Time saving device
* i am enjoying getting to know my machine
* It was a bit fiddly getting set up at the start but once I figured it out it’s much easier.
* The bowl weighs 2kg so it’s hard to hold with one hand while scraping into a bowl with the other - I would suggest it might be a bit tricky for elderly people to use.
*The app is very helpful when choosing what to cook and I love that I can send the shopping list straight to my mobile phone. Unexpected bonus - the teenager in the house has the app too so she can go through and choose something yummy to cook. She’s not normally interested in cooking at all.
* The scales work really well
* I’m having some issues with Kenwood sending me an expired coupon code for the Marley Spoon pack I was promised when I bought the machine, but I’m hoping their customer service dept sort that out soon.
So good, I sold my Thermomix
I've been using my Kenwood for a couple of months now, and it hasn't skipped a beat. I have owned a TMX for a couple of year, so I was already experienced with multicookers, but I was impressed by the features of the Kenwood, and stoked to give it a go.
The direct prep, variety of blades and tools, functions, and connected app, make this the most 'multi' multicookers I have encountered- and I'm an appliance junkies, so I have played with many. I especially love the stirring tool- unlike 'reverse' or similar concepts on other machines, the Kenwood allows food to retain it's shape, where TMX and others tend to reduce food to mush, and change the texture completely.
The app was a bit limited at first, but the variety of recipes has really improved over time, with more and more items being added regularly. Family favourites for us have been chicken, pea, and asparagus risotto, pizza dough, chicken curry, and cauliflower soup. As other users have said, I would love to be able to add recipes, I have been converting some of my generic multicookers recipes for my friends, and it would be great to share them more widely.
So happy with my beautiful machine, would definitely recommend it!
I have been using this machine for a few weeks, I guess the biggest fear was to buy a cheaper version of the Thermomix and then to find out it was not quite the same thing.
This machine is beautifully built and designed, robust and solid, t comes with a lot of bits and pieces which can be easily stored in a plastic box provided with the package.
The steamer is easy to install and to clean and all the pieces are dish washer safe which also save a lot of time.
Using the app is a walk in a park, you can follow simple steps on how to connect the kCook to the home WiFi and after this all devices can just connect to it.
The scale as well, through the Bluetooth, is simple to setup.
With my wife we have tried stirfry, soups, pasta, also made jam using the manual commands.
The direct preparation tool is quite handy when you need to chop a lot of veggies or you can just chop them manually if there are not many needed in the recipe.
The is only one thing about the app, this could be sensibly improved adding a weekly meal planning and groceries list which would be fantastic for my wife, or just allowing the user to download the selected recipe in a different format text (OMG) like mmf so to be imported on other meal planning apps...
Other improvement could be allowing people to create their own recipes.
Not sure if there is anything like this scheduled by Kenwood.
However, the kCook hardware is exceptional, have used it for 2-3 weeks every day and I can definitely recommend it to other people.
A Surprisingly Intelligent and Innovative Approach to Cooking
This is a very good product. My wife, who is an accomplished cook and I (not a bad cook either) have been using our Kenwood kCook Multi Smart Cooking Food Processor (Type CCL45 Model 450CLSI) regularly for about 3 weeks. We have used it often enough and across a diversity of recipes to now feel very comfortable with it and we have concluded that it’s an amazing addition to our kitchen. It connects to our home's WiFi network and we use it mainly in conjunction with the Kenwood World App.
Initially we were daunted by the number of components and it takes time to become familiar with the instructions and with the attachments, blades, cutters, and most importantly the seals. It is also necessary for users to have an Apple or Android device that is able to support the Kenwood World App and interface with the appliance. We had initial difficulty because our iPad which is only about 4-5 years old could not download the Kenwood World App as it needed to have iOS10.0 capability as an essential minimum and it could not be upgraded. We got around this problem by using our Samsung Android Smart Phone with no problem at all. Although we thought we would have preferred the convenience of the larger screen on the iPad in reality we found the Smart Phone was perfect.
At initial set up we also had some difficulty understanding the ‘Instructions’ with respect to passwords/PIN because we didn’t understand at first what is required – a PIN is required for the Kenwood World App and the WiFi password for the appliance to connect to the WiFi network – the Instructions should be made clearer, and in fact there is a need to improve them generally to make them more easily understood.
The Kenwood World App provides a vast array of recipes with a variety of dishes to suit almost everyone. It’s a really useful tool and we think great for novice cooks because the App walks the user through the cooking process step by step. There is a good lead in to each recipe with a preview describing ingredients, quantities, calories, cooking time, number of persons that the meal will cover etc, and this enables the user to get organized. Then as the next step and when the user is ready it takes the user through the cooking process step by step in real time using the Smart Phone or device as an interface. Just brilliant we thought.
We found is very easy to use the ‘Manual’ function. Experienced cooks will easily adapt favourite recipes and we also adapted slightly some of the recipes from the App to ‘tweak’ the result to produce a flavor we wanted, such as for example adding 1 minute extra cooking time to improve the risotto recipe.
The appliance is perfectly suited to casseroles, stews, curries, and anything that needs slow cooking and an occasional stir. But we also found it wonderful (and I don’t use that adjective carelessly) for cooking curds, rice puddings, risotto, chutneys and jams because they need to be continually stirred with a steady reliable heat control and the appliance does all of this automatically. We loved being able to control the stir mode and used the appliance in this way a number of times. We also found the ‘Keep Warm’ facility was very useful after we had prepared the main meal.
The Direct Prep processor attachment allows the user to chop, slice and grate ingredients and have them flow directly into the cooking bowl as we did several times, or you can semi rotate it to have them go into a separate bowl as for example when making salads.
The scales are fantastic! They operate independent of the machine but have Bluetooth connectivity to the user’s device (Smart Phone in our case) so that the readings are read off the Smart Phone. We also used them sometimes independently of the appliance for non cooking purposes.
Although we have used the ‘Steamer’ we probably will not use it very often unless it’s in conjunction with the normal cooking process as it sits on top of the cooking bowl. But for simple steaming I think the microwave will be quicker. A disadvantage is that the appliance is high with the steamer attachment. We calculated that with the steamer attached the appliance was about 55 cms high, and when it’s realized that most kitchen benches are 90 cms high this means that the top of the appliance is 145 cms approximately from floor level. For short people or people with arthritic hands this would be a problem particularly as the steamer can be very hot.
Note that the appliance must be positioned so there are no overhanging cupboards and it’s important to have clear bench space of at least 34 cms long x 30 cms deep to accommodate the base unit, and more length is necessary if prepping into an adjacent bowl. The steamer is bulky and storage might be an issue for some users.
I think this unit is ideal for younger tech savvy time poor people, and for those setting up home for the 1st time, or for people who are downsizing as it replaces a range of appliances and utensils such as food processor, blender, mixer, steamer, and slow cooker. We will continue to use it for some recipes but not for all so it will be integrated into our kitchen set up without being dominant. The base unit without the steamer is an attractive addition to our kitchen bench top.
The whole appliance appears to be of high build quality – it is engineered and designed in the UK, and manufactured in China – and Kenwood has included a number of good safety features which are explained in the Instructions booklet.
The Warranty period appears to be 5 years for normal domestic use.
In conclusion the appliance is an intelligent and innovative approach to cooking and will suit some people very well as explained above.
A genuine contender to Thermomix and a step up from anything I've ever used
Disclaimer: I’m a member of the Productreview.com.au Ambassador Program and did not purchase this item.
I'm not a great cook. I'll be the first to admit that. Sure I can do the simple stuff reasonably well, but I struggle to manage complex creations and lack the finesse needed to turn good into great. I've recently purchased a slow cooker and managed to produce some pretty tasty fare, but it still took some serious consultation with online recipes and a massive amount of messy prep. Enter the Kenwood kCook Multi Smart.
I was super excited to receive the kCook and spent some time eagerly unpacking the plethora of components, attachments and blades. The outside of the box does a great job of selling the benefits and I quickly had visions of creating an endless array of culinary masterpieces that would normally have been far beyond my meagre abilities. Slicing, dicing, steaming, stirring, kneading, sautéing or slow-cooking, the kCook does it all. Was the Kenwood kCook Multi Smart the answer to my prayers? The answer is yes and sadly, no.
Once I’d unpacked everything, I did the usual male thing and completely ignore the setup instructions. I was really eager to turn the appliance on and see why it needed Wi-Fi and what the app was used for. While the quick start instructions suggested the setup would be simple enough, the Wi-Fi wizard did not complete properly (despite doing everything correctly). I had to revert to the printed instructions to troubleshoot. This is where I discovered that the instructions were obviously an afterthought.
Poorly laid out and lacking y’know… words, it was a real chore to work out how I could reset the kCook to flush the Wi-Fi settings. As an example, the schematic diagram is a few pages in but the parts list (matched up the numbers on the diagrams) is another 3 or 4 pages onward. Why? Considering that the Kenwood World app is well crafted and the kCook has inbuilt Wi-Fi, the suite of technology definitely could have been used better to deliver an improved setup process. Eventually I got the Wi-Fi setup and turned my attention to the included parts.
The most obvious place to start was the scale. It’s very light, is only about 10cm in diameter and designed to sit underneath the kCook bowl. I actually thought it was a bit odd that the scales were not built into the kCook instead of being separate as they are. The scale requires Bluetooth to pair with a smart phone (and the Kenwood World app) and thankfully, it was much simpler than the Wi-Fi setup. In fact, the kCook is really only useful when paired with the app. I had read the app was a little challenging to setup, but thankfully I downloaded it from the App Store and I was up and running in minutes. I resisted the urge to browse the app any further and turned my attention to what else was in the box.
Now I have to say that the array of components included with the kCook is truly wonderful. There are tons of blades and attachments provided. My initial impressions were that the build quality of everything in the box was excellent and certainly representative of a $1500+ product. I spent some time reviewing each part to see what purpose It served (referring to the instructions) before I washed everything and got ready to test the unit in anger. As the kCook takes up substantial bench space, storing away bits and bobs that are not required was a real priority and I’m delighted to say that the steamer box does an outstanding job of storing them.
Enough fiddling about. I wanted to try the unit out with one of the built-in recipes, so I browsed the app and came across the Creamy Corn Soup recipe (see below). I like corn soup and it looked simple enough as a pilot run, so I went ahead. The Kenwood World app provides step-by-step guidance for each recipe, including any preparation work (e.g. slicing) before you start to cook. As previously mentioned, the app links to the Bluetooth scale, so you can measure ingredients straight into the bowl as prompted by the app.
Using the Direct Prep attachment, the kCook allows you to slice ingredients in a uniform fashion straight into the bowl. The bowl can either be attached directly to the kCook in it’s usual position, or the Direct Prep attachment can be swivelled 180 degrees so you can sit the bowl on the Bluetooth scale and weigh ingredients directly. Now while the Direct Pre worked well for the most part, occasionally it did fail to slice properly resulting in ingredients becoming stuck in the main chamber of the attachment, which resulted in a complete disassembly in order to reach the offending item. This was a real buzzkill when it happened.
I followed the recipie to the letter and was pleasantly surprised. I needed to add a little more seasoning than advised, but otherwise, I’d made a pretty tasty soup at my first attempt. The texture was smooth (not lumpy at all) and I’d been able to prep what I’d needed ahead of the actual cooking. So far so good.
Others have complained about the recipes being somewhat inflexible, but I was fine with experimenting as I went along. The fact that I could use the included recipes as a basis for what I was creating meant that I could concentrate on fine tuning. I found improvising with additional ingredients on the fly did not impact the quality of what I was producing and in fact seriously improved my cooking. For example, I added a touch of balsamic vinegar and parmesan to my focaccia and it made it outstanding.
I have made 5 recipes over the past few weeks:
Creamy Corn Soup
The first thing I made and honestly one of the tastiest. I was so impressed with the ability of the Direct Prep as it saved so much time and mess. I was also a huge fan of the way the app worked, guiding me along each step with a little tick to say I’d finished and could move on. There was a theme that presented itself in most recipes however, the lack of seasoning. I had to add a little more salt and pepper as the base recipe was bland.
Slow Cooked Beef Bourgeon
This was a recipe I adapted from one I’d previously attempted in a pressure cooker. I thought I’d give it the full slow-cook treatment this time. I was a little dismayed that I could only set the slow-cook timer to 8 hours, but I persevered by resetting the timer about 4 hours in to reach my 12 hour goal. It was during this recipe that I discovered that the kCook’s temperature control was super sensitive in manual mode (as this was not a Kenwood recipe). If I set the temperature at 93°C, it would very barely bubble (not even a simmer). Set it to 94°C however and it all went pear shaped with everything furiously boiling over. It was such a stark contrast between the two that I had to try it a few times to make sure I hadn’t messed up. I hadn’t. I simply couldn’t get the appliance to simmer rather than boil. I left it at 93°C for the bulk of the cooking time and hoped for the best. While the result was good, I didn’t think it was as good as other times I’d made it. It was certainly runnier, which I put down to the temperature being too low.
This one looked simple enough and who doesn’t like nuggets? This was crazy tasty and much healthier than the store bought ones. The addition of cream cheese made them irresistible. I paired them with a blue cheese dip and handed them out when we had some friends over for afternoon tea. They were a big hit.
I love carbs, so this was always going to be a winner. I modified the recipe slightly by including some exquisite balsamic vinegar I’d purchased and a shaving of parmesan to give it kick. After fiddling around with the mini blade for longer than I’d like (a dough hook would have been better) I ended up with a bread that we all enjoyed tearing apart and dipping into some fresh Tatziki. Yum!
Butter Bean Ragu with Crusty Panini
This was proper comfort food. Full of hearty vegetables I was able to whip it up in less than 30 minutes from beginning to end. I added a squeeze of lemon and a little more salt, but otherwise used the stock recipe. The Direct Prep jammed a few times during the process, but otherwise all went well.
The kCook is a valid competitor to the Thermomix. It offers a number of features not present on it’s more well known competitor and for me that gives it the edge. The Kenwood World application is well laid out and with the addition of more and more recipes, it will only get better over time. While it’s not perfect, I was able to produce some pretty good results with a minimum of experimentation, not having to deviate from the default recipe too often. I’m not sure that I’d pay over $1500 for an appliance of this sort, but it’s only because I don’t cook often enough to warrant it. It’s apparent that subsequent versions will be even better and that Kenwood have put a great deal of thought into the design and functionality. If you’re a half decent cook and want a machine that does it all, or would like to cook more often but like me you are a horrible cook, then this could be the kitchen appliance you’re looking for.
+ The Kenwood World app is super easy to use and provides access to loads of delicious recipes
+ Direct Prep of ingredients into the kCook Bowl saves time and produces great results (when it works properly)
+ The quality of the kCook Multi Smart appliance, the attachments and the Bluetooth scale is excellent
+ Easy to store considering it is a large appliance with many pieces
+ kCook integration with Wi-Fi allows for some innovative functionality including alerts to your smart phone
+ The number of cooking modes allows for a range of recipes to be prepared
- Somewhat inconsistent manual temperature controls make some cooking modes fiddly
- Ideally the Bluetooth scale should have been built into the unit instead of being seperate
- Direct Prep can fail to deliver consistent results and often jams requiring the assembly to be dismantled
- It is difficult to properly clean the underneath of the kCook Bowl
- The initial Wi-Fi setup was somewhat flaky and challenging to troubleshoot
- Slow cook timer needs a longer option than 8 hours
- The printed instructions are woeful
- The inclusion of a dough hook would produce better dough for bread and pizzas
Much easier to use than expected.
We have now used the Multi Smart kCook for around six weeks & have so far used it six times. First impressions were that it was dauntingly complex but not so, there are so many pieces but after the initial learning curve it is in fact very easy to use.
I would suspect that the technically challenged may find the smart phone integration somewhat perplexing as the app is pretty much essential, though the integration is absolutely fantastic. The recipes are many & varied, we have added around eight favourites. Some of the recipe terminology is unclear, things such as Pearl Onions (better known as Shallots in Australia, or Baby Onions), Orzo (Risoni) & All-purpose flour (Plain flour). Easily solved using Google.
Previous appliances of this type have been difficult to clean but not so with the kCook although for simple minimal chopping we did not use the slicer/chopper. This is of course optional. We have left reviews on most of the recipes though notice that few do!
The end results have all been excellent & we are total converts, the machine is well made & for what it can do has a small footprint & easy storage.
To date we have made Vegetable chips, Garlic sausage pasta sauce & Orzo, Far Breton, Chicken with ginger & Black Bean sauce & Simple beef stew (twice). Not having ever been a great cook this machine takes all of the variables out of the equation & every time has been a complete unmitigated success!
My only possible criticism is the Smart Phone Android application, it could do with some improvements or modification. Several times after simply looking at the app the annoying alarm starts & can’t be stopped only by turning the phone off. A minor criticism but as for the machine five stars!!!
Overall good design and concept
Use this product for about 4 weeks now and the first impression is good. In an overall good quality product for good price tag. But considering the so many features to cover I think better to be more specific.
Looks nice, compact and sturdy built. Comes in proper packaging. Initial setup is bit difficult and user guide needs little bit more details. Especially around setting up the application and doing the initial setup.
Built quality of the product
Sturdy built. Lots of quality attachments to cover most of the functionalities we expect from such an appliance. Heavy means when you operate, it makes less vibration. There are many attachments comes with this and I would like to see some compact solution to store those things when not in use(compared to the current design). Safety of the user has been considered and addressed in many areas.
Features and Usage
It has everything you need to prepare a meal. Digital scale and synchronize with the mobile app is amazing. Easy to operate. Easy to clean.
Ability to synchronize with the mobile app gives you lots of advantages. Can operate and also see the progress on it using the mobile app. But if you walk away from your home mobile area and disconnect from the home network then cooker pause the operation. Variety of recipes in the application and gives step by step instructions combined with the scale so you can easily folllow it. I would like to see the features in the mobile application allows us to add our own recepies. Concept wise this is good. But I feel like there are lots of ways to improve this.
Initial setup of application and linking is a bit of hassle. But ones set up, the operation is very smooth.
Is it worth?
Yes for a person whos going to use these functions regular basis. The application is good for anybody enjoying of using the latest technology. But may not be attractive for the people who not that much into technology.
Quality compact built
Lots of features
Mobile App with lots of recipes and guided cooking instructions
Cooking makes easy and enjoyable
Lack of information in the user guide
A little bit hard to do the initial setup
Mobile application need bit more features and upgrades
May not be suitable for people not into technology
Definitely Smart but Not Brilliant
Having seen a Thermomix in action and with my new-found interest in home cooked Vs takeaway meals, I was eager to put the kCook Multi Smart to the test. My go-to appliance these days has been a new-age pressure cooker, but as far as home appliances go the kCMS would appear to be a game changer; combining a thermal cooker with a steamer and food processor along with blue tooth integrated scales.
If that’s wasn’t enough the kCMS connects with a Kenwood App that allows you to turn your smartphone or device into a handheld remote control. The App provides instant access to recipes as well as step by step cooking instructions complete with notification alerts at the end of each step.
For the time-poor and not so culinary skilled, the kCMS promises to make home cooked meals easier to make and quicker to prepare.
The Full Box of Tricks but Short on Instructions
The kCMS comes complete with an overwhelming assortment of bits and pieces. On the plus side, the steamer box provides the means to keep and store them all together and the zip satchel is perfect for the safe keeping of the cutting discs. All appear to be of a quality you would expect from the Kenwood brand, however working out how to put them together and how to put them to use is another matter.
For such a sophisticated product the manual is basic beyond belief and despite the fact Kenwood has used internet technology to make this appliance operate they have completely failed to use this platform to deliver the knowledge and information needed to do so successfully. Neither the Kenwood App or their website provides the comprehensive instructional advice or product demonstrations needed. Even after using this appliance at least 12 times over 4 weeks I am nowhere near confident in any way.
A Recipe for Disaster
A kitchen appliance that provides step by step visual instructions to execute a recipe is pure genius. However, of the 8 recipes I tried (from sauces to cakes and complete meals) I could not recommend even one. In every case I was forced to add additional ingredients and change the cooking time or the end result would have been destined for the bin.
I was seriously impressed to discover Kenwood has joined forces with Marley Spoon to provide consumers with fresh ingredients, easy to follow recipes and step by step cooking instructions. However, the link to Marley Spoon is poorly designed and doesn’t offer the opportunity to ‘try’. Before I knew it, I had ordered a week of meals and still don’t know if the cooking instructions for these are included on the Kenwood App.
The Direct Prep attachment used to prepare vegetables was great in theory but terrible in practice. Whatever I diced or sliced would fail to exit the spout and I would have to dismantle the attachment and use a spoon or knife to manually retrieve the contents and add them to the cooking bowl.
Worse still, on one occasion the unit itself overheated when I was simply blending a few ingredients. I was forced to sit and wait 30min before the appliance would work gain which did little to impress my hungry guests.
While none of the recipes or cooking instructions Kenwood provided lived up to expectations, the appliance has proved to be of great help in preparing some of my favourite meals. However, this would not be enough to justify its cost.
Kenwood kCook Multi Smart CCL450SI
This device arrived on my door step around 3 weeks ago and I have to confess I had anticipated that this would be ample time to give this device a thorough workout, how wrong I was!
This is a beast of a device, with more features, modes, and functions than you can shake a Swiss army knife at. The box was large and heavy which suggested a quality product was contained within. My quips about this being an early Christmas present for my wife barely put a dent in her excitement she ripped open the box and removed countless high quality attachments and devices.
Our mutual enthusiasm soon disapated though when we started to read the assembly instructions. We both love our gadgets but the manual for this device seemed a little basic (think Lego meets Ikea) which made the assembly process harder than it need have been. Married couples should think twice before attempting to assemble this device together but once completed everything became much easier.
The irony of our assembly woes was something of a paradox as the whole concept of this smart cooking device is simplicity. This device weighs, chops, stirs, steams, cooks, bakes whilst holding your hand every step of the way!
Once you have assembled the main device the next step is to download the Kenwood App and connect to the device (wirelessly) thereby enabling the entire cooking process to be controlled and simplified via your phone.
This is when the device starts to come into it’s own, it really is a smart multi cooker. The first step is to select a menu from the countless recipes in the App, expected information such as ingredients and total cooking time are all clearly displayed but what was really nice was the ability to see not only what certain ingredients can be swapped for (if you don’t have everything in your fridge) but also all the recipe quantities are recalculated if you don’t have enough of a particular ingredient, genius!
Once you’ve found a recipe you like and have the ingredients for the next step is simply to start cooking which initiates a step by step guide of the entire end to end process, from menu to plate so to speak. This includes which attachments to use (e.g. different blades for different types of chopping), weighing each ingredient, and settings for cooking times and temperatures. All the user has to do is click each step as it is completed and physically move ingredients around change attachments and the app controls the rest!
The recipes we tried turned out better than expected and where delicious!
The more I use this device the more I love what it is trying to do, something that I’ve never seen before in a kitchen device. The device isn’t as attractive as our red Kitchen Aid appliances but it’s build quality appears to be just as good and it’s significantly smarter! I’d like to have seen some kind of inbuilt scales to cut out the extra step / seperate weighing device and some kind of Alexa integration would have been nice.
These are more "nice to haves” than “major issues” though and overall I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this product.
+ Excellent build quality
+ Smart customisable recipes
+ Versatile cooking modes
+ Integrated chopper and automated stirrer
+ Brilliant concept / App
- Over Complex Assembly Instructions
- Weighing scales could have been integrated
- No Alexa
Amazing Cooking Machine
I’ve had the kCook for a few weeks now and have had a chance to cook various different things to test it out. I am a busy mother of two and I work a few days a week. Afternoons often involve dropping kids to activities so I don’t often have time to cook from scratch during the week.
About the kCook
It is much like a Thermomix with a couple of important differences – it comes with an additional direct prep attachment which chops and adds ingredients directly to the bowl or you can turn it to chop salads etc into a separate bowl. It also has a separate scale which I haven’t used yet as I am in the habit of using my own scales. It also come with a steamer attachment which I haven’t tried yet. Unlike the Thermomix it can be controlled via an app. As far as I know the Thermomix has different recipe chips which you insert into the machine. It has numerous different blades and mixing attachments. The cooking time, temp and mixing speed can be set automatically or manually. The adjustments can easily be made during cooking. The cooking process automatically stops when the lid is removed.
My impression is that it is fantastic for things such as risottos, soups, sauces and custard where a lot of prep and stirring is involved. So, for me I assume I would use it more in winter when those types of foods are most popular. Even though I haven’t tried if for those purposes, I think it would also be excellent for preparing sauces (I’d like to try the thick teriyaki sauce and the mayonnaise). It would also be great for preparing fresh baby food for as it can be very easily pureed to your preferred consistency. I’d also like to try it for making dips for parties. The direct prep attachment would also be great for making fresh salads where a lot of slicing is involved, for example making coleslaw.
Here is my review of the various things I cooked so far.
Amazing I have to say! I actually never cook risotto but saw the recipe there and decided to give it a go. I used the recipe from the app. It was very straightforward and easy to make. There is still a bit of prep involved but I actually managed to cook this on a week night when I usually wouldn’t have time due to the fact that the machine does the endless stirring required so I can do other things in the kitchen while it is cooking. I cooked this in automatic mode. The kCook will chop the onions (must be quartered first or the quick prep attachment will get jammed), then heat the oil, fry the onions, lightly cook the rice, before adding chicken and other ingredients. When you get to each cook stage in the app, you click the tick button and the machine automatically chooses the right cooking time, speed and temp. The risotto was perfect, without any adjustment to the recipe.
Amazing Again! The recipe cooked on auto mode, as is, and was perfect. No adjustment needed. Again, the quick prep attachment chops ingredients, fries onion etc and then cooks other ingredients, stopping to tell you what to add along the way, and then purees the soup to a perfect, not too smooth, consistency.
This is an example of a great machine trying to be everything to everyone I think. There is no dough hook. I have experience making bread and pizza bases and this didn’t make sense to me. The bread looked like it does in the photo but it really needed a lot of adjustment, I kneaded by hand and left for a while longer to let it rise. Personally, I’ll go back to my old method of using the mixer with the dough hook.
Chocolate Cream (custard)
I wrecked this up a bit and had to puree it really fast at the end to remove egg lumps. I did one step then the next step was supposed to have been done at the same time. So I ended up adding egg yolk when the heat was on which made it lumpy. I think it needs to be clearer in the app when the steps need to be done concurrently, as often happens in cooking.
I felt confident enough to go “freestyle” last night. I chopped onions with the direct prep attachment, cooked those on high heat in oil, then browned the mince, then added in taco seasoning and water and turned the temp and stirring speed down and let it cook. I didn’t have to stand over it stirring as I usually would, and managed to clean the kitchen while it was cooking. My only big mistake was to use the chopping tool instead of the stirring tool. I had to tip everything out and change tools. But I’ll know better next time. I’ll also try the same method to do Bolognese sauce.
Being a slow cooker person, I’d have been happy to do this in slow cooker mode but there was no recipe (there are no slow cooker recipes at all despite there being a slow cooker attachment). The recipe made the meat tough, I had to adjust it quite a bit. I turned the temp down and cooked for much longer than recommended. The set temp even though it was less than 100 degrees, made the water boil frantically which is not good for tenderising meat. It was OK but nothing special.
It took me a while to work out how to use it but when used correctly it is amazing. You start by searching for a recipe. The recipes are easily searchable via ingredient type (mushroom) or food type (soup). On auto mode it takes you through a step by step process of prepping and cooking. It lets you know which ingredients you need, suggests substitutions can be made, and every recipe is adjustable for the number of servings you need. For me I had a certain weight in mushrooms so I was able to adjust the number of serves to suit. At each cooking part of the recipe, you just click on the tick button and the machine automatically starts at the correct time, temp and speed. Then it sends a little chiming sound to your phone/iPad to let you know that you need to come and do the next part of the recipe – don’t leave it too long if it has just been cooking as there is danger of food sticking if you don’t get to it quickly enough.
Some improvements which could be made to the app:
• Recipes sometimes need concurrent actions like one box under another to show they are both done at the same time. For example: add eggwhites while whisking or melt chocolate in the microwave while the kCook performs another task.
• Recipes have a review option which is great but most reviews are in French and can’t be translated. I couldn’t even copy and paste into Google Translate
• Needs more explicit tips for beginners. I think this could just be in the form of a “Tips and Tricks” section for each recipe. For example, how to melt chocolate in microwave, which one recipe required. If my husband used this (he is keen to try it out and is not an experienced cook), he would have been unable to do this without going to the internet for information.
• Needs a “Recent Recipes” option. On numerous occasions I’ve had to exit the recipe to look up things (how to set up the direct prep, how to do other actions). After exiting the recipe I’ve had to start the recipe search over again and start from scratch.
• Favourite Recipes section needs to be searchable. I’ve saved numerous recipes that look interesting. But for example, if I want to cook the mushroom soup I’ve cooked before I have to look it up in the search function again as the Favourites section can’t be searched.
• Recipe previews need temperatures. The preview is great as you then know the steps involved before you start. But if you are not using auto mode, or cooking two things at once, it is a pest to have to scroll through the entire recipe to see cooking temps.
• No slow cooker recipes – I am a keen slow cooker user. I was interested in trying this function as it comes with a slow cooker attachment.
Overall the quality of the machine is excellent. A cog which was criticised for being plastic in the previously model is now made from metal. It is good to see Kenwood listening to consumer feedback with regards to this. The kCook is quite bulky but I’ve managed to find a spot for it on my benchtop. I’m yet to work out my storage space in my small kitchen, but this would definitely replace some times so I could move things around to accommodate the extra items in my cupboard.
There is a storage box which fits in with the steamer attachment. I am yet to work out where the sharp chopping blades go. The Direct Prep ones have their own zip up pouch but for the ones that are used in the bowl, I can’t see any obvious spot to safely store them.
Cleaning is easy, though I’ve not been game enough to put items in the dishwasher. I’ll have to take a look in the instructions to see what is dishwasher proof. The cooking bowl is smooth inside and the attachments fully removable so it is just like washing up a normal pot. A couple of times some food has stuck to the bottom. It is not non-stick so it is easily removed with a scourer.
I can understand the attraction of buying this type of machine from a home type distributor, in the way the Thermomix is sold. It is an extremely useful kitchen tool but I think that if I had someone in my home going through everything with me it would have been much easier to use. It is so complex and sometimes it much easier to see someone do things in person rather than trying to read things and work it out for yourself. It would be so useful to see someone who regularly uses it, prepare a family meal that utilises all of the options like the Direct Prep attachment, the scales and the steamer. I think that this issue could be solved by having loads of videos on YouTube.
Another issue is that unlike Thermomix which is very popular, the newer kCook does not have the cult like following so there are not endless tips, tricks and recipes online. For example, I’d like to cook mashed potato and I will need to use a Thermomix recipe as there are very limited online resources for the kCook. I’m sure as time goes by this will improve. I have joined one Facebook group but it is not specific to this machine (kCook, not kCook Multi) and there are virtually no recipes. There is a representative from Kenwood in the group and he is very handy as he will answer questions.
For me it has become a very useful, timesaving cooking tool. I will definitely continue to use it and I’ll continue to endeavour to use the kCook’s many features.
Smart Tech Food Processing & Cooker - Versatile All-In-One package
Let me start by saying for the 1st time in my life I cooked the perfect risotto – hats off to you KMS (kCook Multi Smart)!
I generally like to follow recipes so overall the KMS was a good fit for me, performed well, resulting in quick to cook tasty meals and desserts which would normally take much longer, create a mountain of dirty pots, utensils and a kitchen to clean. KMS would also be a great cooking tool and appeal to younger generations. The area of improvement could be on the tech smart and app component.
One recommendation before KMS setup & first use is to check out the short videos in the Support section of the Kenwood World app (didn’t discover until later but these answered most of my initial questions).
- Menu button (top left), Support button, select kCook Multi Smart, How To videos
- Also select the 'Getting more from the app' button at the bottom of the How To videos page, Getting Started videos
Design & Build 8/10:
- Solid and sturdy
- The KMS, Direct Prep attachment & Smart Scales look good in my older kitchen
- Components fit well together
- Recessed handles to carry
- Blades have a safe design and secure in a zip closed bag
- Large bowl easily accommodates meals for more than 4 people.
- Compact footprint for bench and storage - 34cm w x 27cm d for KMS.
- Allow total 54cm w x 47cm d with the Direct Prep attachment on as it needs to swivel, which is reasonable for what it does and the amount of food it can cook.
- WiFi – to save you time, KMS only works on 2.4Ghz band & WPA2 with maximum 128bit password. I had to change my WiFi (and all other devices in house) from using 5Ghz with 256bit password. Took me an hour to figure this out and another hour to change all devices in house. Some newer routers though have 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz operating together, mine requires you to use one or the other.
- Smart Scale via Bluetooth – heavenly at only 10 seconds !!!
- Direct Prep attachment (food processor) – took me a while and was worried I might break it but then discovered the videos in the app which makes it super easy to assemble.
Cooking with KMS, Direct Prep & Kenwood World App 9/10:
- This is the fun part ! Do your Recipe Scaling and Ingredient Substitution, get the listed Tools ready, select the Make This Recipe button and start the journey to yum yum yum. You even get pictures or short videos you can select in most steps which is extremely useful.
- Expect the first couple of cooks to take a little longer while you get yourself familiar with using it and the functions – then it’s pretty easy to use
- Temperature allows for stir-fry cooking and the ones I tried turned out pretty well.
- Recipe scaling is available for most recipes - great feature to auto-adjust ingredients based on how many servings you want to cook.
- Ingredient substitution is a good feature, although the IOS app crashes for me the first time I click on a substitution in a recipe, but then works after that.
- Tools required for the recipe are listed for easy preparation.
- Step Preview gives you an overview of the steps required.
- The Make This Recipe button steps are so good ! You get a graphical step-by-step process that you tick off as you go or it auto ticks off as you scale your ingredients.
- Preparation steps of ingredients and weighing on the Smart Scale shows in the Kenwood World app.
- Attachment fitting steps are next for the required Direct Prep blade and bowl mixers.
- Then it steps into the Ingredient adding, slicing, grating, etc. It’s great the Direct Prep device pumps the ingredients straight into the bowl, although it also works into a separate bowl. I use the lid (has an opening for ingredients) when using the Direct Prep attachment to slice – it’s pretty powerful and I noticed some smaller ingredients can fly right over the bowl without the lid on.
- Cooking steps give you temperature, time and speed which the Kenwood World app can auto-start or you can manually set it on the KMS screen. For some recipes I added additional ingredients or spices to suit my taste and adjusted the cooking time to compensate, which was super easy with the manual setting.
- The lid is see-through so if you feel it needs a little extra time, you can easily adjust the time without losing heat removing the lid.
- Steaming trays were used with fish and vegetables and gave excellent results.
- Pre-set cooking options are available for Main Meal, Sause, Steam, Soup, Stir Fry and Dessert although I haven’t tried these yet.
- Pretty easy to clean bowl and attachments by hand AND it’s dishwasher safe.
Kenwood World App (on an iPhone) 7/10:
- Good design but had issues with the account creation – 2 hours after using it I was logged out and couldn’t logon again, discovering my account no longer existed. I had to recreate the account again and has worked fine since then. I also couldn’t use this account to logon at the Kenwood World website on a PC.
- Edit your Profile to add a picture and comments.
- Reasonable selection that will hopefully grow as the community grows. Currently about 400 recipes which includes meals, sides, desserts, sauces, soups, drinks, cakes, biscuits, breads. Also includes vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, healthy and dairy free recipes.
- A good range of easy to more complex recipes and timeframes, including a number with 8 ingredient or less for a quick meal.
- Save recipes to your Favourites to easily access later.
- Send recipes to another app or email.
- Calories per serve shown in each recipe
- Give star ratings, write and read reviews (although currently many are in French!), ask and answer questions (again, French!).
Suggested Improvements / Features:
- The Smart tech setup needs to be more seamless, as it’s a key feature
- WiFi – allow 5Ghz band and 256bit passwords
- Recipe Sort – would be great to add search sorting on things like – number of reviews, star ratings, A-Z / Z-A, time to cook. It can be a bit cumbersome trying to search through recipes.
- Reviews / Discuss Translation – if the app is for global use, it would be great to have either a built-in translator or the ability to copy the comments so they can be pasted into a translator site / app
- Recipes – addition of more recipes, especially more Asian based and healthy meals
- Ingredient naming – had some non-Australian naming of ingredients and had to search to find what I need to buy in Australia
- Additional Ingredients – would be a nice ability to add additional ingredients to a recipe and have the app auto-adjust the recipe / steps
- Utensils – add a long scoop or spoon as the bowl is very deep and getting some meals out with the included spatula can be difficult
Not bad but still searching for the perfect recipe for it...
I have been using the kcooker for the last 2 weeks and this is my experience.
Before using, one has to set up both the device and the scales and pair them to your mobile. To do this, one needs to download the Kenwood World app which is straight forward. The scales connect to your mobile using bluetooth and set-up for this was easy and straight forward. The cooker connects to your mobile using wifi. I spent 30min trying to connect but kept getting "Connection Error E:34" showing up. I gave up and passed it onto my husband. Eventually he solved the problem by connecting to a different broadband connection (we have 2 at home), so still not sure why it wouldn't initially connect. Anyway we were now ready to cook!
Initially there seemed to be only a handful of recipes listed on the app when I first looked but when I later checked on 9/9/18 suddenly the list has grown! The problem though, is the recipes seem to be randomly listed so you need to scroll through them all to find what you want to cook. It would be better if the recipes could be arranged eg. Dessert, Savory, Drinks etc... to make it easier to look through.
I started making the coffee and vanilla granita. The app tells you step by step what to do. I get to the step where it says "Let cool in fridge". So now I want to switch recipes to make something else and the app tells me "you will lose your progress and any timers that are currently running will be cancelled" if you exit! There should be some way of leaving a recipe still "open" with some sort of "bookmark" without exiting it entirely.
I then started making the Bolognaise Ragu in the meantime. I like how the scales are intergrated into the recipe and you are able to see weights/measurements on your phone. It was a novel experience to see that the heating/cooking phases can be directly controlled from your mobile! Whilst the recipe claimed this could be made in 1hr, it took us 2hrs, mostly because we were not as yet familiar with each component and spent time trying to work out what bits we needed. There is sometimes an "i" (information) icon on some steps and this sometimes includes a short video to see how to fit the attachment which is handy. Not sure if it was our internet connection but we found the video would freeze up frequently so again this added to our overall time.
In the meantime there were little things that we didn't notice eg. the pusher that is meant to push the vegies into the shute is transparent and has no lid at the top (so it can double up and also be used as a cup) however when it's in the shute you can't see it clearly so for ages we kept looking for the pusher thinking it was missing from the box when it wasn't. Then I tried using a pusher from another food processor we had and then found the vegetable would get stuck and not go through. It was only then that we discovered the pusher already sitting within the shute...! Just a note for others!
The kcooker integrates a food processor arm to the device and you're able to add in vegetables that get directly sliced right into the cooker. You only need to switch blades for the function you want. For the Ragu we added the onion and celery which got automatically sliced and added to the kcooker bowl but for the carrot we had to peel and cube by hand! There doesn't seem to be a blade that can make cubes, only slices it seems.
When the "Ragu" finished cooking, the kcooker will play a brief tune to alert you it's finished, which keeps playing until you reach your mobile to tick the step and then it stops. I was unfortunately a little disappointed with the end result despite having followed the recipe exactly. I had added beef mince that had just been bought from the store hence was already soft, but found the mixing wasn't too good as there were still some chunks that hadn't broken up properly during the stirring process. The sauce was also quite dry and looked more like spaghetti bolognaise - far from being a rich saucy "ragu". The taste was also quite bland and lacking in herbs and spices. We ended up adding some mixed herbs and 2 more cans of diced tomatos to try and revive the sauce. Overall I can't say I was too impressed with the outcome given it was such a simple recipe.
Coming back to the coffee granita. We again clicked through the steps until we reached where we left off. It said to blend the ice for 30 seconds. This proved far too long and most of the ice simply melted with the coffee frothing up like a big babycino... I'm not sure whether one can amend the time taken to blend as I didn't try this at the time. The end result looked nothing like the picture in the app and unfortunately the taste also wasn't that impressive, although to be fair I am not a big coffee drinker whilst my husband is and he found it "not bad".
The next recipe we tried making was the lemon yoghurt cake. This went all quite smoothly. The only thing I found was because you are mixing everything in the kcook bowl it is very heavy to then have to pour it into the cake tin, especially when the batter is quite thick. For this reason I would've preferred just mixing in an external bowl. The cake didn't seem to rise much but it may be I used a larger than average bundt cake tin. The density was moist and dense which was overall not too bad but nothing spectacular.
The last recipe I tried to make was the tart tatin. This involved making the caramel in the kcooker which I'm not sure is a good idea without human oversight as by the time it finished heating up, the caramel was quickly setting and sticking to the bowl. Such delicate cooking still needs to be done by hand with human oversight to judge when it is ready. Again the recipe stated it would take 35 minutes to make - it took me 1hr 15 (including cook time). The overall result was actually surprisingly good since everyone had seconds!
One of the things I found useful with the kcooker is that you end up using less bowls than traditionally when you might end up with a number of bowls holding various prepared ingredients. The recipe tells you when to measure out something then either it's added to the kcooker or other ingredients can be directly added, so you end up only using the 1 bowl to add ingredients which saves on washing up.
Overall there are both good and not so good points with the kcooker. It is designed for people with smart phones who want to control all aspects of cooking from their mobile phone - this is a unique novelty of the kcooker. Once you get familiar with the set up, as with anything, it should become faster to make recipes and this should make it more convenient as it removes the human element of constantly overlooking stirring/cooking etc. Having said that there are some recipes that I feel will still require human overview such as making caramel which is a delicate process. The recipe steps are kept simple and straightforward which is good but also misses some finer details eg. "preheat 200 degrees" - it doesn't specify if this is fan forced or not which I noticed occurred with several recipes and most people these days would have an oven with fan forced function as standard. The kcooker does a good job of heating evenly though for more bulky ingredients such as mince meat the stirring component wasn't as good as it could be. The kcooker bowl and handles do not get overly hot during the heating process so is quite safe to handle. The bowl itself is quite solid and heavy so for every day use (pouring, cleaning etc) it can become a bit of a strain to handle. So far I have only used the recipes on the kenwood world app which I notice seems to be growing every day. So for now you are limited to what appears there as it wouldn't be easy to translate other recipes to adapt to the kcooker - unless you become an expert on all the functions the kcooker has to offer.
Upon writing this review I declare that I was given the kcooker as a free product to test at home. When it first arrived 2 weeks ago I was quite excited at what such a sophisticated machine was capable of but after trialling 4 recipes I'm not completely "wowed" by the end results. If you like new gadgets that can cook remotely from your mobile (although some will still need conventional cooking in the oven) this may be for you but if you care about the end result it might be best sticking to the traditional way of cooking with human oversight. Nevertheless I will still keep trying out new recipes and hopefully find one that will amaze me.
Lucy Van P
KENWOOD Multi Smart KCOOK - NOT SO SMART AT ALL
NOT SO SMART AT ALL - DECEPTIVE CLAIMS
From the onset I wondered at the inordinate amount of “bells and whistles” accompanying this appliance asking why? If the machine does all it claims and unless the attachments are directly associated with the implementation of it of it what is the point? It should stand alone without “filler” of supplementary stuff. The expense should must go into perfecting of the appliance’s primary use and the integrity and workmanship of it being solid and standing the test of time, even exceeding expectation considering the price.
I was really unimpressed to find I was correct in assuming the phone image on the box would mean INCONVENIENCE. It is more of an annoyance and of course intrusion of privacy. We are NOT ALL attached at the hip to devices. Some find the transition from work to home welcome respite! If its too hard to switch off for some they can always FIND some reason to be connected, ie ancillary stuff. It should NOT BE a mandatory part of process of cooking to be fumbling and sliding through a phone or tablet we are all assumed to own while dealing with any APPLIANCE. Yet on searching some kind of recipe booklet, rightfully to be expected, I find sans.
In trying to find some kind of quick start I realise we must first “connect” with an app??? Why this ASSUMPTION we are all constantly plugged in? Also what about that ever- present possibility of a glitch!? THIS TECH SIDE VERY INTRUSIVE. Whether in the middle of trying to get dinner on the table or a dinner party organised. Even an ABRIDGED recipe manual is better than nothing to at least try it out. Make the tech side of it OPTIONAL.
The appeal at best is for a young working couple who need to know their phones can always be a part of the process ie posting pictures as they go, (like my hairdresser daughter in law) but they had better not be intending to rely on it for any REAL entertaining. Kenwood trying to get on some tech bandwagon is only risking credibility and adding huge room for frustration to the user who trusted them in their merited field of small appliance. Whether for kitchen or office, LEAVE IT THERE until it is Kenwoods own line of expertise.
So without any recipe I decide to try it with a slow cooked lamb and vegetables (for four). On placing the ingredients out it was actually comical to see how dwarfed this thing looked, like a toy in even my modest kitchen! I would still have had to do an extra tray in the oven, and it claims meals for eight! I abandoned the project in disgust.
I was actually thrilled at first at this possibility of the capability to bake only to be further disappointed when discovering it was only a mixing function. Two appliances I truly value in the kitchen (apart from a toaster and jug) is a breadmaker and a juicer, both of which can only PARTIALLY implemented with this, and so the ambiguity these two processes is quite deceiving, ie makes “cold drinks” and “fruit smoothies” but forget about substantial juice extracting or set and forget bread MAKING.
So really notwithstanding the food processing which can be done at a fraction of the price on another appliance. The intended inference of this as an all- in- one only lead, understandably, to unrealistic expectation.
BOTTOM LINE: The claim of versatility is way more speak than do- more stir than create. Its a glorified mixer and chopper, wayyyyyyyyyyyy more trouble than it is worth. Stick to the TOASTERS AND JUGS and maybe ham radios. Perhaps if they threw the “smartphone” in it MIGHT justify the price!
A machine with promise - but lacking in focus
This machine shows some promise. It's very sturdy, well made from quality parts (as you'd expect with a machine that's (a) from Kambrook and (b) costs this much), it has a promising start of recipes to get you going, and it does what it says on the box. But there's plenty wrong with it too, and I'd honestly struggle to justify spending that kind of money on what's really just a glorified food processor, minus several ounces of glory. It's complicated, messy, has some annoying quirks, and (I'm being materialistic now) looks kind of plain in the face of competing offerings. I think it would hit the mark if it were either half the current RRP, or drop-dead gorgeous, *dead simple* to use and completely idiot-proof, but maybe this time it's just found its way into the hands of a better idiot... Read on for the full review.
The Kenwood kCook Multi Smart is a food processor (with various mixer, blender, and whisk attachments) with a heating element that can control temperatures from 30-180 degrees C. All blender/heating functions can be controlled via an app or manually on the machine. In addition, it features a wireless set of scales which requires linking to the app to use (accurate to +/- 1g), a generous steaming basket and the "Direct Prep" tool - a slicer/grater attachment that runs independently to the main motor, and is not controlled or linked to the app.
My opinion: So much to say! This product is basically a food processor with a heating element. Everything else feature-wise either helps or hinders those two features. I've been to a Thermomix sales pitch and was impressed - but not nearly enough to fork out well over $2k. In fact I decided I would never spend that much on any small kitchen appliance. Unfortunately, at a slightly less eye-watering $1700 (RRP), this product has not changed my mind.
- Quality construction and materials. For the most part it feels really solid (see exceptions below)
- Sharp blades all around
- Strong motor, doesn't have a problem pulverising frozen stuff of all kinds
- Scales seem accurate and responsive
- Handy storage container for (most of) the bits - see below
- Accurate temperature holding between 30-180 deg C, down to +/- 1 deg C (could be good for short sous vide cooking, but only holds temperature up to 8 hrs max).
- Solid Wifi connection, fairly easy to set up
- Hefty - won't move around when mixing at high speed
- Larger bowl than a lot of competing products
- Direct Prep slicer attachment is extremely fiddly to attach and maintain in the right position without it falling apart or spreading food where it's not meant to go (see comments below)
- Direct Prep lid seems to catch a lot of stuff that should end up in the bowl. There's one spot near the chute that catches bits really well.
- Minor safety issue: Direct Prep motor still operates while the coupling is exposed, although it's probably fairly harmless - you can't add blades without locking it all together.
- Far too many bits and pieces - there are dozens of bits to this machine. While it's relatively easy to store them, it's a pain to clean and organise all the bits. I actually feel like I'm able to make less mess with fewer "bits" cooking with pots, pans, a knife and chopping board.
- Storage container doesn't have room for the main mixer blades. In fact there's nowhere to store them - one can go in the bowl when not in use, but there are two of them
- Quirky app (Android) - I've found a few annoying bugs and features that really keep an otherwise nice-looking app from really working well. It doesn't, for example, handle power failure on the machine, nor does it handle recovery after it's forceably closed by Android (eg. due to low memory), which is something all good apps need to handle.
- There's no "off" button on the wireless scales! I'm hoping the (non-rechargeable, supplied) batteries last, but I have no idea when it's on using power and when it's off. It seems to sleep on its own schedule.
- Many recipes have too many steps. So you've chopped half a dozen different vegetables? You have to click through 6 "steps" to say you've added them all to the bowl. There needs to be a "rapid recipes" option to fasttrack things like this. It's good the first time but quickly gets tiresome.
- Minor gripe: a lot of marketing materials say "over 400 recipes!" - Yet the app only shows 396 - this is a good start, but you are going to need a whole lot more to keep people interested. Recipes are a little fiddly to search. Would be nice to be able to search for all recipes that have given ingredients (eg. If I have a lot of chicken and carrots that I have to use, what can I cook with them?)
- Recipes are inflexible. In many cases it locks future steps until you've cooked or blended it just as the recipe says. Too bad if you decide to cook it or blend it using a different appliance for one of the steps, you have to do it anyway if you want to proceed.
- Machine keypress beeps can't be (*bleepity-bleep*) turned off permanently!!! You can only turn it off by holding a particular button each time you turn it on.
- All blade attachments for the main bowl are made of either all plastic or plastic and metal. The part of the blade that fits over the rotor is, in all cases, plastic. It's tough plastic, to be sure, but to me this is just a broken attachment waiting to happen
- There's no option (on Android) to change the "your cooking/mixing step is complete" alarm. It's loud and obnoxious.
- If things start frothing up while cooking, there's no easy way to "lift the lid" while continuing cooking. If you remove the lid, the cooking timer, heating element and mixer all stop and don't proceed until the lid is reattached.
- The quick "Meal Programme" buttons are almost completely useless, unless you want to keep laminated copies of pages from the manual around: Want to make a casserole? Step 1: "Add Ingredients 1". Yep, that's it. You have to look in the manual to find out what "Ingredients 1" means - it could be meat, veggies or a splash of oil. There's no app assistance with this mode, which would REALLY help a lot.
The product was packaged about as well as you’d expect an average kitchen appliance to be packaged – your regular cardboard and polystyrene job. The “Direct Prep” slicer blades do come in a handy zip-up pouch, to help stop them rolling around in your drawer, but it was an odd omission that there's nowhere really to store the sharp main bowl blades.
Initial impressions are, well, overwhelming. Yes, it looks like a very versatile appliance, but it seems like a fairly steep learning curve to really get the most out of it. The manual is replete with tables showing recommended chopping, whisking, kneading and beating speeds, and simmering, sautéing and searing temperatures for almost anything you might like to cook. But it's no good having pages and pages of tables in the manual, you don't want to whip it out every time you make something.
Thankfully you don't need any of that if you're using a prepared recipe from the kCook World app, but manual mode and the kCook app are mutually exclusive - you can't use one while you're using the other, and the app doesn't give you help unless you're using one of its recipes (the exception to this is the scales - you can use them at any time).
The physical design is, in my opinion, fairly dated. It really doesn’t look too different to my mother’s food processor from 30 years ago. Worse, it’s destined to be compared to the sleek lines, colourful lights and high resolution touch display on its more expensive rival. Pulling it out of the box I can’t help but think that this thing had better be REALLY good or it’s simply not going to stand up to the competition.
What's the easiest thing I can make? Aha! Boiled eggs. Can't possibly go wrong. I eschewed my mother's wisdom of poking a hole in the fat ends of the eggs to relieve pressure, hoping that following the recipe to the letter would assist in a good assessment of this machine's capabilities. The water boiled quickly and I was instructed to add the eggs (cold, I store mine in the fridge). Well, it's not rocket science, but within seconds the eggs had cracked and within a minute (while I was briefly turned away) there was hot steam and eggy froth bubbling out of the top of the machine and down the sides. Removing the lid cap did nothing to stem the tide, and I eventually stopped the programme. Fail - but admittedly one I could have avoided. However I would soon find out that there are a few recipes like this that omit details (perhaps add them as "hints & tips" on the required step?) which could make the use of the machine far more rewarding.
The Direct Prep attachment is an interesting addition: It's great in theory: slice or grate anything either directly into the mixing bowl, or into an external bowl while you cook - great! In practice, it's very fiddly. It includes the obscure warning that you should only swivel it clockwise, otherwise it could break. There's one point in the rotation where it becomes detached, so if you want to swivel into the bowl, off to the side, then back into the bowl again, that necessitates catching the whole thing at one point to stop it falling off its pedestal. There are three separate swivelling parts: the tower, the chute base and the chute lid. Only the lid clicked in place securely for me, the other two seem to easily become dislodged, once it sprayed onion all over the place because I couldn't hold the tower to stop it from swivelling under the vibrations while adding onion with one hand and holding the chute ram with the other.
The app looks clean and has plenty of pictures, which is great, but there are a lot of quirks, odd behaviour and a few bugs. One example is that recipes often have strange requests: boiling my eggs, it prompted me to weigh out "300g eggs (about 4)" - huh? Ok, so I wasn't about to skim the bottom off a raw egg to make 280g into 300g, but you see my point.
The utility of this machine is certainly extensive, but unfortunately this seems to come at the cost of complexity. It has far too many pieces: the extra hassle of putting together the Direct Prep (6 individual pieces), then cleaning afterwards is not worth it for small dishes, and even larger dishes just border on making the hassle worthwhile. The best use for it is perhaps preparing large salads and coleslaw, but then a dedicated machine would probably do a better job.
I found that the stirring tool doesn't always stop things burning on the bottom, the whisk doesn't whisk very well with small volumes of fluid, the blade attachment can take a while to get through things - not because it's blunt, but the food tends to bunch up on the outer edge of the bowl, only occasionally touching the blades. But these were more niggles than fatal flaws.
After the boiled eggs disaster, things started to work a bit better and I certainly made some very tasty meals. We did frozen banana dairy-free ice cream (2-3 frozen bananas + a little almond milk, blend with MaxiBlade), a couple of curries/casseroles, and more. It functioned fairly consistently and overall we were happy with the results. It's not a bad machine, it's just that I can't say it's made life easier.
One final thing:
My Mum's old Kenwood mixer lasted 20+ years. So what happens to smart appliances when company no longer supports the cloud-based infrastructure to run them, in say 5 years time? Do they just cease to work? I think in the kCook's case it should still work, but you will be stuck with the manual mode (no app, or an old one that never gets updated). I'd love to get feedback on this from Kambrook and other manufacturers: will they guarantee to keep infrastructure running for a minimum period after removing the product from sale?
Vic in Sydney
Lots of potential but could do with some further development
I was super excited to receive the KCook Multismart as part of their product testing program and I really hoped I would love it... here is what i found.
1. A food processor (slicer/ dicer) with interchangeable blades
2. The main cook pot which also does some food processing (blending, stirring, kneading, mashing)
3. Steamer attachment for the cook pot.
4. Weighing scale
A rather strong all-in-one cooking device which will provide some stiff competition to the thermomix and its competitors.
This is a rather large appliance, so if you have a smaller kitchen make sure you can afford the counter space.
- Setup includes syncing the device with your phone so you can connect it to the Wi Fi. Wireless setup took about 5 minutes.
- Getting used to the bits and pieces can feel a little challenging when you first get Multi Smart, but it gets easier after you have used it a few times and you understand the basic premise of an all-in-one device and the function of each part.
Overall a solid performer. It certainly does everything it needs to do. I started out making a simple pasta sauces, and progressed to casseroles, curries, stir fries and mousses however, it came with what i believe are opportunities for improvement which i will detail later in my review.
In theory, the app is a great concept and takes guided cooking to the next level. Once you have picked a recipe it tells you exactly what you need to be doing at each step (e.g. slice onions in the processor, attachment, add 250ml of milk, etc.)- you hit the button on the app to say you have completed the step and the machine automatically knows what to do next (e.g. low heat, high heat, stir fast, stir slow, knead, etc.). When a task is completed a beep signals that the device is waiting for you to do the next step, which again is prompted clearly in the app. With some supervision, and the simplicity of the app I can certainly see the device as a way to get my 7 year old daughter introduced to cooking, which is a positive.
There are hundreds of recipes to chose from in the app and you can filter them by category, ease, time, ingredients, etc.
The Weighing Scale:
The device comes with an app enables weighing scale which is about the size of a quarter plate. When the app asks you to weigh produce or liquids, you can just pop them on the scale and the app will tell you when you are within a reasonable weight range for the recipe . connectivity between the scale and the app was inconsistent at times, but when it did work I thought it was a great addition to the package.
The Food Processor (Slicer/ Dicer)
This is where I believe the device has the edge over its competition. The Multi smart actually allows you to slice, dice, julienne, etc. on the same device. No messy cleanup. It takes a few uses to work out what each blade is for, but once you have figured it out, you will want to use it more and more.
Cook Pot and steamer:
This thing is everything it says on the box and more. It cooks, stirs, kneads, sautes, stir fries, blends, steams and a lot more. It is easy to assemble, use and clean. Once I figured out how everything worked after about 3 uses, I chose to override the app and use the buttons on the main device to cook things that were not on the Multismarts built in menu. Best of all, no chopping boards and no mess to clean up.
1. Rather large device- space is typically not an issue for someone who can afford a $1699 all-in-one device, but in the event you have a smaller kitchen, consider where you are going to put it.
2. Connectivity to the weighing scale was inconsistent at times, leading me to have to use my own weighing scale in some instances.
3. Online community/ social presence is very limited given how new the device is. I believe that multismart owners would benefit greatly once there is a larger online community sharing tips and tricks/ troubleshooting/ recipes, etc. as is the case with other more established devices.
1. It truly is an all in one device- I would certainly consider this devices capabilities to be superior to the Thermomix TM-31 and to top it off it comes at $500 cheaper than the Thermomix.
2. You can properly stir fry in this device because you can set it to get to higher temperatures than any of its competitors to get a real char on your protein and veg.
3. With some supervision, certainly an entry point for kids to get into the kitchen and get introduced to cooking.
4. The added food processor attachment and weighing scale are quite clever little additions that are lacking in competing devices.
5. Very easy to clean and setup.
6. You can take this thing with you on holidays and cook in your room or powered camping site if you must. This is a huge advantage when travelling with children or if you are on a budget.
Would I buy it again?
At $1699, while about $500 cheaper than its main competitors it is by no means a cheap device. While it is in my opinion functionally superior to a lot of its competition, the recipes need finessing and the online communities need further development for the Kenwood Multi Smart to gain broader acceptance as a heavy hitter amongst the more established competition..
As a dad who is more experienced in the kitchen than most, I can certainly see myself taking this thing with me on holidays to make quick breakfasts/ meals for the kids.
I believe this is the perfect device for tech savvy, time poor users who would appreciate a well thought out guided cooking experience, telling them exactly what to do when.
Takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it....
The machine comes in three main parts. The machine itself, a kitchen scale and you will need your phone or tablet for it to communicate with the kCook via an app. If there's one thing that needs improvement with the kCook, its the set up page. I am tech savvy and I had a bit of a drama setting it up. Basically, the main machine connects to your tablet or phone using WiFi and the scale connects using Bluetooth. There is a single sheet of paper supplied with instructions but it is badly written. I later wanted to add my wifes iPad and had that was also somewhat frustrating, but once you get them talking to each other the rest is pretty simple, especially if you have owned a food processor before.
The unit also comes with the "Direct Prep" attachment so that ingredients that need to be sliced or grated can be processed either straight into the bowl or, in the case of the apple cake, straight into the cake tin. It's easy to assemble, use and wash and it stores in a box which doubles as a steamer. There is also a soft satchel that contains the cutting and grating discs.
The main bowl is heavy as it contains the heating element but it clicks into place easily as does the lid. I tried to wash it in the kitchen sink without getting the electrics wet but this isn't so easy. After consulting the manual, (I am guy so - you know), I found that there is a "rinse" function that, once water is added, heats up, spins whatever tool you used at high speed and does the bulk of the washing for you. I did have difficulty finding where the instructions for finding the 'rinse' function were. You press the steam button and it is in the menu list. The lid comes apart, sort of anyway, for cleaning.
So how does it cook? There are lots of recipes on the app and once you get set up, there are step by step instructions that I have yet to have a problem with. When a recipe calls for a certain quantity by weight, you simply place a bowl on the scale and when you pour in your ingredient, the tablet screen will show you how much you have measured. As each step is completed, you just press a "tick" on your device screen and it moves to the next step. It even tells you what blade to attach and they are clearly marked with a number or words so you can't go wrong. If there is some time to kill while ingredients are being mixed or cooked, a timer appears on your device and it will chime when the operation is completed. I used an old iPad and found that it stays on all the time, so make sure your battery is full or have it plugged into the charger.
Our first recipe was on the app and it was chicken risotto. The recipe was as easy as pie to follow, (no pun intended), but I found the cooking time was not enough. No problem, the app asks if you want to increase the time and away it goes. We enjoyed it so much we have had it again since. Then I cooked the apple cake. This was perfect. No problems at all and my daughter has put in a request for another. I did try to make the chicken nuggets. I put in slightly more chicken than the recipe said and the machine stopped. It was trying to mince the chicken and a warning came up, "excessive vibration". I checked the chicken and it had already been pulverised anyway so there was no need for further processing. I have to say, my youngest was not impressed with the nuggets. Thank heaven 'cos they were a bit of a chore. The split pea soup on the other hand, was easy to make and I will definitely make it again. I also made the chicken pies which were also easy and delicious if a bit on the small side. My wife was a bit more adventurous and made beef stew from scratch and we were impressed with the results.
I have to say, there have been two occasions where the machine stopped communicating with the app. The app said that the machine had been switched off but we were mid recipe so that wasn't the case. I'm not sure what brought this on but to solve the problem, it was the usual, 'turn it on and off' solve, then go back the the same part of the recipe.
So, would I recommend it? Well, there are some minor software type issues but once sorted I like using this machine and my wife is happy because I am a total gadget head and this has meant she has not had to cook as often. I find it easy to use, the recipes, with the exception of nuggets, have been very good. It is also easy to clean. It does take up some bench space but I can honestly say that it has never been put away since we got it because we are always using it.
On way to perfection
The kCook Multi Smart offers a great menu of preparation and cooking options and is a unit that many home cooks will make their own: meaning, that once you are very familiar with the appliance, you find yourself just using the manual options.
The scale is excellent and I downloaded the app. I have an Android phone and initially I did have wifi issues that I needed to sort out with my network provider but once that was done, I could easily connect the appliance and the app.
I was a little confused at the manual instructions on the mutual connection but just know that once you obtain a solid wifi emblem on the Multi Smart display panel, you are good to go. I rang customer service twice and found both service personnel helpful and patient. Operating the MS from my phone seemed odd at first but was quite a delight. I found myself able to go and do other things knowing I could depend on the system to ping me when the next step was required. The PIN code isn't really needed but I jotted that down on the back of the manual when it came up the first time on the display panel.
I do have one problem with the app that may be a specific Android issue. I wrote to customer support and obtained a very positive response stating they would look to test my particular operating system. This problem relates to starting up the blades mid recipe. I had to do that manually. The system works between auto and manual very easily.
The direct prep implement for dicing vegetables etc is excellent and don’t forget to use the lid adaptor on the bowl lid to stop veges flying everywhere. The one shortfall is that food does get caught behind the feeder tube under the direct prep lid. This only matters if you have prepared something you do not want the taste of within further prep. You would need to remove the unit and rinse it out.
The bowl is heavy and a little difficult to lift and scrape say batter or thick soup out of. I’d love to see a modified long spoon added with the spatula.
I could not, for the life of me, make meringues which the app recipe section refers to as “whisked egg whites”. I am not yet convinced that the whisk tool is the best for that kind of job and the bowl lid – beautifully strong – does tend to collect a lot of egg white (in this case) and you also cannot see in the bowl. This however is a small ‘con’ against the other positives of the appliance.
Perhaps in the future Kenwood might add a second bowl and a more traditional whisk/beater than can be inserted on the direct prep tower. Of course this adds to the cost and at the moment the price point is good.
The one enormous plus was the steamer. I tried to make pumpkin soup (not on the recipe list but I amended another recipe) and it came out very grainy. I changed tack and steamed the sweet potato and potato and then blended it in the bowl with skim milk and some herbs etc. It was absolutely delicious and so full of flavour. In fact, the steamer works very very quickly and you could easily make purees and baby foods using the process just described.
I also made stewed apples in this way and didn’t need to peel the apples. The skin literally fell away from the flesh and was all done in a few minutes.
A general simple ‘casserole’ was lovely.
The display panel is easy to read. The appliance heats quickly.
In sum, a very versatile and useful appliance with only a couple of short falls that won’t matter for many families (depending on what you like to eat!). If you have little strength in your arms you will need assistance to unpack the unit and you will need to spoon ingredients out of the bowl. That bowl is easy to remove and insert on the appliance with two hands.