The Kenwood Cooking Chef is supposed to be four kitchen appliances in one—a stand mixer, food processor, blender, and induction hot plate. The $2,000 multi-tasker initially impressed us as it whipped cream into stiff peaks and produced a rich risotto without the constant manual stirring usually required of the dish. But as our testing continued, we encountered serious issues with the machine’s food processor. As a result, we’ve rated the Kenwood Cooking Chef a "Don’t Buy: Performance Problem."
Sold at Amazon, Bloomingdale’s, and Williams-Sonoma, the Kenwood Cooking Chef is first and foremost a stand mixer (its Britain-based manufacturer has been making mixers since 1950). So we started by testing that function. The machine performed extremely well, whipping cream quickly and efficiently, kneading bread dough with ease, and folding chocolate chips and nuts into stiff cookie batter.
Our concerns started during testing of the food processor attachment. While chopping, slicing, shredding, and grating were superb, the slicing and grating disks took about 9 seconds to come to a full stop if the food processor lid was lifted during operation, and the exposed slicing disk had enough stored energy to cut through a fresh carrot several times before stopping. This is the only tested model in which we observed this problem.
We purchased a second Kenwood Cooking Chef and repeated the food processor tests. This time the slicing and grating disks stopped quickly when we removed the lid, but two new problems emerged. First, the plastic hub on a slicing disc broke, then one of three screws at the bottom of the drive shaft assembly sheared off. Neither of these issues creates a safety hazard, but the fact that two samples of the Kenwood Cooking Chef have been problematic when using the food processor raises concerns about its performance.
If you already own the Kenwood Cooking Chef, we suggest you stop using the food processor and contact the retailer to inquire about its return policy. You could also try contacting Kenwood at 800-322-3848. Hopefully you’ll have a better experience than our secret shopper, who spent weeks trying to get a replacement part after our second sample failed. In the latest message from Kenwood’s customer service department, we were told that the part will not be available until Spring 2014.