I didn’t have a kitchen machine/food processor/mixer for years. Mostly, because I was living in too small places, moving often. And none of the ones I had a look at, had a raw-potato-grater disk, like my parents used to have. It mashes raw potatoes into a very juicy raw mash and is necessary for traditional dishes such as our family potato pancake recipe. You can hand grate, but you really only want to do that for one person – too much hassle and your fingers get somewhat grated as well. Then I stumbled upon a food processor from Breville that had such a disk. I was amazed. Apparently, these disks are coming into fashion again – so I went on a quest and finally ended up with a Magic Monster!
This is my experience, my (re)view, for the Kenwood Cooking Chef after three months of having it, with many many attachments. I love it, my Magic Monster, despite some perks and some trouble initially. I did not want to go “advertising” in every recipe so here are my thoughts all in one page.
My comparison (people have different views, but I tried to be as objective as possible) for the other models I considered, is further down, with a long section on why I did not get the Thermomix, brace yourself, it’s long. But if you are hesitant to spend the money, I guess you’d appreciate the info. Just keep in mind it’s my personal view.
For an update on my review after a longer time of use, read here!
To get or not to get the Cooking Chef – that was the question!
The price tag is hefty. Depending on what accessories it comes with, it’s around the 1300 € mark in Germany, around the 1100 £ mark in the UK and around 2100 AU$ Down Under store price. You can get it cheaper, but you need to keep an eye open. Mind you, this model is not the “Chef” and not exactly the “Major” but an advanced “Major” model (hence the KM in the article number). It can cook – like the Thermomix, but I’ll comment on that later.
Reviews were mostly positive, with few problems and some of the negative ones were “too big and takes too much space”, “too many parts”, which I would consider not a problem of the product, but the person choosing wrongly (after all, that info is available and the thing doesn’t look small either).
However, there were also problems reported with condensing water on the electric parts (apparently solved in current models) and really really long waiting times for the customer support – both in Germany. These negative reviews appeared to be a “normal” amount of exceptions and keeping in mind that happy customers don’t often write about it, I was confident it would be the right choice. Please have a look at the reviews for the KM086 Kenwood Cooking Chef at the German Amazon and translate into your language. These will give you such an incredibly detailed knowledge – almost as if you had owned it yourself already, making your choice really much easier. Check out other countries reviews as well!
- Name: Confusingly “Cooking Chef”, despite being the follower of the Major models (hence KMXXX article numbers)
- Article numbers: currently KM069 to KM096, numbers seem to refer to other or improved “in box” accessories mostly (KM09X appears newer to KM08X and KM07X etc). I would assume that the older KM069 or KM07X models may have had the condensation electrics problems. Currently only KM08X (X stands for a number) in Australia available (which appears to have improved Flexi-Beater and Power Whisk), Germany up to KM09X (contains very very new heat AND ice-crushing proof glass jug (previously two items).
- Store price (approx): 1300 € Germany, 1100 £ UK, 2100 AU$ Australia
- Dimensions: 38 cm high, base of 41 cm by 33.5 cm – it needs much more space with accessories!
- Weight: 13.6 kg, but that’s good – the heavy working it does when kneading dough – it shakes a lot
- Compatibility of accessories: Accessories of more modern Major models (A901) mostly fit, kenwoodchefrestore in the UK has a good checklist for older accessories, the compatibility problems are usually found with the slow speed outlet at the front of the arm and the bowl. All current Major model accessories fit (apart from the cooking bowl), Chef model ones don’t all, but some (particularly the ones not on the arm and bowl should fit). The older Major model bowl-type accessories may be too low. Also, due to the cooking function, you want the appropriate cooking bowl, not the Major stainless steel bowl, which probably fits, but will most likely not work with the cooking function.
- Accessories “in box”: This varies greatly. The core ones are: Cooking Bowl, Flexi Beater, Professional Dough Hook (the older one is not working well with certain doughs apparently), Stirring Tool, K Beater, Power Whisk, Splatter Guard and Heat Guard as well as Steaming Basket.
Frequent accessories “in box”: Jug, Food Processor and others
Some other items are two Spatulas and a Heat-Proof Mat and a Recipe Book (which looks like it has improved).
I shopped around and finally bought at Appliances Online for 1660 AUD and added a 3 year Customer Protection Plan, which covers me internationally for 3 years! Not gonna go without that again (due to experience). An absolute THUMBS UP for Appliances Online, their delivery was ALWAYS in the announced window (even though you only know on the morning when), the delivery guy friendly, they take old larger appliances (like washing machine) to recycling for free in exchange (did not apply to me, but well) and they were very much coming forward, when their announced delivery date had to be postponed due to unavailability, with a discount. They also exchanged the machine without much trouble, even though I had to ring Kenwood sometimes and get a “number” – that seemed to have to do with new people on the phone though. Either way, apart from having to stay at one place for the day for pick up and drop off, the window was about 2 hours and they were absolutely within that window!!! GREAT JOB!!!
Now I’ll try to go through the Cooking Chef items and accessories with a few thoughts on each.
Cooking Chef KM080 core machine
Upsides: A fantastic machine. It does most of the things I’d like it to do (including the attachments). I knead ultra-heavy rye doughs, whip up the most fluffy and stiff egg-white, make fantastic Hollandaise, to-die-for sponge dough, white breakfast bread rolls like our village baker (well, almost, but that’s a problem in the oven I guess) and reduce liquids on a timer so nothing burns. Unfortunately, the folding tool needs to be bought separately.
Downsides: One actual design-flaw I found: When you take out the bowl (to get the dough out, serve soup etc), the tool still attached to the machine spills liquid over the thermosensor and heating module. They are not particularly sensitive-looking, but I always place the heat mat over them and use another coaster to put the actual bowl on, for the mess alone. You COULD get the tool out first, but honestly, then you have dirty hands and need a place to put it and can’t go on with your recipe straight. Thus, I just put the heat mat over the place where the bowl sits for the time being. Furthermore, the room to add ingredients to the bowl is rather slim and I often make a mess, if I’m not careful, in particular, if the Splashguard is attached. It’s better to stop the machine and lift the arm, but that’s tedious, so I try to be careful. Funnels help.
Otherwise, I wish it could cool and freeze as well, but that’s probably still out of my budget. I also wish I had two machines sometimes, but a Major model would probably do the job. I wish I had two bowls, because cooling one bowl takes time (just like with a pot) and sometimes I wish to continue with another step and it’s still hot. There are a few perks, like it does not have room to store the cable, I haven’t found a cover yet, the attachments are HUGE and I have nowhere (live in a share house) to store them, so the machine lives in the extended kitchen/laundry and all accessories are on the counter (thanks to my housemates being understanding!!!). They DO take up space. Less than an extra machine though, I knew that to start with though.
Replacements: This is my third model. The first one had a problem in the electrics. This machine heats up to 60 °C (temp sensor under the bowl) and then turns down stirring speed to minimum as a safety mechanism, probably to not splatter really hot food around. Once it has reached 60 °C and is at minimum speed, you press a button until it has reached the set speed again and should stay at that speed. If you want to change the speed, set the new speed and press that button again. Not too difficult and very much OK in my opinion. However, my first model would randomly at various high temperatures (anything upwards of 60°C) and at various set speeds decide to turn down to minimum speed and stay there. And thus more than once almost burned my Hollandaise. It got replaced without much problem. The second one would have an entirely different problem. If I set a low interval speed, the knob would lock physically into the locking position, but at that position there was no electric connection and the machine would not mix/turn. If I turned the knob just a little further that electric connection would come, but then the knob would be in between the physical lock positions and with a little too hefty movement due to kneading a dough, it would bump back into it’S lock position effectively switching itself off. Furthermore, it appeared the bowl would dislodge itself repeatedly from its locked position during kneading, but that started on the last day before I got it exchanged. Something went wrong when putting this machine together – so I got an exchange again.
So far, my third model has been working excellent an according to what it should. Maybe I just got a lemon the first and second time, either way, 95% of the functionality worked all the way through. Furthermore, despite all the hassle with exchanges (I’m an expert in packing the KM080 into it’s box now), I never went a day without the machine, since Appliances Online picked the old one up when they delivered the new one (TA again). And I wouldn’t want to live without it any more. I am HAPPY with it – it’s a brilliant piece of kitchen machine with my set of ‘needs’.
Cooking Bowl 37575
I need a second one at some stage. It’s great, easy clean on the inside and most of the outside. I’m a bit careful to not leave the bottom, where the induction and sensors from the machine touch, wet. This should hopefully avoid corrosion and induction as well as temperature control/measurement problems in the years to come and is recommended to be thoroughly dried. I also try not to get the edges of the bottom dirty, since it’s harder to clean due to the lock-mechanism with the machine. The bowl otherwise is sturdy, easy clean and really great and apparently can go into the dishwasher.
K-Beater (a beater attachment, with a “K” shaped centre)
Needs to be adjusted, which is easy (a screw loosened, the tool adjusted, then fixed again with a tool that is provided). Only got good experience with it. Mixes cake doughs without any issues very much to my pleasure. Easy clean, can go entirely under water and dishwasher.
Creaming Beater (previously calledFlexi-Beater )
Needs to be adjusted, which is easy (a screw loosened, the tool adjusted, then fixed again with a tool that is provided). My dream attachment. With this, I can make Hollandaise to perfection – yumyumyum. Scrapes the last bits of any liquid off the sides of the bowl and incorporates it into the middle. It’s fascinating to watch how this tool manages, over several turns, to scrape the entire inside bowl surface. Easy clean, should be cleaned right away and the rubber can and should be taken off. It does squeak a bit when in action.
Kenwood Cooking Chef – Power WhiskPower Whisk
Needs to be adjusted, which is easy (a screw loosened, the tool adjusted, then fixed again with a tool that is provided). It really lives up to its name. I have never had such fluffy egg-white, such creamy cream (you gotta stop before you have butter though) and such light cakes before. It may also have to do with my patience, since with a hand-held mixer, you always have to stay close and can’t just set it at 5 min and come back when done. It’s massive and has lots of wires. However, it can be soaked in water entirely, put in the dishwasher and you could run it with a bowl of warm(ing) water (handy heating feature) and whisk the food out of it.
So far used once, but really does the job. Made soup and set it to interval on about 120 °C to cook the veggies and the fish (the water will not go beyond 100 °C obviously). No burns. The tool is a little fiddly to put in and get out and larger chunks that are hard can get trapped. Should be dishwasher safe.
Spiral Dough Hook (previously called Professional Dough Hook)
It works fine, but the dough gets sort of stuck sometimes with very sticky, heavy bread doughs, being knead slowly. Still working reasonably well and brilliant with lighter doughs. Very easy clean and dishwasher safe.
Folding Tool AT512 (for Major)
Not tried yet and has to be bought separately. But should help with things like sponge cake doughs and cream into which things have to be folded in.
Splashguard and Heat Guard
The Heat Guard works a charm and interestingly stays in place even though I doubted this to start with. Can be placed with the Splashguard (both are shown together in the picture as they are on the machine). Both are not extremely sturdy plastic, but don’t need to be for their purpose. You can add and remove the Splashguard without moving the bowl or attachment or arm of the machine, but the Heat Guard requires the arm and tool to be moved. The Splashguard has a small opening to add ingredients, but I think it’s too small. However, I also think the distance between the bowl and the arm is a little too small and makes adding ingredients while running challenging. The Heat Guard keeps steam from the upper part from the machine. Be wary though, the accumulated steam has condensed on the Heat Guard and will accumulate and run down to the gap of the opened arm and make everything wet there. Keep a towel or cloth close.
Steaming / Steamer Basket
Usually comes with the device. It works neat, the Cooking Chef quickly heats up and steams the food and due to the timer you can time it according to your steaming-desire. However, I found I can do this in a pot easy enough (here the second Magic Monster could come in handy) whilst it
blocks the Monster for other cooking otherwise. I took me about 3 months to figure out that I could clip-in the wire-hangers. *duh Dishwasher safe to my knowledge.
Spatulas and Heat Mat
The spatulas do the job, are from a soft, flexible plastic and may in places be more useful than silicone ones. The Heat Mat is neat, but I use it to cover the bowl-position when taking out the bowl to prevent spilling from the tools onto the bowl-position.
The book comes in a satin-matte cover with a pretty picture which I love to look at. Doesn’t say anything about the content, but I just like that cover! I have so far tried a couple of basic recipes and they are pretty OK. The pasta one is awesome, but obviously you need the pasta maker, the Hollandaise works, but I needed to cook it much longer than indicated, but then again I used the wrong tool first, so I have to repeat that to finally judge it. The ice cream recipes are good, even though I have not used many of the flavours they suggest, but my own. It’s really adaptable. I need to make more of those recipes to really judge the book, but if I can say anything at the moment, there is nowhere near as many and as tested as with the Thermomix. As I say further down, if you are the type of cook who wants a proper meal with fresh ingredients with little thinking and planning, the Thermomix combo is better. If your ambitions are a bit higher, I would strongly suggest to buy something like the Kenwood Cooking Chef (or others as mentioned further down), since you’d probably outgrow the Thermomix really quickly.
I am not done here just yet, it’s lots, but I’ll add bit by bit. I list the ones I own and use most first and see how I go with the rest.
No guarantees, but I tried to put the compatibility in, so Cooking Chef is abbreviate “CC”, Major with “M” and Chef is not abbreviated. Some compatibility is found on the Australian Kenwood webpage on the specific items page now!
Food processor AT647 (fits CC, M and Chef)
Very sturdy design, a solid metal base pin, good quality plastic bowl with metal-supported handle. I did not use all the six disks yet, but I used the blades, smoothing and slashing stuff quite nicely as I expected. The coarse grating disk I used to grate a block of tasty cheese in no time, one of the feats that I so loved about my old food processor. I did not use the thin and thick slicing, fine grating, julienne and rasping just yet. The rasping disk in principle looks like the potato-rasping/shredding disk I was looking for, however it looks like the rasping-bits are a little small. However, I did see this in pictures before and bought the AT340 Continuous Slicer/Grater which should work (but isn’t tried out yet). I will try both out in time.
ThermoResist Glass Blender AT385 (fits CC, M and Chef) and
Stainless Steel Blender AT339 (fits CC, M and Chef)
I own both, since I wanted a way to crush ice and with all the exchanging, I could not sell the ThermoResist Glass Blender, which came in the CC box. The Glass Blender is heavy, especially if you fill it with something. It also is difficult to pour out of to a degree, if the content is a thick soup, but I guess that’s soup-specific and has nothing to do with the design of the blender. I sort-of like it, but I use it rarely, since I use a stick-blender, if I quickly want to blend something in the bowl and find it tedious to use the jug. Mostly, I use the Stainless Steel Blender. Update: I have recently learned that this blender is ALSO advertised to crush ice, great news!
However, the Stainless Steel Blender is frequently leaking and I really have to make sure I put the blades on with the seal properly, not on an angle and tight enough. Also, the bottom with the mechanism just under the blades cannot be put into water, which makes it a little tricky to clean the blades on the other side. The Steel Blender also gets really cold quickly on the outside with the content, which is expected since it is metal. The grip is fine to the touch though and doesn’t get that cold and I can make sure the blender is properly sealed (and test by putting water in if I’m not sure). For cleaning, I put warm water and a little dishwashing liquid in the Blender and run it briefly, to get the food of the blades, then clean the rest of it in the usual way.
However, there is a new “kid” (blender) in town, currently coming with the KM09X series, which I probably will eventually get. It appears to have leaned on some Thermomix design and is good for hot and cold processing, including ice crushing apparently. It specifically mentions swapping from hot to cold and ice-cube crushing in the description of what it can do. So far, I’ve only seen it on the German webpage, but it’ll come I’m sure of that! The Australian has it Kenwood Australia – Thermoresist Glass Blender KAH358GL, but it does not say that it’s compatible with the Cooking Chef.
Mini Chopper/Mill AT320A or B (fits CC, M and Chef)
There is some confusion as to whether it is AT320A or AT320B. The Australian Kenwood Homepage shows AT320A in the title and AT320B in the picture. I guess they are to similar to bother.
It’s awesome, but it’s not a mill (if I’m that strict with the Thermomix, I have to be here as well). Also, it appears earlier models for the glass “jugs” were higher (if you compare the pictures). Those had the by-letter “A” instead of “B” as far as I can see. Kenwood appears to constantly improve their gear and that may be a result of it. I use this Mini Chopper frequently. To chop nuts, make pesto, mix smaller quantities. If using, I assemble it by placing the glass and blade unit against each other as for screwing the blade unit on. However, I start with a ‘screwing it off’ direction first. By ‘unscrewing’ first, I pass a part of the thread and it ‘plops’ into a position where it gets screwed on properly. This way I don’t screw it on on an angle. It only happened sometimes, but this quick move prevents it entirely. The same applies as for the Stainless Steel Blender, it needs to be properly sealed.
Other things I noticed are that nuts, when they get hot while being mashed, get too thick with the oil and cannot be further mashed and need to be moved around to get further mashed. Anything liquid enough or dry enough is fine so far though. I love it and use it lots and have worked around those quirks.
Metal Juice Extractor AT641 (previously Continous Juicer) (fits CC, M and Chef)
Small (juicing) apples fit in entirely – I don’t even peel or core them. I may wash them. Absolutely yummy juice. Larger apples need to be cut into pieces less than halves. Pears run through like butter. Haven’t tried other fruit or veggies yet. Most bits can easily be rinsed or cleaned, but the mesh in the centrifuge drum needs decent cleaning with a brush right away. It helps to soak it in water, since the apple-flesh is pretty dry, but you still have to make sure you got all out. Also, the bottom bit is not supposed to get into the water, but it usually only needs a wipe of some drops of juice anyway. Thumbs up for this one!
Major Sized Frozen Dessert Maker AT957A (fits CC and M)
It’s amazing. If you pre-cool the milky liquid properly, it makes the most delicious ice-cream, just like my Italian Ice-Creamery at home would. I even pre-whipped the cream and it got CREAMIER. WOW!!!. I will post recipes in time. The bit to fill in the liquid is really very small, just like for the Splash-Guard. I would prefer to lift the arm to fill it in, but you don’t want the plastic-mixer to break because the liquid solidified too quickly on the bottom of the pre-cooled bowl-insert, so I am careful. However, extremely good ice-cream. It could be insulated better, to keep the temperature lower longer, especially in summer, when air temperature is higher and ice-cream demand as well. Either way, I’m happy I’ve got it. If you want to learn and get into ice-cream making that’s extremely good, also for smaller portions up to 1 L of ice-cream. If you are serious about it, get a decent (!!! otherwise this one is fine) machine that’s specialized and can make more in shorter time and cool, since it can only make about 1 L in 24 h (you can increase that by cheating, but it requires some decent preparation to keep the bowl cool and re-cool it). However, if you have a freezer, you can easily make more ice cream in batches in advance as well.
Pasta Maker AT936A (plastic, not the Metal AT910)
It takes long to make pasta with this one. About 5 min for the dough and about 20 min for the pasta, then 45 min (a max of 4 h) of drying of the finished pasta. THEN you can cook them. But it is oh-so delicious and I can make Buccatini, which I cannot buy here easily. I can also make a couple of other types. Unfortunately, the disks are limited to six types and the ones from the Metal Pasta Maker won’t fit apparently. I read, that if you enlarge the plastic-screw-top to hold them in place, it may, but I cannot verify it, nor would I like to try it as long as I cannot replace the lid easily.
Either way, some pasta-disks are difficult to clean and you should at least soak them and never let them dry out with dough on. You can make Spaghetti (reasonably easy cleaning disk), Tagliatelle and “Lasagne” (long-ish wide band-pasta rather than large sheets, reasonably easy to clean), Macaroni (open sided, OK to clean), Large Macaroni (or Bucattini, difficult to clean) and Rigatoni (worst to clean). In the end it’s still feasible, but takes time and patience. For me it’s worth the taste and enjoyment, but sure not for someone who shys away from cleaning entirely. This should be the same for the bronze disks I guess in the Metal Pasta Maker. The feeder mechanism, however, is really easy to clean. A cleaning tool comes with it, so does a recipe book, but the recipe in the general CC cookbook is fine.
Metal Fruit Press AT644 and Metal Roto Food Cutter AT643 (joint in pack AT642)
(fits CC and M)
Not used yet.
Continous Slicer/Grater AT340 (fits CC, M and Chef)
Not used yet.
Food Mincer AT950A (the small one, not AT955) (fits CC and M)
Not used yet.
Cream Maker A927 (better named emulsifier I think) (fits CC and M)
Old, discontinued attachment, available on ebay. Not used yet. But this is what I’d like to use it for: Make thick cream or pouring cream out of butter (unsalted) and milk, desalt butter and margarine, make ice-cream (recipes included), or make my own healthy, natural facial and body creams and lotions out of your choice of watery and fatty ingredients (recipes on the web, it’s the same principle as cream making). If anyone is a bit weirded out of putting face-cream stuff into a food thing: If it’s too toxic to eat in residual cleaned-out quantities, I should very much likely not put it in my face in the first place! Just imagine what happens if it gets on my lips and I lick it? Or I scratch my leg and then eat an apple?
Bean and pea slicer and peeler A932 (fits CC and M)
Old, discontinued attachment, available on ebay. Not used yet.
I don’t have yet, but may buy
Major Sized Potato Peeler AT445, , Major sized Colander and Sieve AT930A, Dicing Attachment MGX400
I don’t plan to buy:
Metal Pasta Maker AT910 with Accessories
I have the plastic version, which works sweet, but has limited disks. Reviews state that the bronze-inserts for the Metal Pasta Maker are easily scratched, produce too thick-walled pasta and are expensive. While I cannot judge the thick-walled-ness, the comparison pictures support this and the disks certainly are expensive (about 25 AU$ per piece) on top of the also more expensive Metal Pasta Maker. Kenwood is continuously improving their range, so this may change.
Flat Pasta Makers AT970A, AT971A, AT972A, AT973A and AT974A
I have a manual flat pasta maker and don’t really need that many different accessories for a single purpose each (plus, there is a Tagliatelle maker included in the plastic Pasta Maker AT936A).
Citrus Press AT312
I have an awesome stand-alone one, no need to get another one.
Grain Mill AT941A
This is an actual mill, but I’m not planning to make my own flour.
Finding the right Device – The Quest
Initially, I did not intend to buy a food processor or mixer, but then I stumbled upon the Breville Kitchen Wizz Quad, which had a shredding disk, leaving me astonished. After years of them having disappeared – even as additionally available accessories, there was finally hope I could make my beloved potato pancakes again. I even considered buying Grandma Ann’s Professional Electric Grater from the U.S., but it would come only in 120 V – something anywhere than in the U.S. is not really sensible to have. I asked whether they would come up with a 220 V model, which they confirmed, but since 2011 they haven’t come out with it to my knowledge. Either way, there it was, the long-awaited shredding disk. However, the Kitchen Wizz Quad did not really look robust and I like buying thing that last, since I do cook heaps and need something reliable and sturdy. And the model that was robust, the Kitchen Wizz Pro, did not have the required disk. So back to square one I turned to German companies I knew. Bosch seemed to have a suitable candidate, the MUM5. Intrigued by the accessories available, most importantly the shredding disk, the possibility of using a mixer as well, juicing, meat grinding and especially making ice cream, I wanted to buy it. With 650 AU$, it didn’t come cheap, but there was a special in a Perth store, which I found too late, sold out. So was an offer coming with less accessories. disappointed and a bit discouraged by reviews talking about ‘breakable’ and ‘flimsy’.
The Thermomix-Trial and why I didn’t choose it
I looked into other companies, namely the Thermomix. It’s got more or less religious followers and the advertisement goes ‘it does everything’. And it certainly is a pretty awesome piece of device. It is near maintenance free, has few, easy clean parts, cooks in a temperature controlled and stirred way avoiding burning, weighs in and today even has a chip to put in programs, so you only have to add ingredients whenever the recipe requires them. It also comes with a huge amount of “guaranteed to work” recipes. It promises to weigh, mix, chop, mill, knead, blend, steam, cook, beat, precisely heat, stir and emulsify. The presenters also said on the phone it juices and makes pizza (mind you, she said makes pizza, not pizza dough).
I visited the person doing in-house demonstrations, because I was not really prepared at that time to spend 2000 AUD, but was interested for later, maybe. So I put it to a test, from someone who uses it every day for a family of four and has been a presenter for some time, selling the Thermomix.
She said (as every Thermomix converted says): “It does everything”. So I wanted the raw potatoes mash-grated (or shredded, not into strips, but mashed), the Hollandaise emulsified and cooked, chocolate grated, onions chopped, lemons juiced. I also made these things reasonably clear prior to my visit. However, it turned out a little different. And I found some other things I did not like. I did this test on a TM31, but assume strongly, that the same or similar applies to the new TM5.
First thing, the lemons cannot be juiced. They are “citrus” and you need a citrus juicer. Well, then, it cannot do EVERYTHING I guess. I juice lemons and limes on a regular basis and in winter have oranges almost every day (about 500 mL to a 1 L a day), so doing EVERYTHING is a little exaggerated already with this single exception, if I need a specific citrus juicer. I wasn’t concerned, since I’ve got a separate, extremely good citrus juicer I’m not willing to part with, but I don’t like wrong religiously repeated statements. Furthermore, if you want to juice fruit or vegetables, you need to peel and core them and then you mash them. There is no integrated centrifuge, which separates the solids from the liquid. No juicing. It does not juice – neither citrus fruit nor other, it mashes veg and fruit, which need to be pre-processed.
Secondly, the Hollandaise was made after the “guaranteed to work” recipe out of the original Thermomix cookbook. The sauce was not cooked, runny like liquid butter until it separated into two phases later. A VERY big disappointment. I think the recipe needs to be adjusted to cook longer, use warmer butter, warmer eggs or whatever, but at the bottom line, the guaranteed-to-work recipe did not hold up to expectations. The fool-proof recipe failed with an experienced user.
Thirdly, I wanted onions chopped. It said the Thermomix chops. The presenter said it chops. But what the Thermomix actually does is slash. Randomly. Unless you want mash of your vegetables all the way through, you have to accept a very inhomogeneous slashed vegetable-mix with very large chunks besides almost puree. That’s OK, if you don’t care about it, but making a crunchy, eye-pleasing salad with homogenous pieces becomes somewhat a struggle with this machine. On that note, I really don’t need someone to ‘toss’ my salad. Not sure why the Thermomix community appears to be obsessed with this. Either way: The onions weren’t chopped, but minced.
Fourthly, I wanted potatoes grated. Basically, the same thing as with the onions happened. Initially, there were larger chunks of potatoes, mixed with smaller ones and puree. By the time the largest parts were not chunky any more, but a sort of grated size, most of the potato mass had turned into mash. Way too thin and puree-like to use for the recipe. The potatoes weren’t mash-grated, but slash-pureed.
Fifthly, I wanted chocolate grated. There was no recipe, so we needed to see for the speed and chunk-size. Up until the previous to-last stop, we had smaller-getting chunks. Just before they had the right size, the chocolate got too warm through friction and turned into a block. I think, with some cooling or chilling the chocolate or some other adaptation, it could grate the chocolate, but in this instant, I had a block of re-solidified chocolate, unusable for my purpose. The chocolate is very difficult to grate, maybe even impossible.
Sixthly (that really sounds odd now – is that word correct?), while the person said “it makes pizza” and I was really really questioning if it could, she later “corrected” to making pizza dough. To me, these are quite some two different things, even though understandable, if being under “the Thermomix spell”. It does not make pizza, it makes pizza dough.
Seventhly, the Thermomix uses the blades for kneading dough. This is not kneading in the classic way. It is more of a mixing. Thorough mixing maybe, but still mixing rather than kneading. While I haven’t tried this, I am convinced that it would not compare with actual kneading – especially when the classic kneading requires kneading times of an hour or so. I trust that the pizza dough is nice, but I am convinced it doesn’t compare to the texture and taste (yeast is alive and needs to metabolize – that takes time) of classically derived doughs by kneading. I mean – even the temperature and time make a difference. Either way, if you are not too picky, I am sure it will do the trick for a really nice pizza dough and a bread dough comparable to bread makers (which I don’t like all that much). Until such times as someone can convince me otherwise, I am of the opinion: It does not knead (in the classic way anyway).
Ninethly, even with a really small “mill” on my current Kenwood, which has a blade, I cannot actually “mill”. It’s not milling. Milling is the grinding between two surfaces to my knowledge, breaking the inner tension of the milled object, not the slashing by a blade. It gives you slightly different properties, even though eventually you come up with something like a flour-ish type. It does not mill.
Eightly, it does not have an ice cream attachment. I had set my mind to that and could not be stopped. I want ice cream. It does not make ice cream (this last bit is intentionally not in red-letter, since this it was not promised by the supplier or presenter).
(Almost) finally, the most important feature setting the Thermomix apart from the majority of food processors, mixers and kitchen machines. The heating element and functionality combined with timer. They work brilliantly as far as I can gather from reports, with fixed temperatures (7 to choose in the old one TM31) with mostly 10 °C intervals and of about 5 degrees intervals in the new one TM5. The old TM31 is a little disappointing in that field (see Instruction manual page 25), but it has been on the market for a decade or so and was the only one offering this feat for household uses (to my knowledge anyway) for a very long time. I still find 5 °C intervals a little low, but then again I come from a laboratory. Furthermore, the error in that temperature is probably high enough to not make a fuzz. The maximum of 100 °C in TM31 and 120 °C in TM5 allows cooking, but not frying. Not really worthwhile trying to fry onions or meat. It does not fry (go over 120 °C) (this last bit is intentionally not in red-letter, since this it was not promised by the supplier or presenter).
Last but not least, I found it rather difficult to find detailed information, it is hidden in the manuals and on the web and not everything I wanted to find was there. I do not always want to run to or ring someone, to find out the details.
All up, the Thermomix does NOT do everything, but it does a lot of things and apparently quite well and reliably. Especially if you use the pre-set cookbook, which for the most part apparently works well. Hollandaise IS a tricky business after all – to me among the Emperor-Class cooking challenges. There are competitors out there besides the Kenwood Cooking Chef, I learned after buying the Magic Monster. One of the, the Bellini Intelli Kitchen Machine (a conversion and semi-review information here), the other the HotMixPro, but I did not know about those at the time.
The Thermomix is brilliant in its simplicity, very few additional accessories, the little room it needs and it actually looks quite decorative. It has a reputation of being extremely reliable and low in service-needs. The new version even allows to program recipes on a stick which you can exchange, which I find rather convenient. You still have to stand beside it occasionally to add ingredients, but otherwise this is a brilliant tool for someone with little time, with no inclination or time to elaborate into detailed cooking. Someone who doesn’t mind a weird-texture salad, pureed onions beside chunks and doesn’t elaborate into specific bread-doughs. Who is happy with reasonable results as opposed to good or very good results with a minimum amount of time. Who does not want many dissapointing results, when something went wrong. Someone, who nevertheless would like to cook fresh, with either little fuzz or fantasy (it really is easy to use and the cookbook has apparently high recommendations) and is happy to follow a cookbook or go trial and error.
Thus, it was not the machine for me.
HotMixPRO and cousins – found after getting the Magic Monster
I did not know there were competitors in the “kitchen mixer/processor cooking device” business beside the Thermomix. There are. The only one I was amazed of and actually looked into, is one that can actually also cool and freeze. It can make ice cream itself, by cooling. Wow. The HotMixPRO family comes in Easy, Gastro and GastroX. The price for the Gastro comes with a 2300 AU$ price tag, which is not that much higher than the Thermomix. A detailed review on CookCookEat claims it either got the machine while it was not fully developed, since the model is still new-ish, or may have gotten a lemon. Combined with under-standard customer service, they gave their model back, despite being very excited about its potential. Other commenters were really happy about their model and loved it. So I may look into this in the future as an addition, if I get my own household and a larger kitchen.
Comparison between Kenwood Cooking Chef, Thermomix and HotMixPRO
The review on FoodMuster compared the Thermomix with the HotMixPRO, but completely missed the differences between these two reasonably similar machines compared to the Kenwood Cooking Chef. It also gets it wrong that the Cooking Chef makes six liters of ice cream, it makes about a liter, showing how much the person has actually looked into it. The central statement “However the main draw back for the Kenwood is that you are limited to what you can achieve with the machine by what attachments you do or don’t have. If you want to juice your fruit, you have to buy an attachment. If you want to grind, that’s another attachment, if you want to make a smoothie or milkshake, again it’s another attachment. ” against the Kenwood Cooking Chef holds partial truth though. Without the “extra” attachments, you have a mixer, which is a mixer, with specific tools and nothing more. However, most Cooking Chef models come with a mixer jug and a food processors, so it’s a matter of transferring the content from one attachment to the other, a matter of not slashing in the same bowl, which is combined in both, Thermomix and HotMixPro. If you only have the Thermomix or HotMixPRO – you need additional separate kitchen devices for actual juicing of vegetable and fruit, for juicing citrus, for kneading, for milling, for grating and chopping, because they just don’t do it well or at all. The FoodMuster page seems to compare the Thermomix and the HotMixPRO pretty well though, with a bias towards the HotMixPRO. Thermomix and HotMixPro apparently do similar things, due to their similar equipment, with the Thermomix winning slightly in price, built-in scale and hands-down in reliability and the HotMixPro winning the versatility as far as I can gather, due to its ability to cool and freeze. They are very very good for what they are designed for, but they are a different breed compared to a machine like the Kenwood Cooking Chef. Also, I so often need to weigh things separately and take amounts out of the weighing-in bowl, because too much went in that I really don’t appreciate the built-in scales of the Thermomix just as much. I would need scales either way. Always.
Comparison Table (with help of FoodMuster):
. Kenwood Cooking Chef – Thermomix TM5 – HotMixPro Gastro
Temp: 20 ° – 140 °C 37° – 100 °C (120 °C) 25° – 190 °C
Motor: 1500 W 500 W 1500 W
max RPM: 100-10700 12500
Heating: 1100 W induction 1000 W 800 W
Cooking capacity: 3 L 2.2 L 2 L
Temp increase °C: ~3 5 1
Scales increment: no scales 5 g no scales
Price (AU$): 1999 1939 2395
Thanks for reading until here, or scrolling. I hope it’s helpful!!!!