CROWDFUNDING REVIEW – When I was contacted by DREO to see if I would like to test their ChefMaker Combi Fryer, I had to check the company name again because the DREO I know makes heaters, fans, and air purifiers. But now they also make air fryers so let’s take a look at the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer which is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.
What is it?
The DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer is an air fryer that has features that the majority of other air fryers that are on the market don’t have.
What’s in the box?
- DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer
- Cooking tray
- Grilling rack
- Water tank
- Temperature probe
Design and features
At first glance, the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer looks like many other air fryers. It has a display on the front along with a large handle that allows you to easily pull out the food basket.
The exterior of the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer is made of grey plastic. On the back of the fryer, is an air vent.
One of the unique features of the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer is a built-in water tank. It’s located on the top of the unit.
The cap is easily removed in order to fill the water reservoir.
The small water take is made of plastic and is removable. You might be wondering why you even need a water tank on an air fryer. Here’s the explanation directly from DREO.
As a part of our signature CombiCook technology, the state-of-the-art atomization system sprays water mist at 50 microns through your food’s surface to ensure even cooking and prevent charring. All you need on your end is to add about 7 oz of water. Moreover, efficient heating in the final stage removes any excess moisture, ensuring that the end product is not overly moist and providing users with the best possible texture of the meat.
Included with the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer are two inserts that are placed inside the cooking basket.
The basket itself has a pretty large (6 qt) as you can see in the image above.
There’s a cooking tray (above left) and a grilling rack (above right). Both are made of non-stick material and both are dishwasher safe.
If you buy the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer, you’ll use the cooking tray a lot more than the grilling basket. The cooking tray is for every day and the grilling basket is for grilling (surprise!) and special presets when you are using Chef mode.
If you pull out the basket and look up at the “ceiling” of the fryer, you can see a heating element, fan, and the water sprayer.
When you plugin the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer, you’re greeted with a bright color touchscreen display that shows the fryer’s menu system. You can cycle between several cooking modes that include Chef Mode where you can choose from a list of ingredients and recipes. The idea is that instead of trying to figure out the right temperature and time for each recipe, the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer figures it out for you and gives you step-by-step instructions.
There’s also a Classic Cook mode.
In this mode, you choose between air fry, defrosting, reheating, broiling, roasting, toasting, baking, and dehydrating.
For example, I selected Air Fry in Classic Cook mode and can then adjust the temp and cook time. The temperature range of the ChefMaker is 100 – 450°F.
As the food is cooking, the temperature is displayed along with a countdown timer. When the time has fully elapsed a bell will ring to let you know that it’s time to eat!
The touch screen will also let you turn on a light inside the fryer. You can view the progress of cooking food without opening the fryer. Note that the light will only stay on for a few seconds which is kind of annoying.
Less talk, more cooking!
For my first experiment (I mean cook), I decided to make a toasted ham and cheese wrap. I put ham, shredded cheese and some mayo in a wrap, folded it up (badly) and used toothpicks to hold it all together.
I then sprayed both sides lightly with some cooking spray and put it fold side down in the basket on the inserted cooking tray.
Using the Classic Cook mode, I set the temperature to 380° for 5 minutes.
Then. I flipped it over and cooked it at 400° for another 5 minutes.
It turned out pretty well with slightly toasted crispy edges.
The ham and cheese inside the wrap were hot and melty.
I got a little more adventurous and used the Chef Mode to cook some chicken thighs. I wanted to see if the added water feature would really help keep the chicken juicy instead of dried out like can sometimes happen in an oven or other air fryer.
The Chef Mode told me to use the temperature probe.
So I washed it and then plugged it into the socket in the fryer basket.
After seasoning my raw chicken thighs, I placed them in the basket on the tray and put the temperature probe into one of the thighs.
I then put the basket in the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer and it took care of setting the temperature and timer for each step of the cook.
The image above shows the steps of the Chef Mode cooks. I kept an eye on the timer and did notice that while it would tell me a certain length of time, it would underestimate it by 5-10 minutes for some of the steps. But when it was all said and done…
The chicken thighs were cooked perfectly with crispy golden skin and juicy meat. YUM!
While you can control the DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer directly through the touch screen, you can also connect it to the DREO app on your phone to send recipes to the cooker.
You can look through and search for recipes based on the ingredients that you have on hand and then the app will give you step-by-step instructions and send the cooking details to the ChefMaker via WiFi. Note that right now there aren’t all that many recipes, but I anticipate that changing if this cooker becomes popular.
When your cooking session is finished, you’ll receive a notification on your phone and in the DREO app.
What I like
- The moisture keeps food juicy
- Temperature probe makes sure proteins are cooked perfectly
- The app has the positional to be useful when more recipes are available
What I’d change
- Better time estimates
- More recipes
What is it?
It’s been a while since I cooked with an air fryer and to tell the truth, I haven’t had that much luck with the one I have which is horribly loud (Ninja Foodi). The DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer is infinitely better with the unique moisture system and the temperature probe. Everything I’ve tried so far has turned out great and I am excited to try more recipes!
The DREO ChefMaker Combi Fryer campaign ends on 07/12/23 and they easily smashed their funding goal of $10,000. After the campaign ends, rewards are estimated to start shipping in August 2023.