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Food processor purchase

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm in the market for a food processor and I'd welcome any advice I can get. I've been doing my research and here's what I've found out so far:

The two top selling brands seem to be Cuisinart and KitchenAid. This appears to be based on past reputation rather than current quality. From what I've read since both brands are no longer made by Robot Coupe the dependability isn't there; Cuisinart's customer service is a nightmare and KitchenAid's processors have problems with blades fusing to stems and plastic shavings in food. Granted their customer service is great but I'm looking for a machine that will be on my counter and not in a box being replaced.

This has lead me to the Magimix line which is made by Robot Coupe. Now I need to decide what model is the best one for me since they are not cheap and I don't want to spend more than I need to. I'm leaning towards the 3150 (12cups) but will that be large enough to prep and puree soups & sauces? I normally cook for two but I always make more for other family and friends. They also have 14 and 16 cup models available but that may be overkill. Is a wide mouth feeder important or a pain in the neck? Is a 650 watt motor enough to knead dough without killing the machine?

Talk to me people...
post #2 of 4
I typically love and have all things Kitchen-Aid, but for my FP, I do have the Cuisinart and I love it! I do not use it often as I should or would like to, but I have had it for 7 years now and it still works great. The only thing it does (and maybe someone else has had this happen or has a more elegant solution that I do) is that sometimes the lid goes further than the cup thingie wants it to. In that case, it stops working and will not work again until the lid goes back to where it should be. It is not easy to move it back, either. I have resorted to using a skewer to push the spring-loaded thing in the handle down so the lid can slide back on it, and it is HARD and it took me forever to even find that solution. So when I use it, I am careful about the lid and tend not to use the FP for things that are too hard because of that.
post #3 of 4
If you're most interested in soups and sauces, a processor isn't one of the two best tools. Those would be an immersion blender and a bar or food blender. Among other problems, processors don't do large volumes of thin liquids well. Not to put too fine a point on it, they leak. The line falls somewhere between nappe and puree.

What processors do is a lot of sloppy knife work, decent mandoline work, heap plenty grating -- and what they do, they do by God fast. They also do some doughs -- especially cutting in. But when it comes to serious baking, a stand mixer it ain't.

If you feed a lot of people, entertain a lot, don't like using a knife, want pie dough in 12 seconds, like really tough biscuits, etc., they're invaluable. The level of quality you need in the machine depends on the demands you'll place upon it.

I think you're being too hard on Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid. Yes, both are assembled in China, and the Magi-Mix in France, but France is no guarantee of quality. Over the years I've gone through a lot of good and bad French culinary equipment. Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid have sold so many machines there's bound to be a lot of anecdotal complaints; while Magi-Mix has sold so few in the United States, it's hard to get a valid statistical view of breakdown frequency. There's more noise than information available.

The first line of defense for a poorly made machine is often provided by the store which sold it. If you can find someplace near you which will replace with no questions asked (Bed Bath and Beyond for instance) -- that may be your best warranty. If warranty is important, I'd research the degree of difficulty and cost of shipping involved in getting a Magi-Mix serviced. Great warranty is one thing. Exercising it another.

I received a top of the line Cuisinart (made in Japan) as a birthday present from my first wife 20 years ago. It's with her, and still going strong as far as I know. I bought a top of the line Cuisinart 7 years ago (China), when we split up -- and the work bowl's been getting cranky for a few years. I think it can be replaced economically, though. But, I don't do the kind of large parties I used to, and just don't use it that much. Still nice to have when it's needed.

Magi-Mix sells at a stratospheric price. If I put pro type demands on a processor and needed top quality at a reasonable price, I'd go Waring Professional. If I were the type of person who insisted on "the best" without reference to cost, I'd probably be torn between the Waring and the Magi-Mix. Otherwise, I'd probably choose the Cuisinart.

The least expensive restaurant quality processor is the 1 hp Waring Pro, which you can find for around $400 if you look at places like Food Processor World. Over the years, I've had good luck with Waring small motors. You'd have to call to find out where they're made.

I highly recommend one of the bottom of the line BB180 professional "bar blender" for your soup and sauce needs (Blender World, natch). The class act of home immersion blenders is Kitchen Aid, the Waring is the least expensive pro, but the Bamix is worth the extra money. All of these are within a couple of sawbucks of $100. A $30 Cuisinart does a perfectly fine job for most home cooks.

There's a lot of cross over between a counter top blender and an immersion blender, but there are also a lot of things each can do, the other can't. To highlight a few, counter top blenders do smoother purees, and a variety of drinks an immersion blender can't handle. You ever see an immersion blender or a processor making Margaritas, smoothies or ice blendeds? OTOH, immersion blenders let you handle large volumes right in the pot, and can put an enormous amount of volume into a small amount of liquid.

We have all three machines (not to mention a stand mixer, a hand beater, and every other electric appliance known to woman and man), and of them all, use our stand mixer and counter top blender the most -- but that's us.

As a general rule, you can do better quality work with the right whisks, some good knife technique, and a cap chinoise. But don't forget, real men and women have at least $1 Gazillion in kitchen toys -- so buy already.

Just some perspective,
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the insights BDL - I'm rethinking purchasing a FP for now. I have a decent Oster that's served me well over the years and I like the idea of the immersion blender along with a good stand mixer.The warranty issue is a good point I hadn't considered. I do have a BB&B close by so that may be the way to go eventually.Fortunately time is not an issue for me when I'm in the kitchen and I do enjoy my knives and other hand tools.Willie24
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