub can be wiped off with a wet cloth in case of spills, which are bound to happen in the kitchen. All equipment is included, so no additional purchases are necessary.
I had the privilege to speak with Chef Jamie Foy at CookingPal all the way from Hong Kong via Zoom about my experience with the Multo recently. His job is to review the original 200 recipes and develop new recipes for Multo every day. He also works closely with the development team to improve functionality and future features and products.
Chef Jamie Foy with Multo
We started with a breakdown of all the equipment that comes with the Multo.
Of course, I had to ask Chef Jamie about what was in store for the future of Multo! He couldn't tell me everything that's in the works right now (trade secrets, you know), but he provided some good information about nutrition and special diets. If you follow a special diet such as Keto, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan or even the Alkaline diet, you are in luck because more Multo resources are coming your way.
Having the nutritional information included on the recipes is definitely something I'm looking forward to!
Chef Jamie says CookingPal is investing in technology so that they have a better understanding of what recipes home cooks search for, especially in the United States. This will help them hone in on the recipes that need to be created and perfected in the hub. "What are the go-to dishes that people cook every single day? If we can gather that information, Multo can create the ultimate versions of those recipes that home cooks can rely on day in and day out," said Chef Jamie.
Multo for All Levels
The recipes in the hub are listed as beginner, intermediate and expert - depending on your comfort level using the Multo. I would highly recommend trying a few beginner recipes at first and then move up as you learn how the appliance works. There's a little bit of a learning curve, and it can be somewhat intimidating at first, but now that I've been working with the Multo, I feel confident using it for my own recipes and using the manual modes.
Chef Jamie referred to a colleague in his office who literally never cooks. "One of my first challenges in this job was to give her Multo guided recipes to follow, and she was able to do it," he said. "In no time, she was moving on to expert level recipes and using the manual modes on her own. The photos in the recipes really help because along with the text instructions, you have step-by-step photo guidance."
I like that flexibility of the machine. You can follow a guide recipe as it's given to you and adapt it as you like, or you can use manual mode to use the functionality as needed. So, you can blend your smoothies in the morning, boil pasta for lunch and slow cook your evening meal in the Multo. There's even a "keep warm" function (just like my beloved Instant Pot) that allows you to hold food at a safe temperature for periods of time. This is essential for busy people who may not be able to get to the food right as it's finished cooking, especially because the Multo allows you to walk away while the food is cooking.
I used this feature after making the Ginger Chicken Soup until I was ready to eat it. This soup is also a great example of multi-level cooking because you steam the chicken thighs as the soup cooks. You can add noodles to make it a heartier meal, but this was just a light lunch for me so it was perfect as is.
Ginger Chicken Soup - Multo's guided recipe
Multo comes with an iOS app that doesn't control the appliance, but it's great for referencing recipes for making shopping lists. Multo is working on adding shopping lists as part of their development roadmap.
Now, it's time to showcase some of the food I've been making in the Multo. Here are some of the highlights from over the past few months of my testing.
Buffalo Deviled Eggs
This recipe was released just in time for Easter, and since I love both deviled eggs and Buffalo wings, I knew it would be a hit. I'm not a fan of blue cheese (a commonality shared with Chef Jamie!) so I strayed from the recipe and topped the eggs with feta cheese tossed with ranch powder I use to make salad dressings. I added a little finely diced celery because I thought that would be fitting. The eggs cook easily in the simmering basket in the Multo. In my experience, no eggs are easier to peel than those made in the Instant Pot, however this is now my second favorite method.
Buffalo Deviled Eggs - Multo guided recipe
Cinco de Mayo Meal
Continuing with holiday cooking, I used the Multo to make a Cinco de Mayo meal. I made the tomato salsa and creamy guacamole and served them with a shrimp quesadilla with a side of cauliflower rice (with my favorite Hatch chiles) and black beans. Both the shrimp and cauliflower rice can be steamed in the Multo. I mixed the shrimp with some sautéed onions and peppers in a low-carb wrap with a little cheese and toasted it on the stovetop. Then I crisped up some whole wheat pita (instead of tortilla chips) in the oven for dipping into that guacamole and salsa. Healthy and delicious!
Cinco de Mayo meal: Cauliflower rice with black beans, Shrimp Quesadilla, Tomato Salsa & Creamy Guacamole
Cauliflower Rice with Green Chiles - Multo guided recipe with chiles added
Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Coconut Rice
In addition to cauliflower rice, the Multo cooks regular rice in the simmering basket very well - the rice is submerged in the water in the mixing bowl. I used brown jasmine rice to make the Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Coconut Rice guided recipe, and the rice was cooked perfectly. Once the rice is done, you steam the shrimp in the steaming tray. Then, add the rice back to the mixing bowl and flavor with coconut milk. What results is a creamy and sticky rice that goes great with the herbaceous cilantro lime shrimp!
Steaming shrimp in Multo
Steamed shrimp and cooked rice
Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Coconut Rice - Multo guided recipe
I have a love-hate relationship with Cauliflower Pizza. I love that it's a healthier option (maybe) but I hate that it often doesn't resemble real pizza. Most store-bought cauliflower crust pizzas aren't exactly healthy because if you check the ingredients listed on the package, cauliflower is usually not the only ingredient. For the most part, the crust is just the normal flour, with cauliflower added to it. So, I've been making my own cauliflower crust pizzas for a few years now, but this isn't a 'pick up a piece of pizza and eat it' dish. You must use a fork and knife which doesn't feel like pizza to me.
So, when I saw Multo had a version of Cauliflower Pizza, I was eager to try it. I added an extra egg to bind, used pizza sauce I already had in my freezer (from when I made the ultimate homemade pizza), and switched up the toppings from ham and olives (which seemed a little strange to me) and used turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni, pepperoncini, bell peppers, shallots, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. I baked the crust in the oven per the instructions, added my toppings and baked for another 8 minutes until the cheese was melted. It was delicious, and I was able to pick up a slice and eat it like a real pizza! This recipe is definitely getting a spot in my regular rotation.
Cauliflower Pizza - Multo guided recipe with my toppings
One of the things the Multo does best is blend sauces and dips. This cooked hummus is smooth, creamy, tasty and the perfect consistency. I've switched from buying store-bought hummus to this recipe because it's that easy to put together!
Other classic sauces like Remoulade are easy to make in the Multo. I recently whipped up this recipe to serve with some steamed shrimp I picked up from my local seafood market, though you could certainly steam the shrimp yourself in the Multo, like I did above.
Remoulade is a cold sauce made like a mayonnaise with egg yolk and neutral flavored oil (I used grapeseed). The Multo's version includes parsley, cornichons, capers, onion and chopped hard boiled egg. It was incredibly flavorful, very easy to make, and I'll use this for lots of different seafood dishes going forward (fish, crab, etc.). You literally just throw everything into the mixing bowl and press a button. No more whisking mayonnaise sauces by hand for me anymore!
Chef Jamie told me how he used to teach his culinary students to make Béchamel and Veloute, two of the French Mother Sauces, with a wooden spoon, not even a whisk. The idea was that if you could make those sauces with a wooden spoon, you mastered the sauce technique. Today, he has no issue with throwing all of the ingredients into the Multo and letting it do the work for him!
Perhaps the most surprising of all of the dishes I made in the Multo was the Wholegrain Bread. I was most skeptical of the ability for this machine to knead bread dough properly and replace my KitchenAid mixer, which I use quite a bit in my kitchen. But this wholegrain bread was made entirely in the mixing bowl, minus the baking in the oven. I even proofed the dough in the mixing bowl in the oven while the oven was off. The bread was flavorful, light, fluffy and had a nice crumb considering how quickly it was made. Plus, the use of whole grain flour and non-fat Greek yogurt cuts on calories and adds some essential nutrients and protein. Here's a step-by-step pictorial of the process.
Bread mise en place
Preparing the starter
Dry ingredients added to yeast mixture
After kneading in Multo for 2 minutes
Proofing in Multo in oven (note that the oven is not on)
After baking for about 30 minutes, checking temp to ensure loaf is done
(Note: Multo's recipe doesn't call for the temp check, but I always do that when baking bread to ensure it's cooked through to 190 degrees.)
Wholegrain Bread - Multo guided recipe
I mentioned earlier that by using the steaming method, vegetables are allowed to maintain their nutritional properties, but that doesn't mean they don't taste good, too! The Steamed Garlic Mushrooms are a healthy twist instead of using a buttery or creamy sauce that allows the flavor of the garlic and mushroom to shine. Use them to top a steak!
Steamed Garlic Mushrooms - Multo guided recipe
The Steamed Greens with Pumpkin Seeds and Garlic is a simple guided recipe that cooks broccoli, kale, peas and asparagus at the same time. You make a garlicky lemon butter sauce in the mixing bowl to finish and garnish with pepitas. I couldn't find fresh peas at my store, and I learned that I'm not really a fan of steamed kale (I preferred it sautéed or made crispy in the oven). I found the broccoli and asparagus delicious though, so I've made this recipe a few times without the kale and peas. This dish is a perfect example of multi-level cooking to save space on the stovetop.
Making the Steamed Greens with Pumpkin Seed and Garlic - Multo guided recipe
Bacon and Egg Ramen (and other soups)
Ramen is a dish that is considered difficult to make at home. It's why most of us opt for our favorite Japanese restaurant's version when we are craving it! Now, I'm not talking about the freeze-dried packets of ramen you ate in college. I'm also not talking about the ramen we make in The Chopping Block's Ramen Workshop class in the fall and winter, where our chefs show you how to make the toothsome noodles from scratch and develop flavor in the hearty, luscious and fatty broth in a matter of hours.
Multo's version falls in between the two, with a comforting broth using bacon instead of pork belly to achieve that fatty flavor but not omitting the requisite jammy eggs in the soup. I was very impressed with the flavor of the broth considering this dish is done in less than an hour, and I couldn't find miso paste in my local grocery store (I know, I know, I live in Northwest Florida). That's because you infuse the broth with the flavor of the vegetables as you steam the eggs and bok choy at the same time. This was definitely a time saver.
I loved the idea in the hub to put out a variety of garnishes and have a ramen party where guests can create their dream bowl!
Here's a step-by-step pictorial of making the ramen in the Multo:
Dried mushrooms, ginger, garlic, green onion in simmering basket
Eggs in bottom steaming basket
Bok choy in top steaming basket
Cooking everything at once (broth with vegetables in mixing bowl, eggs in bottom steaming basket and boy choy in top steaming basket)
Cooked bok choy and eggs cooling in an ice bath
Adding dried ramen noodles to broth
Adding chopped bok choy back to broth
Bacon and Egg Ramen - Multo guided recipe
There are a lot of other great soup recipes made for the Multo as well, such as creamy mushroom soup, red curry butternut squash soup and potato leek soup. You can even make homemade stock in the Multo!
Sticky Toffee Pudding
When I interviewed Chef Jamie, I had to ask what his all-time favorite recipe to make in the Multo was. I wasn't surprised when he responded Sticky Toffee Pudding since he is from the Isle of Man between Great Britain and Ireland. I've been making The Chopping Block's version of this dessert for years and love it. But I've also had other puddings that were cloyingly sweet.
I have to admit that Multo's recipe is easier to make and just as good as ours (shh, don't tell our Owner/Chef Shelley Young!). You literally make everything in the mixing bowl! First, you make the cake batter and divide it among individual ramekins. Those steam for just 22 minutes in the top steamer basket. The Multo's moist environment is perfect for making custards and cakes, so I can't wait to dive into making more desserts. Perhaps an Instant Pot cheesecake vs Multo cheesecake throw down for a future blog?
Steaming Sticky Toffee Pudding
Once the cakes are done and cooling, you make the caramel sauce in the mixing bowl. It was the perfect texture and sweetness. I went one step further and whipped some cream in the Multo and topped the cakes with sauce and whipped cream. I made these for a recent dinner party, and my guests were super impressed!
Sticky Toffee Pudding - Multo guided recipe with whipped cream
I hope this deep dive into CookingPal's Multo helps you better understand how this smart appliance works and how it could be incorporated into your cooking. I'll admit I was pretty skeptical of it at first, and although it takes making a few recipes to really get the hang of it, my honest opinion is that lots of home cooks could benefit from this machine.
We do not carry appliances at The Chopping Block, but if you are even the slightest bit tech-savvy, the Multo could be a good first start as you make the transition to smart cooking. It cuts down on prep, allows you to cook multiple foods at once and is easy to clean. You can even see what it will look like in your kitchen with your smartphone using augmented reality. I totally geek out on this stuff!
If you need some extra assistance, visit Multo's website and know that Multo's support is top-notch. You can also get advice from other pals in the CookingPal Facebook group, you can book a private cooking demo to learn how to use your Multo, or you can ask me questions in the comments right here!