The Seattle company took to Kickstarter to develop and sell a device that cooks food that has been vacuum sealed by keeping the cooking temperature constant.

Share story

What: Sansaire, maker of a high-tech sous vide cooking device


Who: Johnna Hobgood, CEO, and Valerie Trask, co-founder and chief operating officer


“Under vacuum”: The sous vide cooking style involves immersing food that’s vacuum-sealed (or in a sealed plastic bag) into a pot of temperature-controlled water over a long period of time. In 2013, the only options for using the cooking method at home were to buy a $1,000 device or to build your own, said Trask. So she and two co-founders created a compact, $199 device that could be used at home.


Version 1: The first Sansaire sous vide machine raised $823,000 on Kickstarter from more than 4,000 backers. The device heats water to a precise temperature and makes sure it stays steady to properly cook food.


Hard to overcook: The cooking method all but ensures food cannot be overcooked. Depending on the temperature, food can cook for 45 minutes or several hours. After its initial Kickstarter success, Sansaire started selling the device at Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma and other kitchen stores.


Sleek design: Sansaire launched its second sous vide machine, Sansaire Delta, last week. The device reached its $100,000 Kickstarter goal in 17 hours. Nearly 900 backers had pledged more than $150,000 by the fifth day on the crowdfunding website. The Delta will sell for $249 once it’s released, but early adopters can grab it on Kickstarter for $99.


Phone controls: The Delta added features including the ability to control the internet-enabled device from a smartphone app. The newest device is smaller than its predecessor, and hangs on the side of a pot, rather than sitting in the middle. “We put a lot of thought into industrial design,” Hobgood said. “When something is sitting on my counter cooking for 24 hours, I want it to look nice.”


Heating up: High-tech kitchen gadgets, especially for sous vide, have become popular lately, launching Sansaire into a competitive market. Its biggest competition is perhaps the $199 Joule from ChefSteps, which is currently sold out. Sansaire offers a bigger product line, Hobgood said, including a searing kit and a steak sauce.


Seattle roots: Sansaire’s team of seven people works from a Pioneer Square office. The company has supported itself with the Kickstarter campaigns and retail sales from more than 100 stores around the world. Sansaire plans to continue releasing smaller products between big-device launches.


— Rachel Lerman