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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 July 2013
I am a keen cook and have owned various Kenwood models (the latest before this one being a Titanium Chef). I have also had a Kitchen Aid and a Thermomix. I was very happy with my Titanium chef but feel compelled to write a review because the Cooking Chef is just on another level altogether. It is ENTIRELY worth the extortionate amount it costs. It does everything my previous machines did better, more quietly and efficiently. And it does things that none of the others can do.

It is incredibly solidly made (and the Titanium chef is pretty solid already). The hooks, beaters etc are extremely solid and hefty, and superlatively well designed. The bread hook, for example, is much more efficient than my previous one (which was also cast stainless steel). Don't forget to adjust the height of all the attachments, this is extremely important. To do this you use the provided spanner to loosen the nut at the top and then turn the shaft counterclockwise to lower it. Once you have an appropriate height you just tighten up the nut again. The bread hook was so stiff that my husband had to put it in a vice to undo it (they say in the instruction manual that it 'is factory set and shouldn't require adjustment' but that's only true if you bake large quantities. I wanted to be able to knead as little as 1 1/2 cups of flour, and once the height has been adjusted this is no problem. Same with 2 egg whites, etc. The best height for the hook is about 2mm from the bottom of the bowl. For the K beater, stirrer and whisk, barely touching the bottom. For the silicone beater, touching lightly.

It creams small or large quantities of butter and sugar efficiently and very fast, much better than any of my previous machines. It whips cream or meringue to professional standards (and you can make Italian meringue at 120°C directly in it, no faffing around with hot syrup that gets splattered around by the whisk). It kneads bread wonderfully and of course it has a timer, so you can leave it on its own and it will stop at the right time (it's better to remove the hook at that point but there is no harm in letting it in). Needless to say the machine never 'walks' on the counter.

The bowl is extremely well designed, with large, silicone insulated handles that make it much easier to use than the stainless steel bowl on the Titanium. I thought that it would be heavy because of the induction suitable bottom but in fact it's fine. It is low enough to easily go in the dishwasher while being high enough to avoid most splatters (comes with a splashguard anyway).

One thing I should have said straightaway is that to my immense surprise, the footprint on the counter is hardly bigger than the Chef's. I was both astonished and very pleased to discover this as it means that you hardly lose any work space while having so many more possibilities. Don't trust the measurements, they take into account the handles which stick out quite a bit and also they are not accurate. Basically it is about an inch wider than the Chef and half an inch longer. It is significantly higher but of course that doesn't affect the footprint.

The cooking function is a revelation. For one thing, you can make bechamel for macaroni or cauliflower cheese, hollandaise, béarnaise, custard, rice pudding, zabbaglione, scrambled eggs, to perfect consistency and temperature. No need to stand next to the machine, and no worries about your custard curdling so long as the temperature is set to 81°C. It stirs your risotto and cooks your meringue as you make it. It will also temper chocolate. In this respect, one major difference with the Thermomix is that the temperature is adjustable to the degree (whereas in the Thermomix it goes up or down by 10°C, which is useless for tempering or sous vide cooking). I have used a professional digital thermometer to check the calibration and the measurements are accurate to about 0.5°C, even though in theory the manual says that it is only accurate to 5°C. But at least with the largish quantities of water used in sous vide the machine is very accurate.

Where the machine comes into its own is as a sous vide cooker. Just fill the bowl right up to the limit, place a ziploc bag with the food in it in the water to expel air from the top of the bag (the so called 'water displacement' method), close it and immerse. Add the K beater on top (on a slant) to keep the bag down. Put the bowl back in the machine, set the correct temperature for the food you are cooking, slot the splashguard in (I always leave the heat guard on, it is simpler). The induction base will bring the water to the correct temperature incredibly quickly (about 1-1mn30 for 60°C). Stir a couple of times to ensure homogeneity, set the timer and just walk away! I was concerned that there is no way to stir the water during the cooking period but because the bowl is so big and the induction base is so precise, the temperature remains homogeneous throughout the cooking period. There is also no need to buy a vacuum machine (although I imagine that it would be a nice refinement but they are expensive and take space). Once done, just sear the food in a very hot cast iron pan for about 30s on each side and you'll have the most incredibly plump and tender meat or fish you can imagine. I thought that sous-vide cooking was a gimmick but it really isn't, at least not for meat and fish. And the Cooking Chef will advantageously replace an expensive Sous Vice Demi (or Supreme), being much better built and incredibly more versatile.

I could go on but am running out of time. All I can say is that I wish I'd had this years ago. Now I couldn't imagine being without it. There is also the aesthetic pleasure of using an appliance which is all metal (contrary to the Thermomix), ergonomically designed and beautifully made. I imagine that it must be like driving a Porsche! But in my view it's a thousand times more useful than a Porsche (and somewhat less costly...). I wasn't surprised to discover that Heston Blumenthal uses the Cooking Chef, it's the perfectionist's dream!

In short, if you can afford it don't hesitate for a second. It will repay you and your household many, many times and if the durability of my previous Kenwood machines is anything to go by (the first one is over 20 years old and still running strong at my sister's house) it will be of service for many years. Oh, I forgot to mention that if you register with the French Cooking Chef Club (for some reason the appliance is incredibly popular there, to the extent that you have many dedicated cookbooks just for it) they will give you a choice between 10 free attachments.

Just realised that I didn't even mention the attachments above. Well, I guess that it's because they are like the proverbial cherry on the cake! Just get the cake, you can add cherries afterwards...
0Comment|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 July 2012
Since there were no reviews of the Kenwood Cooking Chef, I thought I'd contribute one - I've had this unit for about a year now, having coveted it after seeing Heston use one on TV. In it's basic function's it's largely identical to the Kenwood Chef Major Titanium which I had previously (the attachments are compatible). The mixer functions are great, but that's covered elsewhere so I'll focus on the differences from the regular models.

The main new feature is the induction plate under the bowl, which allow you to apply heat up to 140C. The unit is also has more electronics than the Major, with a digital display which functions as a timer and a temperature readout.

The temperature is controlled by a knob on the front, which clicks round in 2-3 degree C increments. Although that's not terribly accurate in itself, the temperature readout and the thermostatic control is spot on, so once you get it to the right temp it will stay there. It's only rated to +/- 5C but I tested it with a semi-pro RayTemp digital thermometer and it was within 1C of the displayed temperature. This is great as one of my main uses is as an improvised sous vide - fill the bowl with water, put meat or fish with a little marinade or olive oil in a ziplock bag, submerge it in the water to force out the air and seal it. Although there's no active circulation I've found it works very well just through convection.

Also new is a pulse button, and a 'fold' button which turns the mixer once round, although I can't say I've every used that one. There are also some extra plastic covers to keep steam in the bowl and away from the mechanism as well, as a few sensors to check everthing is ok.

In addition to the regular mixing speeds, there are 3 new speed settings for stirring with the heat on (by turning the speed dial the opposite way) - a slow continuous and 2 intermittent settings of 5s and 30s. The regular mixing speeds are not available above a certain temperature for safety reasons, but this can be overridden by holding the Pulse button, for things like Italian merangues.

New attachments:

- High temperature flexible beater. This is the common tool to use with the induction - it is U-shaped with flexible plastic covers on the arms allowing it to stir and scrape the bowl (this supersedes the flexi K-beater which isn't heatproof).

- Stirring tool. This has 2 metal arms which contra-rotate. It is best used for for stirring liquids like soups or curries.

- Steamer basket. Works just fine, if you don't already have a steamer.

There are also some design improvements to the existing attachments, for instance both the bread hook and the balloon whisk are sturdier.

Conceptually it is similar to the Vorwerk Thermomix, which is based on a blender rather than a mixer - I don't (yet) own a Thermomix, partly because of limited counter-top space and partly that it's just so hard to buy in the UK, so I can't say which is better if you have to choose. I'd imagine it depends on your typical requirements regarding the more mundane functions, and what other equipment you already own.

So what is it good for? Anything that needs heating and stirring basically, and/or anything which can benefit from tight temperature control. For instance it takes the guesswork out of custards or other egg-based emulsions as you can just set the temp to 70-80C and it will stir or whisk it to a perfect result.

It makes a mean risotto (read this too: [...]). Soups can have base ingredients like onion or pancetta toasted in the bowl before adding the stock. Sauces can be stirred and reduced. Tarka dahl. Indian or Thai curries. If you make bread you can leave it in the bowl and set a very low temp for rising. And I have a recipe for dulce de leche which says "reduce and stir for 3 hours". Win.

Recipes that might have called for a bain marie or several bowls and pots can be simplified and at least partly automated. So whether you're just a bit lazy after work or have over-reached on a dinner party menu, it's a great assist.

The only negatives are the price and it's a touch noisy in operation - no more so than other mixers but you tend to leave this one on in the background with the stirring program.

Should you buy one? If you barely use the food mixer you already own, then probably not. But yes if you're a keen cook, if you don't already have a high-end food mixer, or if you would just like to make fresh food with less effort. It's not cheap, but lasts forever so it's good value if you get the use out of it.
11 comment|46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 March 2013
For several years I had an old Kenwood 701A that was over 40 years old which I bought on eBay. My wife loved this machine and was hugely opposed to any idea of an upgrade. We even had upgraded stainless steel hooks and whisk attachments for it including other useful bits which kept it at par with thir most recent offerings like the Titanium range from Kenwood. I bought a shiny metallic red Kitchen Aid Mixer and placed it next to it. Despite being so much more good looking and having a motor that seemed almost silent in comparison to the 40yr old Kenwood my wife complained about KitchenAid. I would often catch her still using the old Kenwood and not using the KitchenAid!! I found out about the cooking chef when I was narrowing down on the Kenwood major range. I had also heard of the Thermomix which is as rare as Hen's tooth in the UK. However, I stumbled on the Kenwood KM070 and KM069 which are both called the Cooking Chef. Only difference with the model numbers are the accessories that come with it and therefore the size of the box that arrives. I bought the Kenwood KM070 Cooking Chef. The box it came in was almost the size of a dishwasher!

So I placed this Kenwood Cooking Chef next to the old Kenwood KM701A in our tiny and now congested kitchen. Even before understanding the heating aspect or the "cooking" aspect of this new mixer. My wife absolutely loved it. She even described it as being beautiful. She went on about how all the attachments looked so stable, solid and reliable, being made of cast or forged stainless steel! She was now convincing me that this is the machine to keep. We sold off the KitchenAid, which was already packed back in its box for a week now. It had a lot of demand and it sold for nearly the price I bought it for. As for the much loved, old, reliable and trusted friend 701A... we gave it to my mom who promptly fell in love with it. She discarded her much newer but unfriendly mixer and blender for the robust 701A with its attachments and she uses it regularly now! Including the 40 year old glass jar blender!!

So Kenwood Cooking Chef proved to be the "upgrade path" that made sense in the end. There is not much advertising for this product. This is a giant kitchen appliance that can easily kill many other appliances. Much of the versatility of the cooking chef is unexplored. You will not find very many recipes or youtube videos giving you ideas on how to use it. This product is more useful for someone who is already at ease using either KitchenAid or any of the earlier Kenwood Chef like 701, 901, Titanium, Major etc. Even if you are used to Thermomix, I am sure the beauty with which Cooking Chef kneads dough, smoothly, for the duration you set, keeping it at exactly 35 degree centigrade is nothing short of superlative professional performance. Above all else it is able to knead more than twice the quantity Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer is able to manage and more than four times the quantity of the older 701A.

With regard to the attachments. Everything just works. Maybe the glass jar blender in the old 701A seemed better is some ways but the stainless steel blender with this is good too. For those who are more into baking cakes the winged attachment with silicone wipers are great for making icing!! In my wife says that once you have used this attachment you wont like any other for making icing. Even surpasses the Kitchen Aid Artisan silicone wiper attachment for the same job because the over all coverage versus wastage ratio is superior; on top of the fact that the attachments are dishwasher safe stainless steel. Stirring sugar syrup, turkish delight or making jam is now safer because it is in a closed environment without the danger of splashing. To use it for making stew or casserole as advertised by them is a bit superfluous because almost anyone would prefer a saucepan for that! Saying that the heater element in it is a mighty 1100w which is almost as good as a standalone induction cooker. This is not an appliance that needs any silly adverts to sell it. After a doubtful purchase, I can now say after nearly two years, that it is a superlative product from Kenwood and DeLonghi. To anyone seeking an upgrade option to an older mixer, an alternative to Thermomix, or someone for whom the snazzy and colourful KitchenAid Artisan or K-Mix does not float their boat, I highly recommend this Cooking Chef.
22 comments|16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 March 2013
This is ace. I love the potato peeler attachment. It really works. I can set the machine to work for a specified duration and it finishes the jobs whilst I am getting on with other stuff. It looks great and has the feel of a Rolls Royce. Built to last.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 March 2013
For several years I had an old Kenwood 701A that was over 40 years old which I bought on eBay. My wife loved this machine and was hugely opposed to any idea of an upgrade. We even had upgraded stainless steel hooks and whisk attachments for it including other useful bits which kept it at par with thir most recent offerings like the Titanium range from Kenwood. I bought a shiny metallic red Kitchen Aid Mixer and placed it next to it. Despite being so much more good looking and having a motor that seemed almost silent in comparison to the 40yr old Kenwood my wife complained about KitchenAid. I would often catch her still using the old Kenwood and not using the KitchenAid!! I found out about the cooking chef when I was narrowing down on the Kenwood major range. I had also heard of the Thermomix which is as rare as Hen's tooth in the UK. However, I stumbled on the Kenwood KM070 and KM069 which are both called the Cooking Chef. Only difference with the model numbers are the accessories that come with it and therefore the size of the box that arrives. Now they have increased the range and the attachments combination you get. The range consists of Kenwood Cooking Chef KM068, KM069, KM070, KM071, KM075, KM076, KM080 and KM089. I bought the Kenwood KM070 Cooking Chef. The box it came in was almost the size of a dishwasher! The price difference is a bit steep and the food processor attachment you get is not in the same league as their other stand alone food processor you can buy separately. I dont care much for the slicers etc unless you are slicing for a huge party and you have 50 courgettes to slice through. For one courgette a knife is the fastest. Saying that, it still gets a 5 out of 5 from me because the overall performance of the included food processor attachment and the stainless steel blender are all good.

So I placed this Kenwood Cooking Chef next to the old Kenwood KM701A in our tiny and now congested kitchen. Even before understanding the heating aspect or the "cooking" aspect of this new mixer. My wife absolutely loved it. She even described it as being beautiful. She went on about how all the attachments looked so stable, solid and reliable, being made of cast or forged stainless steel! She was now convincing me that this is the machine to keep. We sold off the KitchenAid, which was already packed back in its box for a week now. It had a lot of demand and it sold for nearly the price I bought it for. As for the much loved, old, reliable and trusted friend 701A... we gave it to my mom who promptly fell in love with it. She discarded her much newer but unfriendly mixer and blender for the robust 701A with its attachments and she uses it regularly now! Including the 40 year old glass jar blender!!

You will probably need a new weighing scale for your kitchen! I found that the heavy bowl meant that my existing digital scales with maximum 5kg capacity was soon exceeded when the bowl was filled with ingredients. I found a 7kg capacity kitchen scale that solved this problem. This story is worth mentioning because the Kenwood/DeLonghi people do add a silicone mat to place on the scale to prevent slipping as well as to protect it when the bowl is hot! This kind of attention to detail can be found everywhere in the design, build quality, and even the packaging.

So Kenwood Cooking Chef proved to be the "upgrade path" that made sense in the end. There is not much advertising for this product. This is a giant kitchen appliance that can easily kill many other appliances. Much of the versatility of the cooking chef is unexplored. You will not find very many recipes or youtube videos giving you ideas on how to use it. This product is more useful for someone who is already at ease using either KitchenAid or any of the earlier Kenwood Chef like 701, 901, Titanium, Major etc. Even if you are used to Thermomix, I am sure the beauty with which Cooking Chef kneads dough, smoothly, for the duration you set, keeping it at exactly 35 degree centigrade is nothing short of superlative professional performance. Above all else it is able to knead more than twice the quantity Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer is able to manage and more than four times the quantity of the older 701A.

You can buy several attachments for Kenwood cooking chef which is like a Jack of all trades and a master of everything!! I use the pasta extruder attachment, Pasta roller attachment and mincer/sausage attachment. They all work well. Slightly better, maybe (in my opinion) to the KitchenAid Artisan pasta attachment that I tried for a while. I highly recommend the pasta extruder with brass dye that give professional results. If you like high quality home made pasta then there is nothing like this from other brands! Simply amazing.

With regard to the attachments. Everything just works. Maybe the glass jar blender in the old 701A seemed better is some ways but the stainless steel blender with this is good too. For those who are more into baking cakes the winged attachment with silicone wipers are great for making icing!! In my wife says that once you have used this attachment you wont like any other for making icing. Even surpasses the Kitchen Aid Artisan silicone wiper attachment for the same job because the over all coverage versus wastage ratio is superior; on top of the fact that the attachments are dishwasher safe stainless steel. Stirring sugar syrup, turkish delight or making jam is now safer because it is in a closed environment without the danger of splashing. To use it for making stew or casserole as advertised by them is a bit superfluous because almost anyone would prefer a saucepan for that! Saying that the heater element in it is a mighty 1100w which is almost as good as a standalone induction cooker. This is not an appliance that needs any silly adverts to sell it. After a doubtful purchase, I can now say after nearly two years, that it is a superlative product from Kenwood and DeLonghi. To anyone seeking an upgrade option to an older mixer, an alternative to Thermomix, or someone for whom the snazzy and colourful KitchenAid Artisan or K-Mix does not float their boat, I highly recommend this Cooking Chef.
44 comments|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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