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Toast 6 Tortillas At Once With This Chicago Inventor's Tortilla Toaster

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 20, 2016 8:59PM

Photo provided by Nuni.

Chicagoan Elliot Benitez was eating his umpteenth meal at his mom's house when, for the first time, it struck him how long it took her to heat tortillas. She heated them one at a time in a pan, the same way she had done it since he was 11 years old.

"What was going on in my head was all the marketing courses I was taking in college," he told Chicagoist. "It just sort of kicked in at the dining table."

Doing some quick math, Benitez figured that in a 20 year period, she'd lost 60 days specifically to this task. And so, an invention was born. Elliot went to work creating Nuni, which he believes is "the world's first tortilla toaster." The device can prepare six tortillas at once to a perfect doneness, besting the pan method in timeliness and the microwave in proper doneness.

Now, he's asking for help getting the project to market, with a unique Indiegogo campaign that's a simultaneous love letter to the tortilla, the taco and internet culture. Chicago has helped inspire the project, too. According to acclaimed chef Rick Bayless, Benitez says, there are more tortillerias in Chicago than there are in Mexico City.

"Because there are so many places around Chicago to get high-quality tortillas, a pack of a dozen will run you less than 50 cents," he said.

The Nuni itself costs a bit more out of pocket—the "Early Early Bird" backer level, for $69, gets you the lowest price possible (30 dollars under the suggested retail price). It's hard to justify shelling out the full $99 on a kitchen appliance with such a singular purpose—but this strikes us as a truly useful device. It's quick and creative, and really guys, we oughtn't ruin a good tortilla in the microwave. We'd like to see it as an option for the more taco-devoted among us, and we're rooting for this Chicago entrepreneur.