Turbo-charged oven roasts in no time

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A REVOLUTIONARY turbo-charged oven is set to do for cooking what Concorde did for air travel.

The oven, which combines powerful jets of hot air with microwaves, cuts the time it takes to roast a chicken from over an hour to four minutes. It is said to cook 10 to 15 times faster than a conventional oven and three to five times quicker than a microwave.

Yet the TurboChef consumes a third of the energy used by a normal oven. The air jets, heated to 260C, blast down from the roof of the oven and are sucked in at the bottom. This produces a "shrouding" effect that overcomes the usual escape of heated air to cooler parts of the oven. At the same time the food is heated from below with microwaves. This combination cooks food from the outside and inside simultaneously.

A domestic version of the TurboChef will be launched next year, New Scientist magazine reported yesterday. The price has yet to be revealed.

TV cook Delia Smith cautioned against sacrificing flavour for speed. She said:

"It might be convenient, but we should always remember that the science of cooking involves time, and that's what brings out the flavour."