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I’ve never been much of a kitchen gadget person. After living in New York City for almost 14 years, I had become resigned to the fact that I might never have the room to house every useful item I hoped for. So when I moved into a new apartment last summer with more cabinets and counter space than ever, I was most excited to finally collect all of the fun tools my heart desired. My dream of having jars of sugar, flour, coffee grounds, and other basics out at the ready became a reality. I could make meals the way I’d always wanted to, leave things out without sacrificing the size of my workstation, and buy whatever I needed to be able to level up my cooking and baking. This meant getting to choose products I truly wanted in my home, that I would be happy to have on display. Enter: the Our Place Dream Cooker.

Our Place Dream Cooker

Dream Cooker in Spice, Our Place ($199 was $250)

As someone who has only ever had a basic set of pots and pans, the notion of having other options to make more complex dishes was thrilling. Not to say that simple cookware can’t get the job done—no one is a greater fan of a simple baked salmon than I. But I liked the idea of an appliance that would allow me to do minimal prep, throw everything in one pot, more or less leave it alone, and turn out a dish that is akin to something I would normally pay good money for in a restaurant.

The Stylish, Easy-to-Use Design

While I may have more square footage now, I’m not trying to cover every inch in things. The Dream Cooker is similar in size to a six-quart Instant Pot, but it’s a little taller, which helps it look trimmer. And, as advertised, it is multifunctional in the best way—the sleek design means it looks great sitting out, and several settings mean I don’t actually need more than this one appliance to tackle most of what I’ll cook at home. It’s a slow cooker and pressure cooker in one, with additional settings to sear, sauté, and keep a dish warm before serving it. The control panel could not be simpler and blends in with the rest of the product; it guides a chef seamlessly through cooking methods, temperature level, and time. I really can set it and forget it, thanks to an automated steam release that regulates the pressure. Plus it cuts down on dishes, since I’m only dirtying the one pot. 

The Solid Construction

Having never owned a similar appliance before, one feature that surprised me was the solid lid. When I think of slow cookers, I think of a see-through glass cover that, similar to oven baking, allows for checking in on food more easily. However, the design choice adds to this cooker’s style, and it’s not an issue to remove the lid to check on a meal and adjust or add ingredients as needed (except while pressure cooking; you’ll need to leave it on then). The fact that I couldn’t see straight into the appliance actually told me everything I needed to know—that I didn’t have to check in continuously and I could trust that whatever was going on in the toxin-free nonstick pot was exactly what needed to happen. 

Case in point: I recently made the most delicious beef and broccoli, and it was at once one of the most nuanced dishes I’ve attempted and the simplest in its preparation. I quickly seared my chuck roast pieces in the cooker, then switched over to the slow-cook setting, where I let the meat simmer in the sauce I had prepared separately for six hours. Close to the end of that time, I threw in the broccoli and a few additional ingredients for the sauce, and the end result was favorite-takeout-spot–worthy.

The Price

While it’s true that there are other multicookers on the market that come at a lower price point (the Dream Cooker is $250 at full price), I consider a purchase like this an investment. Having this one for years to come, and actually liking what it looks like, beats going with something less expensive that I might have to replace. As a multicooker novice, I appreciate how streamlined this one is, both in its design and functionality. And as a fan of Our Place, I trust that it’s built to last, plus the Dream Cooker is available in the same muted color palette across the brand’s other cookware, so you can match it. If you don’t, it’s a great way to start your collection. Right now, during the holiday sale through January 7, the product is marked down by $50.

It’s a weird feeling, getting excited by a kitchen appliance. Knowing that I can whip up entire meals with such ease has both given me time back that I would normally spend meal prepping and unlocked my creativity in terms of what I think I can make. So send me your pressure cooker and slow cooker recipes—I’m very excited to try them. Stay tuned for more insights as I keep tinkering in the kitchen.