As lead architect of Vorwerk’s Digital & Strategic Innovation team, Michael Hosse is busy advancing digitalization of the Thermomix®. He and his team work on new ideas every day in an “exceptional work atmosphere,” as Hosse told us in our interview.
There are around 40 000 Thermomix® recipes online on Cookidoo®, and new ones are constantly being added. Won’t there simply be no more recipes to post at some point?
I’ve asked myself that question, too. But the recipe developers in the different countries are always varying recipes, trying out new ideas and coming up with wonderful new things. It’s a really creative and fascinating process.
And you and your colleagues make sure that everything is optimally reproduced digitally and works?
Of course, there’s a methodology that our recipe developers all over the world have to follow to post the recipes online. For this, we provide the recipe development platform they work with every day. More pressing questions for us right now are how we can further optimize the digitalization of the Thermomix®, how we can improve the presentation of recipes on Cookidoo® to make them more appealing to our customers, how can they find what they are looking for as quickly as possible, and so on. There’s always something for us to do.
Where do you get your ideas from?
My inspiration usually comes from conversations with colleagues or recipe developers. Then the ideas evolve and are tested to see if they can be done and if they make sense. If they do, we implement them. That can happen very fast, but it can also take months.
What happens if no ideas come to you?
That’s never actually happened. But one thing is certain: My best ideas don’t come to me when I’m sitting at my computer, but generally in places where you would least expect it. And if I am stuck for ideas, I just get up and go outside for a bit, free my mind. Then I’m sure to find some inspiration.
It doesn’t sound like a regular office job.
And it isn’t one. Our office in Zurich itself is pretty special, open plan with a very communicative layout, seating areas and quiet spaces. Working here is a lot of fun.
“The recipe developers in the different countries are always comparing notes. But a recipe that works in one country won’t always work in another, it may need to be modified.”
Michael Hosse, Lead Architect Digital & Strategic Innovation team
How much egotism and how much team spirit does it take to bring ideas to a good conclusion?
None of us here cares about imposing our own great ideas on everyone else. That’s the great thing about it, we all want to achieve the best result together – and there’s no other way to do it. The standard of quality at Vorwerk is very high. Several tests are run on each recipe before it is ever published, for example. Where some foods are concerned, it’s important to make sure they don’t spoil during preparation. And we have recipes from 40 different countries. The recipe developers in the different countries are always comparing notes, but a recipe that works in one country won’t always work in another, it may need to be modified. An Indian recipe, for instance, would be too hot and spicy for the German market, and some recipes will call for ingredients that are not available or not usually consumed in other countries, so we have to made adjustments. And it all has to work digitally.
So it’s not just the appliance that makes the Thermomix® so amazing?
No, it’s what’s behind it that makes it so valuable. When I started working for Vorwerk eight years ago, the preparations for the TM5 were just getting started, and then later also for the Cook-Key®. I had a Thermomix® I could touch that worked with our digital support and cooked very tasty dishes; that meant that for once, I really got to experience the practical side of my work as a software developer, which was something completely new for me.
What’s your favorite food?
I honestly can’t say anymore. My work at Vorwerk has made me much, much more adventurous as regards food. At a restaurant, I will always try to order something I’ve never tried before. There’s so much I still have to discover, and that’s true of food and also of the continued transformation of the Thermomix® for the digital age.
How is a Digital Thermomix® Recipe Created?
The recipe developers take their inspiration from cookbooks and trends and then develop a recipe idea, making sure that the sequence of recipe steps is ideal for preparation with the Thermomix®.
Then the recipe is digitalized after which testers cook the dish, evaluate the flavor, optimize the steps and prepare the recipe for the RDPF. Only then is the recipe posted online on Cookidoo® and connected to the Thermomix®.
Last year, the recipe developers published some 1000 recipes a month worldwide.
Customers can choose, enter and follow a recipe via PC, app or right there on their appliance’s display. The Thermomix® supplies all the necessary instructions.