Arnaud Le Cat, Esther Bacot, and Luther Quenum, all gradates in industrial design from Strate College in Paris founded Unqui Designers, and collaborated on the shelves cooking for the Prix Emile Hermes 2011.
Their first prize design is based on their observation of traditional Norwegian cooking methods, which involves bringing stews and casseroles to the boil, then leaving them to cook slowly in their own heat by cutting the energy source and insulating the cooking pot, to trap the heat. The team came up with an economical, energy-efficient cooking system for slow-cooked casseroles and stews. The system consists of a two cylinders (one small, one large) set into a workbench mounted on trestles, each containing an induction hotplate. A cooking pot is placed inside the cylinder and brought to the boil, after which the hotplate is switched off, and the cylinder sealed with insulation flaps made from compressed layers of boiled wool, survival blanket and cork. According to the designers, this simple system can save around 75 per cent of the energy needed for a dish of beef bourguignon, or 45 per cent of the energy used for a typical vegetable stew.