In this land of commercial kitchens, it’s hard to believe cooking a meal could kill you.But in many third-world countries, where wood fires heat pots and pans inside non-ventilated huts, the threat of smoke inhalation poses a serious threat. The Envirofit Institutional Stove, designed by a Sarasota-based team at Robrady, seeks to clear the air with a woodstove that cuts down on black smoke while allowing chefs to cook for hundreds.

The concept for the stove originated with Colorado-based Envirofit, a company founded in 2003 with the mission of improving human conditions on a global scale using well-engineered tech solutions. The company made an impact with a small cookstove that could be used to feed a family of six, but needed help scaling the concept up. That’s when they turned in 2012 to Sarasota-based Robrady, where designers took the basic technology, then incorporated steel supports strong enough to hold a custom cauldron, making it complex enough to ensure propriety and stop knock-offs but also attractive enough that schools, churches and other institutions would proudly add the device to their inventories. While the personal stove costs $110 on Amazon, the institutional model is priced at just under $1,000 from Clean Cook Africa. But the standout item should bring mass cooks better health and broad prestige. 

“Everybody loves good design,” says Jennifer Jensen, Robrady business development coordinator. “Even the poorest of people take pride in their things.” And while plenty of pretty blueprints get drafted in this Sarasota business, few solve such a vital problem for developing countries. The device has earned worldwide acclaim for Envirofit and Robrady, its design winning both a Spark Gold Award in 2013 and a Green Good Design Award earlier this year.