Inventor Sam Erwin

Sam Erwin of Washington State, invented the Solar Chef® in Sedona, Arizona, in the early 1970s. He went around to fairs and trade shows and demonstrated his solar oven and continually received orders. He could make two of the labor-intensive Solar Chefs in his garage per month. The people who bought his ovens were always extremely pleased that he always had orders to work on, which allowed him to continually improve on his original design. The name Solar Chef® is trademarked and the performance of the oven was unsurpassed by anything on the market for those years.

During those years, Sam realized that even though his ovens worked so well, they were labor intensive, heavy and expensive to ship. He consequently developed a lightweight model, the StarFlower, made of highly polished aluminum, which was portable and could be shipped in a box 1/4th the size of his 50 pound Solar Chef®. The StarFlower performed exactly like its older wooden model. Since the StarFlower can reach temperatures of up to 500° F, it can cook food and boil water, beans, vegetables or stew, etc. in half the time of any other solar cookers such as the widely distributed box solar cookers, or panel cookers which realistically only reach temperatures of around 260° to 300° F, even though they do advertise that they reach up to 400°F. It takes much more time to cook in such ovens than in the StarFlower.

Sam Erwin is now 94 years old and lives in Tracyton, Washington, where he continues to cook with sunshine any bright day. On February 7th, 2012, Sam was interviewed for an article about his solar ovens by a reporter from the Kitsap Sun, the local paper. Even though the sun was at a 30º angle, a very low angle, the StarFlower reached the 450º F, and Sam was able to bake a cake which turned out nicely. This brillant inventor, who created the high performance Solar Chef® solar oven, continues to perfect the geometrical designs of his solar oven, creating different bases and designs as well to meet geographical needs of the various countries.

Solar Chef International, LLC is partnered with Sam to manufacture the StarFlower in the USA and eventually in Africa and Central America. You can contact Sam Erwin personally in Washington if you would like more information on his incredible high performance solar oven, and our manufacturing venture. His number is 360-373-1027. He will be delighted to talk with you.

Meet Sam Erwin, inventor of the Solar Chef®