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IFA 2012: Philips causes a stir with Jamie Oliver appearance

OK, so kitchen kit is stretching our remit a little bit, but the opening act of Philips' IFA 2012 press conference deserves a mention even if it's one primarily of interest to the gastro-geeks out there.

There's plenty more news to come from Philips, of course - male grooming products also made an appearance, though we might leave that one to the professionals - but to open its Berlin account today, the company wheeled out none other than celebrity chef and international icon Jamie Oliver.

Before the suits got round to talking spec about new televisions and the like, Jamie took the audience through a recipe for a quick South Indian-style prawn curry, enlisting Philips consumer lifestyle CEO Pieter Nota as his sous chef.

The display was designed to show off a new home cooker launched by the Dutch firm in collaboration with Britain's favourite cheeky chappie, and it's a seriously clever bit of cooking gear. Highlighting Philips tech credentials, the stove-top cooker features an automated stirring function complete with timer, so the annoying routine of sweating onions is now a breeze. Similarly, tricky slow-cook dishes like stews need never stick to the bottom of the pan again - it's just a matter of tweaking the settings to achieve the result you want, or at least that's how easy it look during Jamie's demonstration.

Mr Nota ventured that the new cooking device was an example of Philips ongoing commitment to producing innovative products across the consumer spectrum.

"I'm delighted with the great innovation we have on show at this year's IFA," Mr Nota said.

Oliver, for his part, was in fine form, indulging in good natured banter with Nota and the camera man.

"You are quite perfect Pieter, and I'm sure all your staff tell you that as well," the telly chef quipped after Nota threw a bit too much coriander in the curry dish.

While a bit of a wild card from IT perspective at present, the clever little kitchen toy hints at the growing consumer trend for smarter living spaces and the devices that help enable them.

Indeed, it doesn't seem at all inconceivable that proper smart kitchen kit will emerge in the near future, and beyond the sphere of white goods as well. The current auto-stir and timing feature on the Philips/Oliver product could be controlled via a smartphone app, for instance, making it even easier to settle down with a cold beverage while your bolognese simmers away.

As ever, IFA is as much about the ideas of the future as it is the products of the present.