Trawling the internet you’ll find that the Kenwood Cooking Chef is oft-reviewed as competition to the Thermomix and Vitamix, but to be honest with you I’m not sure why. Sure all three appliances cook, but I suspect that’s where the similarity ends and that’s why this isn’t another blog comparing them.
Now I don’t own – nor have I ever tried – a Thermomix or Vitamix so admit to complete ignorance on their capabilities. But hands-down the KCC looks like a better buy to me, which is why (after much research) I bought one. Here are the reasons why I chose it:
- It looks more versatile, with attachments to beat, whip, knead, blend, liquidise, juice, ream, mince, grind, roll pasta and make ice-cream.
- The larger size of the mixing bowl means more capacity, so you can make greater volumes of food – important when you’re entertaining frequently or have a family.
- The ability to make bread dough.
The KCC has an induction cook-top built into the base which heats the mixing bowl. Induction cooking is fast and energy efficient, and allows near-instant response to temperature changes making the KCC rather marvelous for recipes that require controlled temperatures. Other cooking bonuses include the ability to cook at very low temperatures (good for sous-vide, creme anglais, confectionery) and at very constant cooking temperatures (good for slow cooking). The KCC can cook for up to three hours continuously, and has different settings for stirring ranging from constant to infrequent.
Cooking with a deep bowl has its limitations of course, and you won’t get the same results as cooking in a flat-bottomed saucepan or frying pan over gas. This really matters for dishes that involve evaporation and reduction, such as risotto. So far every KCC risotto I’ve tried has turned out gluggy, so I’ve gone back to the stove-top method.
On the other hand cooking in a deep bowl produces a mean pasta sauce. I cook my Mushroom and Champagne Parpadelle sauce exclusively in the KCC because it retains the moisture, concentrating all the flavours. Using the KCC to cook pasta sauce also gives me a good excuse for dirtying up the blender by using it to chop up all the ingredients. The lazy lady’s secret to 5 minute prep.
I mainly use my KCC for making bread dough. Yes my arms are all the flabbier for the lack of kneading in my life, but my stomach is full sooner and that’s what matters. The KCC does a stupendous job at mixing dough – chuck in all the ingredients and switch on. The ‘planetary’ mixing action does a comprehensive job and doesn’t leave any flour or dough on the bottom or sides of the bowl. To seal the deal, when the weather is a bit on the cool side I simply remove the dough hook, cover the bowl with a tea-towel and proof the bread using the induction cooker. And to answer a common question – yes you need to use the oven to actually bake the bread.
When I’m finished I put all the attachments and bowl straight into the dishwasher. Too easy.
- Awesome for making bread dough – throw all ingredients into bowl and mix.
- Big mixing bowl means you can cook for a lot of people.
- Throw out your mixer, steamer, blender, liquidiser, mincer, rice-maker and pasta maker – this appliance replaces them all.
- Easy to use once you’ve learned its (very few) idiosyncrasies.
- I bought mine at Christmas, when it was nigh impossible to find one. You’ll need to hunt.
- You’ll need a special spot for storing the millions of attachments and accessories.
- Induction cooking in a bowl does have some culinary limitations.