Product Design Major Project

June 2019

SousChef is a personal sous vide cooker and kitchen assistant. It improves on existing sous vide cookers by combining everything you need in one device - therefore making it easier and more convenient to use.

User Centred Research

A survey of 180 participants was carried out to identify users as well as their habits, experience and preferences.

Observation and analysis of users and existing products including their experience of using them was used to indentify design requirements.

  • SousChef Research - AEIOU Analysis
  • SousChef Research - User Observation
  • SousChef Research - User Survey


From the wide array of users identified and interviewed, 3 personas were created to represent uniqie overall themes.

Personas help to keep the core needs and desires of users in mind throughout the design process, ensuring an end product which delights.

  • SousChef Personas - Drew
  • SousChef Personas - Gabriella
  • SousChef Personas - Martin
Selection of sketch work from the ideation process
  • SousChef Research - AEIOU Analysis
  • SousChef Research - User Observation
  • SousChef Research - User Survey


3 formal concepts were developed and presented, each with a unique design direction to the problem.

Selection of design development sketch work

Design Development

The chosen concept was taken forward and developed to improve the design and user experience.

Test rigs and models were used to validate design features to ensure their suitability and manufacturability.

SousChef Development Prototypes
3D Printed Development Prototypes
Timelapse of final design drawing using Procreate for iPad

AR Previews

You can view the AR model yourself if you are running iOS 12 or above:

Visit this page on iOS 12 in Safari to view AR content.
Video of a development CAD model being previewed in a kitchen using AR

Augmented Reality (AR) was used to share designs with users and get their feedback. CAD models could be previewed in situ to help demonstrate the scale and design features.

The designs were modelled in Solidworks, converted to a mesh, textured and animated in Blender, and finally packaged using Apple's AR Kit within XCode.

SousChef Final Design Hero

Final Design

SousChef combines everything you need to cook sous vide into a single device, making it easier and more convenient to use.

SousChef performs three functions to help you prepare, cook and store food.

SousChef Function - Prepare
SousChef Function - Cook
SousChef Function - Store
SousChef Feature - Translucent LCD
Translucent LCD: SousChef is an all-round kitchen assistant. The LCD display shows useful information such as the weather and your calendar when not in use.
SousChef Feature - Weigh Scales
Integrated Load Cells: SousChef functions as a set of kitchen scales, always within reach. Use them to follow recipes or portion food.
SousChef Feature - Reractable Power Cable
Retractable Power Cable: SousChef's LCD and Scales are powered by the internal battery. The power cable and plug auto-retracts when not needed for a clutter free worktop.
SousChef Feature - Vacuum Pump
Vacuum Pump: The retractable vacuum pump can vacuum seal bags for storage, marinading or sous vide cooking.
SousChef Feature - Thick Film Heater
Thick Film Heater: A water pump circulates the water through a powerful 1200W thick film heating element. SousChef is ready to cook in minutes.
SousChef Feature - Intuitive User Interface
SousChef Exploded View Annotated

Designed for Manufacture

SousChef has been designed for manufacture with a sheet metal sub frame which the internal components are fixed to.

A plastic extrusion encases the sub-assembly and injection moulded components complete the rest of the frame.

SousChef Spotlight Section View

Working Prototype

A working prototype was made to validate the design and demonstrate the functions of SousChef.

The prototype consists of an acrylic enclosure with a PC water tank. It features a 2200W thick film heating element, brushless water pump, DC vacuum pump, 4x load cells. Temperature readings and control logic is handled by an Arduino which communicates with a Raspberry Pi over serial. The Pi operates the touchscreen interface, displays readings and sends commands to the Arduino.

  • SousChef Research - AEIOU Analysis
  • SousChef Research - User Observation
  • SousChef Research - User Survey
Vacuum Sealing a ZipLock Bag with SousChef
  • SousChef Transparent LCD Proto - Clear
  • SousChef Transparent LCD Proto - Frosted
Prototype Transparent LCD with Clear/Frosted Acrylic

Visual Prototype

In addition to the working prototype, a 3D printed prototype was produced to convey the design's form.

The visual prototype features working push-release and auto-recoiling mechanisms to help demonstrate the user interaction elements of the design.

  • SousChef Research - AEIOU Analysis
  • SousChef Research - User Observation
  • SousChef Research - User Survey
  • SousChef Research - User Survey
Selection of sketch work from the ideation process

What's Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous Vide is an increasingly popoular method of cooking which ensures perfectly cooked food every time by submerging vacuum packed food in a precisely controlled water bath.

  • SousChef Sous Vide Process - What's Sous Vide?
  • SousChef Sous Vide Process - Cooking Food Under Vacuum
  • SousChef Sous Vide Process - Sous Vide vs Traditional Methods
  • SousChef Sous Vide Process - Why is Sous Vide Better?
  • SousChef Sous Vide Process - What can you cook Sous Vide?