Cant live without this cooker .
easy to use , over 150 built in recipes ,cooks then keeps food warm for hours , doesn't get hot so even teens can use it safely . is very easy to clean , bowl is dishwasher safe . only downside doesn't come with a recipe book but can be downloaded. I had the previous model and upgraded to have more recipes .
Not worth the money
I used to love this machine, I will admit when this does work it works well.
I'm not new to the C4me+ I had the original one prior to this so I know how to use it. I've had it almost 1 month
Very disappointed with it.
Issues I've had with it
- Preset recipes it skips steps
- Resets in cooking mode
- Takes forever to preheat
- Issue with lid not being able to close properly
- Leaking water
I have gone through everything to the tee to try an eliminate any errors on my behalf. However nothing has worked.
Following up with Tefal wasn't exactly easy either. I sent 3 emails regarding my issue with the machine. I got a automated email each time. I rang them this morning so chasing them up for a faulty product was abit of a hassle.
Once I got through to someone. They didn't even question my complaint/fault as they knew some models have these issues.
I will never buy another one again as it's the second machine.
I purchased this at The Good Guys they were excellent to deal with. I ended up purchasing a different brand pressure cooker.
Review by someone who doesn't know how to cook! 3 to 4 stars depending on what your expectation is
This review is coming from someone who doesn't do any cooking (other than instant noodles - but I've been known to overcook them even!) I think there are enough reviews by people who know what they're doing in the kitchen! So here's my take.
First impressions, definitely large and impressively imposing with it's glossy red and silver appearance. Looked like some sort of robot. Maybe that's not the ideal criteria for assessing cooking tools but for a newbie like me, that got my attention right out of box!
It looked simple enough to clean with it's smooth finishes and non-stick pot, and easily disassembled lid. The controls knob and menu looked simple enough to navigate - albeit with really annoying and tinny sounds reminiscent of early mobile phones - strange for a modern appliance. Thankfully, there is an option to switch off all the extra electronic audio bells and whistles.
Some of the marketing and existing reviews seem to tout this as an ideal cooker for those who don't know how to cook. It would seem that way with about 150 recipes built into the unit which you can follow step-by-step, starting with the quantity of ingredients (you choose how many people it's intended to serve). But in practice, you ideally should know some basics of food preparation as I found out.
First attempt was at a pumpkin risotto dish. It seemed easy enough to follow it step-by-step on the screen since we had pumpkin, and, being a Chinese household - plenty of rice. But for a newbie like me, I didn't know how fine you were supposed to dice up the ingredients. You're also supposed to use arborio rice but we had a medium grain rice from Sun Rice (later I learned from looking up other risotto recipes that you shouldn't wash the rice to maintain a creamy consistency - something that we were brought up to always do - wash your rice! Perhaps it's not as necessary with clean Aussie rice?)
The recipe called for vegetable stock - didn't exactly know what that was but we had a powdered beef stock which I mixed with an equivalent amount of hot water. So we substituted a few things but surprisingly, it turned out alright. That gave me confidence to experiment further.
There's also a manual cooking mode where you set the time. So I tried it with some sweet corn in the steamer pan and estimated cooking it for less than 10 mins. It came out quick and simple. I think you need to have some experience with pressure cookers to really take advantage of this.
Then one experiment went tragically comical. I had found a congee (rice-porridge) recipe online for a general pressure cooker. The recipe was for less than one cup of rice, cooked for 30mins. We felt that was insufficient for our family since my wife usually makes a big pot of it and we reheat for the next couple of nights, so I used 2 cups and filled it to the maximum mark. I figured it would be safe since I didn't exceed this maximum level mark. This was probably the one time in my life when I didn't read everything in the instruction manual, and didn't notice the warning about not going over half of the maximum mark with products which expand like rice...
What ensued was like a Mr. Bean comedy as I kept yelling out to my kids to grab more towels to try to stifle the glutinous rice steam spraying out the vent all over the kitchen counter! I had stopped the cooking cycle, but it needed five minutes to cool down and de-pressurise I guess, so I didn't want to switch it off completely (which in hindsight, switching off wasn't a bad idea)
We ended up having to mop up a big mess of glutinous rice water from the floor, the counter, and eventually pull the cooker apart as much as possible to get dried rice water off and out of the unit. Probably voided the warranty but better than having rust or rice set in within the unit! On the plus side, whatever remained of that congee in the pot was well done and in less than 20 minutes! (normally would have taken about an hour on the stove) Note to self - and any other newbies out there who might want to make congee: don't go past half of the maximum mark with your water, and with no more than 3/4 cup of rice. Plus keep an eye on it in case it boils out the steam vent!
Since then, we've half-followed a stew beef recipe, under the guidance of my wife who wanted to try the pressure cooker aspects of it and set it for 30mins. She felt that other than being a pressure cooker, there was no advantage of the unit over cooking on the stove with a regular pot. It was cooked nicely in 30mins, but not quite that "melt-in-your mouth" Chinese-style beef brisket. We subsequently cooked it further when we reheated it. (I also did not realise that a "casserole" was same as stew so had not touched that recipe). In conclusion, it did cook faster than a regular pot when you use it as a pressure cooker, but you still have to experiment to find the ideal cooking time since you can't regularly lift the lid to check like you would on a stove.
The other drawback, especially for inexperienced cooks is that all the recipes can't be viewed in advance. That is, you have to turn the unit on, scroll through 150 recipes to find what you want, and then go through the steps to see what ingredients you need. It would have been handy if they included these recipes in print with the cooker, or at the very least, if Tefal were cheapskates, they should have made it available for download. I learned of Facebook groups from reading other reivews and in these groups I was able to find PDF versions of the recipes which a member was kind enough to post up.
In conclusion, this is probably decent for a pressure cooker. We haven't tried it for steaming rice because we have a simple rice cooker which does the job, but from other reviews, this might cook rice faster. For the recipes, it seems good to have guided step-by-step recipes when you're not a seasoned cook, but you still need to understand the basics to follow the recipes. Plus it helps if you're experienced enough to know what ingredients you can substitute when you don't have - or don't want to use - the specific ingredient. Apparently, members of a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to this Tefal Multicooker have been helpful in that area - something which Tefal should be leading and not relying on members to do on Facebook. Probably more of a 4 star rating for people who know how to use it, but I gave it 3 stars because it supposedly allows people who don't know how to cook to use it, but that's not quite accurate.
For other recipes and tasks where you are experimenting or don't know how long you should cook for, it might be simpler to use the good old pot and stove, since you can open the lid to check and modify ingredients on the fly. But once you have established the correct quantity of ingredients and cooking time, then this unit can be handy.
Fast cooking instead of fast food
Two things stand out with the Tefal Cook4Me.
1. It's so easy to operate that you don't need to read a heavy manual. You do need to read the initial instructions though but from there on you just follow what the display says.
2. Speed. This is not just an automatic cooker with an electronic cook book, it's an automatic steam cooker. You get a decent meal in the table in 20 minutes - less time it takes to get some take away (and since you control the quality of the ingredients, it'll be much better food to)
It's perfect when you don't have much time to cook and also for those who have little experience in cooking or simply don't like cooking otherwise. Also good to learn cooking, there is really no experience needed. I hope it will get some people away from all that fast food and greasy take away dependence.
It's not really meant for gourmet cooking, but even master chefs will find it useful as a smart pressure cooker.
Cleaning is very easy, I hope the non stick coating will last though.
It is quite bulky though, make sure you have space in your cupboard.
The only problem I had was a fault that meant it got stuck at the beginning of the cooking process. I was promised a replacement.
Cooking’s easy with Cook4Me
The Tefal Cook4Me is a bench top kind of “do it all” cooking appliance with a step-by-step instruction based recipe computer attached to the side. It tells you all the ingredients you will need for any given recipe so you can go out and buy and then prep them. Once you have everything ready the Cook4Me guides you through the process of adding which ingredients and when.
The main benefit I can see for this appliance is the potential to introduce the user to a much wider variety of recipes. If you’ve found yourself cooking the same things you’ve perfected over and over and never really venturing out, the Cook4Me makes browsing, choosing, and cooking new and different recipes very easy.
The other benefit I can see is for people who may not have the strongest skill set in the kitchen, people who find recipe books, coming up with ideas, and cooking from scratch challenging or daunting.
My partner for example has no creativity when it comes to cooking and if left to his own devices and a regular saucepan will produce a charred mess. He can cut things up if told which ingredients to prep however, so the Cook4Me takes the guess work and judgement out of the cooking process for him. I’ve never seen him enjoy cooking previously but the novelty of the appliance and the easy instructions means he actually seems to love throwing things in and get cooking with the Cook4Me. If you can chop, pour, stir, and close a lid, then you can cook with the Cook4Me. Once you have mastered some of the basic recipes, then you can get creative with modifying them to your hearts content.
I feel the Cook4Me would be a great gift idea for parents to give their sons or daughters when they are leaving home to encourage them to actually cook, or a great investment for a busy family where providing meals needs to be as time saving simple and effortless as possible.
If I had one criticism for Tefal it would be that for such a modern computerised cooking appliance, the Cook4Me could really benefit from some WiFi/Bluetooth/Smartphone App integration, at the moment I find we take a photo of the the recipe on the display screen before we go out to the supermarket and it would be more streamlined to have the recipes available in an app, so you can shop for ingredients from your phone without having to physically go back and refer to the Cook4Me if you are thinking of a different Cook4Me recipe.
Other small gripes may be that the appliance is a little cumbersome and the parts are a few too many to keep clean and keep track of, however, engineering is hard, and these things may simply be unavoidable for this kind of appliance. I do recommend anyone new to the Cook4Me to take a some time to read the manual and work out what the parts are and how the parts go together and come apart for cleaning, before you cook anything. Once you work it out, you will realise it all makes sense and is quite easy.
An expert chef may not need something like the Cook4Me to get their job done, but overall a very nifty addition to any home kitchen if you are in need of fresh ideas, and would like to make the process of choosing and making different dishes an easier task to tackle.
A bit frustrating
I was sent this as a part of the Product Ambassador Program, asking me for an honest review.
On opening the box, I did think it was rather large, so takes up a large amount of real estate. However, as I already own a small pressure cooker, it is handy to have a larger one. The manual also tells you not to use it under an overhead cupboard, because of the steam, which rather limits (in my kitchen) where one can use it. I ended up putting a chopping board over the gas burners of my cooktop and used it there with the overhead exhaust going. Not exactly a great solution, as I am rather short, so needed to stand on a footstool to be able to see inside the pot.
I found some of the things it did (or didn’t do) frustrating.
I do wish you’d get the instructions before you start. If you decide to follow an inbuilt recipe, it doesn’t tell you what you will need to do, so unless you pretend to be ready for the next step (which I eventually learned to do) you are likely to make mistakes.
To start, I just looked through the available recipes and made things that I probably wouldn’t have bothered with, only I didn’t have much food in the house at the time and wanted to test it.
I wrote a “diary” with some of the things I cooked, so may as well copy it here
1. Mashed potatoes.
The ingredient list says warm milk, cream and soft butter. So, I mixed together all three and warmed them in the microwave
I then clicked OK, only to be told to put all ingredients into the pot, EXCEPT the milk. Too late!!!
So, I decided that it shouldn’t make much difference.
Started it... It started warming, then I got an error message that there isn’t enough liquid in the pot, I should look in the manual.
Firstly, there was nothing in the manual about that, secondly, I followed the recipe (for two) and if anything, there was 30ml more liquid in there than the recipe required (the milk) So, what is one supposed to do?
I put another splash of milk in it. Seems to be happy now. I presume I’ll be getting potato soup
It all turned out fine in the end :-) The milk was supposed to be added “to taste” but the consistency was fine as it was.
Not sure I’d bother doing it in there next time I want to make mashed potatoes. Not that much harder in a pot – less cleaning after
What a waste of time! Again, it would be nice if you could see what it was going to do, before you started.
Put ingredients in pot and turn on… (do NOT put lid on) Stir after “warming up” is finished until ready...
So, basically, I could have done the exact same thing in a pot on the stove without having this huge pot etc. to wash afterwards (or save even the smaller pot and do it in the microwave)
3. Ham & Pea Risotto
This one worked out very well and really is easier than my usual method (even though I have a great recipe for the microwave)
4. Pork Spare ribs
FAIL!! Got pork soup! Had to put it in the oven for half an hour and then put the still too thin “sauce” in a saucepan to reduce
I followed the instructions exactly for 4 people, got it started and left the room. When I went back had the same error message as with the potatoes: there isn’t enough liquid in the pot, I should look in the manual. Not sure at what stage of the cooking the error popped up, as it was still warming up when I left the kitchen. It was probably at least 10 minutes before I went back and discovered the error.
When I opened it, it certainly looked as though there was enough liquid, and the gnocchi was cooked al dente, so we just ate it. Pretty annoying anyway!. With the potatoes, I presumed that maybe the quantity wasn’t enough as it was for just 2 people (although, if there is a recipe for it, surely it should work) but this was for 4 people
Also noticed that some of the gnocchi was stuck to the bottom of the pan and slightly charred, so apparently it browns as well as pressure cooks, even after the lid is locked
6. Gnocchi take two
I tried again. This time I put in TWICE the amount of sauce it called for; and kept going to check it. It took an awfully long time to “warm up” about 20 minutes. Then the next time I checked had the same error message again with not enough liquid.
However, (as last time) when I opened it, the gnocchi was cooked (none stuck to the bottom this time). Not only that, there was so much sauce on it, it was nearly a soup!
No doubt if I keep using it making up my own recipes, instead of attempting the ones provided, I will figure out what one can and can’t make in it.
TBH, except for the recipe, it wouldn’t occur to me to cook gnocchi this way, I would boil the pasta in water, then add the sauce, so maybe this is too much to expect, but that was the recipe.
Also, even though there is an error message, it seems to still finish cooking the item.
So, I am not sure if my Cook4Me is faulty, or the recipes are.
One thing I've learned, it is best to cook things that call for a lot of liquid and even then, I am not sure what makes it decide when it does or doesn't have enough liquid, as the risotto didn't have any more liquid (in fact less) than the gnocchi, but that one worked.
I have cooked a few more things in it, quite liked some (mostly things that I wasn't following the inbuilt recipes with, but cooked things I have cooked before, in a normal pressure cooker. Those worked)
TBH, I am not sure if I would be happy with this, had I bought it. I will keep using it, but am a bit disappointed in it.
Some of the recipes reminds me of what Abraham Maslow said "if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" Some of the recipes provided do not suit this appliance at all
Handy little device that generally works well
I was sent this as a part of the Product Ambassador Program.
Generally, my wife and I love to cook. We have two young kids, so finding the time to do that cooking can be difficult. The Tefal Cook4Me+ came at the right time for us, and we were very happy to give it a go.
When we opened it, we thought it was pretty big. We've looked at these types of devices in the past, and have found them to be smaller. That means it takes up a fair bit of room on your bench. Our kitchen is a decent size - certainly not small, but we don't have loads of bench space to spare. Our previous apartment was tiny with no bench space, so we would not have been able to use it.
We've used similar devices before, and it's always a bit of a learning curve. For our first trial, we simply followed the instructions for one of the built-in recipes. Now, this will reflect more on us than on the machine, but it didn't occur to us to stir the ingredients together before cooking, and that first dish didn't come out well. Since the instructions gave us key info on other steps, we just followed them blindly. But, lesson learned... we soldiered on.
The other thing we learned that first time is that the machine doesn't tell you all of the ingredients. There is a companion website for that (Google Tefal Cook4me+ recipes), and I'm sure that's in the manual somewhere, but we looked and didn't see any mention of it. Again, this is perhaps just us being dumb, but with two young kids, time to read manuals in detail is a luxury. Perhaps something like a QR code or similar on the side of the machine that a user can scan to go to that website would be a very welcome addition.
We've tried a few recipes now and they're generally pretty good. Our kids are picky, and even they've eaten some of them. So that's good. The types of recipes that it can make are a particular kind of food - you know, they're cooked in water or stock, so there's often a lot of liquid involved. I'm not sure I'd want to eat that all the time, so we might use this once a week. But that's still one meal (plus probably some leftovers for lunch another day) where I can save a bit of time.
Cleaning the device isn't particularly difficult. The pot that lifts out seems to be some kind of non-stick material, so it pretty much just wipes clean, which is great. The lid is a little more fiddly - you have to unscrew a nut, then remove a thing, and from that thing you remove another thing. But cleaning it and reassembling is not particularly hard, and doesn't take long. So all up, I love how easy this is to clean.
Overall, the drawbacks are its size, and that you have to do a certain amount of discovery yourself. But it is one of the better multi-cookers around, at least of the ones we've tried, and it's easy to clean, which is sensational. Has it earned its own (large) spot on the kitchen bench? Not yet, although we're still getting comfortable with it and are willing to keep trying.
If you're in the market for this kind of thing, and if you have the space, I think it'll serve you well.
Multi-cooker, Simplified one pot meal preparation.
Tefal Cook4Me+ was provided to me for the purpose of trialing this specific product and submitting an unbiased review under the Product Ambassador Program.
Given the range of available cooking appliances and competition for storage and kitchen bench space, products need to justify their place or quickly become irrelevant, regardless of cost.
I already had Breville Slow Cooker, and Aldi Crofton 6ltr Pressure cooker , so was interested to see how Cook4Me+ multi-cooker would compare against these separate appliances for function and usefulness.
It arrived well packaged with a small booklet, detailing product description, functions and included list of pre-loaded recipe suggestions.
Unpacked, it appears large but attractive and upon examination, very well made.
Before you attempt to use it first time, "Read the supplied manual" while inspecting and familiarising yourself with how it functions, rather than jumping in and panicking when it starts beeping at you.
I actually went online to Tefal site and registered for access to further free recipe updates, sent to my phone.
A suggested enhancement to Cook4Me+, might be bluetooth or WiFi access to add new recipes via the web if technically feasible.
Cook4Me+ combines functions of Pressure Cooker, Steam Cooking, ability to Sear Meat and Veg to produce typically slow cooked meals in rapid time, facilitated by a built in menu guidance and control system.
The multi cooker has a maximum capacity of 6ltrs and the built in display is split between 4 options: Ingredients, Recipes, Favourites and Manual.
Preloaded recipes include Starters, Mains and Deserts.
A large rotating OK knob below menu display is means of viewing selections and pressing knob in to confirm choices.
If you wish to step backward though earlier choices, a back arrow / return button functions similar to escape key on computer.
Power on for 1st time, establishes user preferred settings of Language, Country, Units of measure, also display brightness & sound volume.
Recipes menu allows scalability by user selecting number of persons being cooked for, and automatically, displays recalculated ingredient quantities and volumes required and I suspect, the amended cooking time required.
I recommend setting out and pre-weigh all required ingredients, checking off against displayed item list, as once you proceed to start preheat stage, it can slow process, should you need to go back, and check if you have missed something.
Once you close the lid, it will commence timed preheat, and beep to alert you when to open lid to add ingredients into heated bowl insert. Re-close lid and inbuilt program takes over timed pressure cooker function, automatically depressurising at end of cooking cycle. The appliance has two levels of heating, allowing for browning or searing ahead of edition of balance of ingredients. Just follow the menu prompts as it follows the installed program for selected recipe. For experienced cooks, manual operation is an option, allowing you to set your own cook times, and experiment with your own recipes.
The appliance is very easy to clean, just wipe out with with a damp cloth / never immerse main housing as you must only place ingredients into the supplied cooking bowl insert or steam basket, both of which are safe to place in dishwasher or wash in hot, soapy water.
First tried Green Rice Curry inbuilt recipe and results were very acceptable, Next was Pumpkin soup turned out very good, also Corned Beef which actually required a further 10 minutes to cookers recipe. After a few more inbuilt recipes and increasing confidence in device, elected to try manual operation with improvisation of familiar recipes, varying ingredients and cooking times.
Chicken Currys, Browning of onions, garlic, and meat. Rice cooks in bowl insert OK, but needed a little more water.
Overall it is a terrific concept, My wife is very happy with its performance, just took some getting used to initially.
It would make a fantastic wedding present when establishing home or for student or children moving out for first time, fending for themselves, or Caravan / mobile Home, as it is so easy and intuitive, producing wholesome meals to suit differing Tastes.
Not having to hover over stove, stirring and watching, worrying about boil-over, if distracted by phone-calls or interruptions.
Being able to cook everything in one pot.
Being easy to use and clean
Non stick coating on bowl insert is of very high standard.
Auto shut down at end of cooking but still allows you to keep warm or reheat when family are not all present to eat at same time, due to work, sport etc.
Delayed start, Re-Heat, Keep warm features in menu program are user friendly.
For cooking challenged it is a great appliance, guiding user through recipe selection, ingredient quantity, and automates whole process, as well as permitting favourites selection.
Negatives: Nothing really, apart from variable retail cost, and because of the pre-heat time required, 10min average, you might find that cooking rice in microwave for example will be quicker. I haven't tried pasta in Cook4Me+.
It doesn't replace everything, some recipes are always going to benefit from slow cooker, to allow full development of infused flavour and texture, eg Beef Cheeks, and the meat to become fall apart tender, but this appliance gives it a pretty good shot , for ease of cooking of those meal recipes, best suited to it, and for less experienced, just starting out, I would highly recommend this product. My wife says its a keeper.
Pleasantly surprised - a user friendly pressure cooker
I have always been a little scared of pressure cookers, however after watching numerous shows on the Cook4me + on TVSN this one seemed safer and easier.
The first thing I cooked was the creamy mashed potato. I was really impressed how well it came out. Most pressure cooker mash recipe's get you to just steam the potatoes in the pressure cooker and then add other stuff later.
This one you add the potato, butter, salt and pepper and cream into the machine and cook in the normal bowl and add in the milk once it's done.
The result, amazing mashed potato! I was really impressed with how little liquid you need in the Cook4me compared to other pressure cookers. You can do as little as 2 serves in this machine which is an impossibility with a lot of others. This particular recipe only uses 30 ml of liquid in with the cook.
Next I tried the Beef Bolognaise Sauce and was again impressed. The depth of flavour in the finished sauce for the 10 minutes it takes to cook is equivalent to hours on the stovetop. An absolute timesaver.
Clean up is easy with the bowl going in the dishwasher and disassembly of the 'bits' to clean is really easy as is putting it back together again.
This updated model now has 150 recipe's, so heaps to choose from and you can always go rogue and use the manual program.
Next up for dinner tonight I am trying the Ham and Pea Risotto.... sure it will be another winner
Very nice machine
As part of the ProductReview Product Ambassador Program, I was recently sent this appliance for testing and review. As a side note this is a fully honest review from me (James) and I am in no way being biased or promotional for Tefal or any other company that sends me and the other product ambassadors anything for review.
I have had the chance to use this machine quite a few times in the past weeks and I must say I have been really enjoying it. There are a large range of recipes pre-programmed in it which I have made a number of along with individual "ingredients" if you will that you can put alongside your own meals (rice, carrots etc.). The pre-programmed menu is quite nice and I must say better than I was expecting. The way it gives you the ingredients list and a step-by-step process to follow throughout the cooking is a really neat idea. It cooks very fast (I made a beef casserole for my family in 35mins where in a conventional slow cooker it takes many hours, probably hence the name "slow") which is great for quick and easy meals when everyone is getting home late after school or work and waiting a blue age for food is not something that anyone is interested in. It is relatively easy to clean and put back together which is nice as it eliminates having to wash multiple pots or pans.
On the fairly small downsides though, this machine is BIG. I guess if you have a massive kitchen like many of the new homes you see popping up do it probably wouldn't be too bad but for an older mid to small size kitchen like ours it does take up a lot of room and there isn't even really anywhere else we can store either because its simply too big. I think the favourites list could also be increased in size as currently you can only have 5 or something like that which really isn't enough for 150 recipes in total. I do also like the sound of the "upload your own" idea they have on some of the higher end models too but then again this is one of the lower ones so you can't really expect everything.
Overall though I am very happy with this machine and I will continue to use it regularly.
The cooker is very good, but it could easily be so much more...
I reviewed the black TEFAL cook-4-me cooker. Model No. on the bottom of the device: SERIE EPC09-A:
4.8 stars for the hardware (the actual cooking device), which is mainly pretty good (except for the twist-knob-switch).
4 stars for the software (yes, this device is “computer-controlled”)
3 stars for the documentation (Recipes, manual, etc.)
I’ll have to give it 4 stars in total.
The product is very good, but it could easily be so much more, if TEFAL would make a few changes to the product as a whole, which would also open up new ways of marketing the product.
Cooker teaches cooking (to a degree) - but sadly can't find a way to add own recipes:
The cooker is not so much a device for “people, who do not like to cook” as I saw in a comment below, but more-so a device for people, who would like to cook good food, but just can’t cook, because the display gives you step by step instructions what to do and when. However, this is limited to the pre-programmed recipes. But if TAFAL makes changes, it would be perfect for the purpose of “cooking teacher”. Currently this “teaching” is limited to a few pre-programmed dishes (and hopefully these happen to be to your taste – I myself try to avoid all beef and pork, which is most of the pre-programmed recipes). If TEFAL would offer a website with a huge amount of recipes to choose from to be downloaded onto a memory-stick (including all the code the Cooker needs to cook at the right temperature for the correct time), and this stick could be placed into a USB port on the cooker for uploading, then TEFAL would have a really good “cooking teacher” for sale... Currently you can “add” some of the existing recipes into a favourite list – I can’t see, why this could not work from a stick as source. Thinking further: TEFAL should also have a program on their website, where you could write your own recipes (including the information for temperature and cooking time, which the online TEFAL program would translate into the source-code required for upload into the cooker). That way you could put your own recipes into your cooker, AND you could send your recipes to friends, who also have that TEFAL cooker.
No burning of food:
Also, I am someone, who is always doing many things at the same time. Frequently that means, if I cook, the food gets burned. I even managed (back then) to burn sausages boiled in water (after all the water evaporated). Now, since this TEFAL cooker is computer controlled, it is not really possible to burn your food! That’s just great. You just let the in-build computer know, what you are doing and how much and it stops the cooking process after the correct time. You do however have to be a little bit careful in “browning” mode: There you really have to stand next to the cooker to turn the meat over and over – but it does not take long. But even in “browning” mode it will stop heating after a certain time, unless you confirm that you want to continue.
At least one pre-programmed recipe needs revising:
Under “ingredients” you can choose to cook rice. The instruction is to “cover the rice in the bowl with water”. Well, I did that – wondering how much water counts as “covering”. Result: The rice was “al dente” as known from pasta, but you don’t want that with rice... The text of the pre-programmed recipe needs to be corrected into: 1 part rice, 2 parts water. I repeated the rice-cooking with new rice and the result was perfect.
Cooker can be a real energy saver, if you are on solar:
You can use the cooker to prepare your meal long before you are ready to eat. This means, you could cook when the sun shines strongest (and while you have “free energy” from your solar panels, if you have a “first user” system) and after cooking is finished the cooker goes automatically in “keeping warm” mode – and with the lid closed, this really does not require a lot of energy. And then you can even eat it in the evening, when it’s dark, prepared with free energy...
Cooker is energy efficient:
The cooker is always in one of the 2 modes: Zero Watts or 1450W. The cooker uses automatic on/off to control the temperature. Especially positive (and beyond my understanding as engineer): The cooker uses 0W in standby mode (i.e. off), AND also 0W, when switched on with the display lit up. That’s a mystery to me. Cooking in pressure cooker mode (which you would do most of the time) is also very energy efficient.
Cooker is safe:
Back then (decades ago) my father ended up in hospital, because of a pressure cooker, because the manual said: Open the lid – and that’s what my father did, and then straight to hospital covered with boiling soup... – while the manual continued: ...after the knob has come down....
On this TEFA cooker it has been made impossible to open the lid, if it is not safe to do so.
Twist-knob control switch needs to be improved by redesign:
I know what I am talking about: I have worked many years as switch-design-engineer. That twist-knob-selector on the cooker is just wrong.
1. It is counter-intuitive: I always want to press any of the 4 ends (up, down, left, right) on that turn button, just as I would on my DVD-recorder-remote.
2. Is feels very cheap (no tactile feedback), and (but this is only speculating) it feels as if it would not last too long... and with this selector-switch gone the cooker cannot be operated anymore.
3. If I want to run down the long list of recipes using that twist-knob installed (and there is no other option), it takes quite a while. Required would be 2 different push-buttons for up and down: one for 1 step, and another one for page up or page down.
Very good cooking results:
I had very good & tasty results for browning, cooking (pressure coking) and steaming.
Also very positive: The fact that the cooking bowl is so deep comes in very handy when "browning" meat, as this prevents the kitchen to be covered in grease thereafter.
There are pre-programmed recipes in the cooker. Displayed firstly is the list of ingredients. I.e. one has to go shopping. I.e. one has to sit down in front of the cooker and write the ingredients onto a shopping list. Next, when you cook: After the ingredient-list-display comes later a screen with the cooking-instructions displayed. E.g. The ingredient list might have said: 400g mushrooms – later in the instructions, a few steps further, the display tells you only: Add mushrooms. If you can’t remember, how much, you have to interrupt there and go all the way back to the ingredient-list – and that for every ingredient... – unless you have all that written on paper, i.e. you would have to write down everything onto paper first. And this is my point: The missing documentation is a cookbook, which comes with the cooker. However, saying this, what really is needed is (as written above) a huge selection of recipes on the internet, downloadable – and in line with that you can print your own cookbook with those recipes only, which you selected. And also very important: To avoid that this requires a massive amount of time finding a matching recipe from the cooker on the website, these recipes would require reference numbers, e.g. a letter and 4 digits: M3557 for a main dish.
If someone from TEFAL would say now: but we have the recipes on our internet site, where you can see and print them: That is only partially true – I found this link myself:
One has to sit a considerable time in front of the computer always pressing “see more” at the bottom of the page, until finally everything displayable is being displayed. That’s silly. There you will find some recipes as programmed into the cooker – after a pretty long search. BUT: Not all the recipes of the cooker are listed there – one example: “Chicken with creamy mushroom” (which btw. tasted very good).
Good, but it could be much better.
The Tefal Cook4Me+ was provided to me for the purpose of this review, under the product ambassador programme.
First impressions: this thing is big! It takes up a lot of bench space. It seems a bulky design, with a bit of thought it could have been designed slimmer. The stainless steel steamer insert comes with a clip in wire stand that I am a bit concerned could wear through the non-stick coating of the main pan over time. The steamer basket handles have a silicone coating, the stand could have had it too.
First recipe: Spicy Pork with Beans (one of the inbuilt recipes.) The recipe seems odd, minced pork with veges and curry paste and other flavours, all in the pot at once with no browning or breaking up the minced pork. I followed the recipe but part way through it beeped and said “error, not enough liquid in pan” on the screen. I just started over, didn’t add any liquid as the recipe ingredients didn’t list any, and it worked out OK but the result was like a big pork burger with veges in it, one solid piece. I broke it up with a masher and served it with rice, it was delicious but I felt there was an error in the recipe. I found the “recipe book” for the cook4me (not the plus) online and looked up the same recipe – the online version had stock as an ingredient that was not listed in my machine’s recipe. Soon I will try the recipe again with the extra stock, and see how it turns out.
The online "recipe book" isn't a recipe book at all, just an ingredients list. No method listed at all.
Next recipe I tried was Beef Massaman Curry. After the ingredients, the first step was to brown the meat and onions for 3 min. After 3 mins the food was barely warm, let alone browned. It would be better if the screen showed a timer during this phase, as it does later for the final cooking. But no, you have to watch the time on some other gadget, or just observe the food and move to the next step when the onions are soft and the meat is a bit browned. (not mentioned in the recipe, which just said “brown for 3 minutes…) The curry turned out delicious.
Chicken Cacciatore – As I can’t eat gluten, I substituted extra long grain basmati rice for the risoni pasta, it turned out really lovely.
Lemon Delicious puddings – an old family favourite, I was keen to see how “The Gadget” would handle these. I was going to make a bigger batch than my usual cooking for 2, a recipe for 6 calls for 6, 8cm ramekins. But 6 ramekins won’t fit in the Cook4me steamer basket, best I could do was three. Then I forgot to add the milk to the recipe, so the puddings were tough. My fault, I will do them again soon. Other recipes also call for ramekins too, so they also won’t work in quantities for 4 or 6. You could make it in one pudding bowl, though you’d probably need to extend the cooking time. For a device that aims to help inexperienced cooks, that is a bit of a blunder.
As well as cooking the inbuilt recipes, you can select an ingredient and it will tell you how to cook that ingredient. (only that ingredient alone, not recipes...see below.) It has a long list of veges so I decided to try it with some sweet corn. Oops – it doesn’t have sweet corn in the list. No , it isn’t under “corn’ either. I just selected “broccoli” but put some sweet corn in the steamer basket. It came out really well.
The Cook4Me+ has a section called “favorites.”(American spelling.) It is silly, all you can do with it is save an existing recipe from the menu, and alter the name of the recipe if you wish. The example in the handbook shows saving the recipe for Broccoli Soup in favourites, renaming it as “Fish Soup”, but you can’t edit the recipe or ingredients, so your new “Fish Soup” recipe contains broccoli but no fish… This useless item on the device’s menu should be replaced with “Search Recipes By Ingredient” so if, for example, you have an excess of green beans, you could select “Green Beans” in the search and it would offer you a list of every recipe in the device that contains green beans as an ingredient. Just to be clear, you can NOT currently search this way, it is just my suggestion to improve the product in future versions.
There are some really silly shortcomings with the Cook4Me+. Some suggest a lack of care in developing the product. For example, there are several basic spelling errors in the on-screen recipes and no, you can’t edit them. “Coriander pawns,” “brown suggar,” “dessicated coconut,” (it is desiccated); “lenghts of lemon grass,” “mangos” instead of “mangoes.” It also refers to corn starch, which is called cornflour in Australia. (You do set your country in the initial set up.) In the manual mode section, the printed handbook refers to “quick cooking” but the display screen actually shows “pressure cooking.”
In manual mode, you can set it to pressure cook for a set time, then turn off automatically. You can’t do that timed cooking in the other manual modes of gentle cook, simmer or brown. Simmer in particular would be helpful. Why not? You can’t cook with the lid closed, except when pressure cooking. Why not? If you close the lid, it beeps and demands you open the lid. Grrr.
When I first used the Tefal Cook4Me+ I was quite enthused about the possibilities of the product, I could imagine a world-wide community of Cook4Me owners, exchanging recipes and suggestions via the Tefal website, downloading new recipes and uploading them to the cookers. You could have a USB socket or a bluetooth connection on the cooker, to allow you to add recipes, change ingredients to create modified recipes, even correct the inbuilt spelling mistakes… but you can’t. There is a better model sold overseas, called the Cook4Me Connect, which has bluetooth so you can indeed download and add new recipes. But that model isn’t sold in Australia. Why not?
The interface consists of the colour screen, a back button and a dial you turn left or right, or press in. It is a very limiting interface. Several times I have wanted to scan forward through a recipe right at the beginning, so I know in advance what steps are coming up and whether or not I want to cook that recipe. Sometimes I also want to scan backwards and check the ingredients, then skip forward to where I am up to in the recipe. But you can’t. If you are well into the recipe but want to flick back to the ingredients list, when you have done that you have to let the machine preheat the pot all over again, thus overheating the already part-cooked food in the pot.
It the interface were changed to a up/down/left/right set of buttons with OK in the middle, like many TV remote controls, it would be easy to skip back and forth through any recipe without actually having to cook each step in sequence. Or a touch screen with “skip forward” and “skip back” arrows on the screen.
I do feel the pressure cooking function is used in some recipes where it isn’t needed, and contributes to the food being often a little overcooked. I am going to experiment with manually turning back the cooking time by about 10 or 15% and see how that goes.
The warranty is 12 months replacement, which is a bit short. It should be 2 years. I am pleased that Tefal promise on the box that the Cook4me is a repairable device, with spare parts available for 10 years. This is pleasing, I hate throwing out repairable appliances. I already have a Tefal induction cooktop, quite old, and I was able to order a replacement board when it packed up after several years of use. well done to Tefal for making their appliances repairable.
I live on stand-alone solar power, and I'm pleased that the Cook4me+ seems quite energy efficient. The outer casing holds heat in, so once up to temperature, the heating element only comes on for short bursts to maintain temperature. Do remember to turn the device off in the menu when you have finished cooking, as once actually turned off in the menu, standby power use drops to 1/2 a watt.
Despite the many niggles described above, I do enjoy using the Tefal Cook4Me+. I don’t think I am really the target market, as I was a professional cook for 30 years, now retired. I think it is more geared to inexperienced cooks, people who lack confidence in the kitchen, or the chronically time poor. Having said that, the recipe suggestions have helped broaden my weekly repertoire at home. With further development it could be a really fantastic device, but it isn’t there yet.
Great Product ... but needs a little tweak
Got one in red a few weeks ago ... what luck - it matches our beaut new K-Mart toaster beautifully!!
The machine seems well built, with current draw said to be 1220-1450W. It was very well packaged, and the instructions are intuitive, with all you need to get you cooking quickly. If you don't like the swag of programmed recipes that come embedded in the software, it allows you to experiment with an array of manual cooking options too. The programmed recipes can be selected to serve either 2, 4 or 6.
The machine itself is quite bulky, and with only a short cord you'll need to be careful how you plan to site it on the workbench. It has a two handled lid with chrome looking external bling - unnecessary ... and a bloody pain to keep mirror clean. This lid incorporates its easily engaged locking mechanism handle, and it opens upwards and backwards on a decent looking hinge. Here Tefal has built in an ingenious "dew collector" which sits immediately below the hinge point to catch the condensation that would otherwise burble onto your bench everywhere when the lid swings back upon opening. But then they go and mess the whole idea up by making the collector a little flimsy and damned on impossible to extract from the housing while the lid is up ..... grrrrr!!
Wow ... can this thing cook though!! But there are some down sides ....
Like some others on here we got a code 24 error message/shutdown in the middle of cooking on only the 3rd time we used the machine. The display said to clean the lid - this would have been a neat trick given that the machine was in pressure cooking mode at that point, and lifting the lid would be a rather ... hazardous ... operation! So we checked the manual instead. It said nothing about cleaning the lid for this error code ... simply to add water in small increments to the pot and carry on .... another neat trick under the circumstances. Not sure why the conflicting instructions to clear code 24. Anyway, we waited for the pressure to equalise, shielded our faces (just in case!!) and tentatively opened the lid and poured a little more water in. The lid looked clean (it was only its 3rd use as I said, and we clean it and its various components between uses anyway) ... so we shut it and hoped for the best!!
Insanity part two then begins ... after clearing the code the machine apparently can't simply resume cooking from the point at which it stopped ... no - that'd be wayyy too simple. The entire recipe is lost and you have to start all over again .... W T F ?!?! So we worked our way through the steps, thankfully being able to cancel the required browning process involved earlier. This meant that once the pressure cooking stage commenced it got another whole cycle of pressure cooking. This was going to be extra well cooked potato bake!!!
And then ... right towards the end ... code 24 again!!! FFS ... we weren't going to give up now ... so repeated the cycle all over .... and FINALLY got our potato bake ... nuked to blazes, about an hour after it started, with the fish fillets we'd cooked way earlier to accompany the bake being dutifully kept warm in the (thankfully more reliable!!) oven!!
What a process ... mind you, it was probably the tastiest potato bake we'd ever eaten!!
There are other downright annoying aspects to this device which gives you real cause to wonder whether you love it or loathe it!! For example, while the display can beautifully navigate through the ingredients list, it refuses steadfastly to display a cooking method ... which can really leave you unprepared and frazzled. You really must have all the ingredients pre-prepared and weighed/measured on plates all over your kitchen, since you never really know at what point you are adding what!! Makes for a monster washup too!!
The next niggle .... that "pre heating" stage takes wayyyyy too long. It's inexcusable. I could have prepared a vat of white rice for the family on our magnificent gas stovetop and served it up just in the amount of time it took to pre heat during the rice cook cycle!! The timeframe provided by the readout for prep is wayyyyy out primarily for this reason alone ... the cook time given only reflects the time that the cooking cycle itself begins. SO - you will need to add a whack of time to any recipe you may plan that involves preheating. Which is most of them!
Browning anything is a bit of a chore with the deep pot in a fairly restricted area for my big hands. When doing that potato bake the stuff we were browning turned into a soggy limp mess that looked way more like something sautéed ... rather than something browned! I wonder whether the element needs just a tot more power to pull off this particular function really well??
A large number of the savoury recipes seem to specify mushrooms for some odd reason. Which REALLY limits what we can use the thing for when we happen to have a family member with a mushroom allergy!!!!!
And finally ... don't expect that you will always be cooking up an original masterpiece ... we have encountered a few recipes that call for prepacked stuff to be added, such as a Greens cake mix in one instance. Yep - it even specifies the brand to use!!!
Now ... what was that question I posed before .... love it or loathe it?!?! This has been easily the most difficult purchase to rate that we've ever made. For all these annoying misgivings, the food it puts out makes you just squirm with delight. We've tried a lot of stuff from the savoury menus ... but not the sweet yet - put off when we didn't happen to have a Greens cake mix for the one we were seriously contemplating!! But everything that's come out of it has been just smashing. And that inner pot is shiny and very non stick .... a breeze to wash with just a rub or two of the dishwashing cloth. For end product it scores a 5/5 .... for the path to get there it scores a low 2/5!!
This one is gonna be like that needy best friend we all seem to have. We'll get along just fine ... but it has some annoying traits we just have to learn to accept!!
Excellent multi cooker but some limitations
I remember as I was getting older and my mum wanted to teach me how to cook, one of the first things she did when we entered the kitchen for the first real lesson was put her hands on my cheeks and say “Keep it simple or you won’t enjoy it!” And that’s something I’ve stuck with as I’ve grown up and have a family of my own. There needs to be a core of meals I can cook with stuff I find in the pantry when people just want to eat and I may not feel like cooking. And if the food is healthy and tasty that’s a bonus too.
I remember as the lessons with mum progressed she would be standing behind me telling me what to do next like “Turn on the pan, now chop the chicken, and now measure out this and add that…” until I was at a point where I didn’t need a recipe and things would come naturally.
Now the clever people at Tefal have brought these 2 ideas together to bring you a machine with hundreds of in-built easy recipes that prompt you at each step of the way like mum used to do. But they have done it in such a way that even my 13 year old son can manage and my 11 year old is keen to help; so if cooking for yourself or entertaining friends or family is something you thought wasn’t possible, think again!
Setting up was really easy. The machine lifts straight out of the box and it’s ready to go once you plug it in with a brief wash of the cooking bowl before you start cooking but, surprisingly, there’s no recipe book anywhere to be found. Inside the box there is an instruction book that is easy to follow and a list of recipes contained on the machine but no hard copy of the ingredients you’ll need to buy. Your choices here are to either scroll through a recipe on the front panel and take a photo with your smart phone or do what we did and locate the Adobe reader file copy of the recipe book online and put it on your smart phone to make grocery shopping that touch easier. In fact, you can scroll through it at work and pick-up the ingredients you don’t have on the way home (or better yet, get hubby to do it).
What will also make your life easier is, if you are doing the recipe for the first time, to have the ingredients in the measures or states required by the recipe ready to go – all the chicken chopped, all the spices measured out, all the onion sliced (you get the picture). And I say this because the recipe moves fairly quickly if you are ready to go and all your cooking can be done in a briskly 10mins (compared with 30mins if done conventionally or a couple of hours in a slow cooker for a recipe like massaman curry).
The Cook4me+ will only serve 6 people which requires a bit of gymnastics for us at dinner time. My tribe of 8 all eat together and with teenagers and eating it can be a bit like shovelling coal into a steam engine. It means that we cook a large quantity of rice separately on the stove while the Cook4me+ is preparing the rest, but because the cooking times are so fast it opens up the possibility of having a second course ready in around 10 minutes. We found that the pot retains a bit of flavour too so the second course needs to be stronger. There’s no following up a curry with lovely pikelets here.
The keep warm function is really handy for us on Fridays when a few of us are coming home at different times. It means that we can have the meal ready at 6pm but then it keeps the meal warm as the dribs and drabs (and friends) wander through the front door. Once the pot is about half full you can also shlump the rice in there too and it will keep it all warm together or just buy another Cook4me+ (this might sound strange but don’t forget the Cook4me+ is actually a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a steamer and a rice cooker all in one so buying 2 when it replaces 4 machines isn’t such a silly idea).
Cleaning the machine is a cinch. The cooking part wipes out with a cloth while the pot that holds the food drops straight into the dishwasher. Being non-stick, the pot can also be easily handled in the sink with a bit of hot water and a teenager with a gentle dish brush too.
What I would have loved to see is the machine talk to me like mum did: “Now do this and add that.” I also found it odd that the Cook4me+ is a “no new ideas need apply” type of device. It won’t connect to my phone, I can’t tweak the recipes or delete ones I won’t use and if the pot is only three-quarters full I can’t make the recipe cook for 8 and then increase the cooking time. It can also be frustrating if you forget an ingredient on the list and need to scroll backwards through the recipe when the machine says “add remaining ingredients” because scrolling backwards also rewinds the recipe to the pre-heating stage again.
Cook4me+ has also simplified many of the recipes to make them easy to cook and fast to prepare and my family commented that the recipes I churned out were lacking in depth and complexity compared with the cooking I would normally do.
Having said all that, if you don’t like cooking, you’ve never cooked, or you are interested in cooking healthy, delicious meals in a jiffy then this is the machine for you.
A multicooker is a basically combination of a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a rice cooker, and a steamer. I have long been on a mission to find a really good rice cooker, but without much luck. So I thought I would try a multicooker.
So I tested the Tefal Cook4me+ to see how it did with rice. Surprisingly well, I found. The device is quite large, and very solidly made. The plate inside the lid is screwed on with twelve (12!) screws. A cheap Chinese knockoff would have maybe four if you’re lucky. The inner bowl is solid, and coated with teflon which has shown no signs of peeling off (a common problem with other branded rice cookers). The Cook4me+ is somewhat oddly shaped, like something from the original series of Star Trek perhaps, but it has its own charm. The screen provides detailed instructions as you go; something that is reassuring, and it is pretty foolproof, I found, and the timer function involved in its different modes takes all the stress out of watching the progress of the cooking.
Now with rice, my initial concern, it uses pressure cooking. I was at first a bit dubious, but the results were impressive. In fact, I found that the suggested time (9 minutes) instead of the 20 it usually takes in a normal rice cooker, made getting the meal together a lot more convenient. I add the washed rice to its bowl, with a minimum of 200 gm – it needs you to specify the actual amount used in 100 gm increments. So I used scales until I learnt how much a cup of rice weighs, having gotten used to the “cup” marks used on rice cookers. I add twice that amount of water. Follow the instructions, and very quickly I got cooked rice. In fact, I found the suggested time to be a bit long, and the rice (basmati usually) was, at least in my initial attempts, a little over cooked. After a little experimentation, I decided two-thirds the time, ie, only 6 minutes for 400 gm of rice (2 Australian cups) gave better results. But still, even with the pre-heating, it took less than ten minutes from getting the rice from the cupboard to scooping it cooked on to the plate. At the end of the cycle, it goes automatically into a warming mode, but usefully, the timer shows how long it’s been warming (and so, how overcooked it’s become). So I loved it for making rice. It now has the best results from any rice cooker I’ve used, and takes much less time, as well.
It’s also a pressure cooker. Now I already own one, which is the basic version used on the stove, but while it cooks well, I don’t use it all that much because it is complicated to use, and frankly, a bit scary. I can blame that on the famous rhubarb cooking accident from my childhood, which involved by mother using a very old fashioned pressure cooker, but not too successfully. That day still lives vividly in my memories, and the purple stain on the kitchen ceiling was much commented upon for years and years, and I can’t remember my mother ever using that pot again. Of course, pressure cookers have improved since then.
So I made curries and stews in the Cook4me+. Whereas using my old manual pressure cooker was a chore, with all the waiting around, and watching, and seeing if the hissing was meaningful, and then the excitement of opening it up, with never being sure I was doing that too soon and so checking to see where the car keys were in case I needed to go to casualty after. In contrast, the Cook4me+ made the process stress free. The lid locks, and cannot be opened too soon. There is minimal hissing, and the timer and temperature and pressure sensing means you can turn it on and leave to manage on its own. The display shows when it is ready to open, and then goes into a keep warm cycle, with a timer display, after the cycle completes. It suggests the appropriate cycle time, once you identify the ingredient you are cooking.
I am a retired 60+ year old man who likes to cook. But I especially like to cook in a single pan wherever possible, and when I discovered the Cook4me would brown food, then convert to a pressure cooker, and then keep things warm, all inside its’ single pot, I was in male heaven! I had a heart attack a decade ago, and my usual meals nowadays are healthy mediterranean-style cooking; often stir fries with lots of vegetables, in a wok with olive oil. But I know I eat too much fried food. Pressure cooking or steaming stuff is a healthier option, and makes a nice change, giving a different taste to my usual range of ingredients. So I found myself using the Cook4me a lot; browning the meat and onions in a little olive oil, adding more vegies and some water and flavouring, then using the pressure cooker function. Usually only ten minutes is needed, or less; the device guides you is selecting the right time, or you can guess.
The one function of the Cook4me that I thought I may not want to use is the recipe option. You can select a recipe, and the display panel gives you step-by-step instructions, listing the ingredients and amounts, giving you sufficient directions, and then cooking them appropriately in a variety of ways – browning, steaming, pressure cooking, etc; taking you through all the stages. I am a fairly good cook so I didn’t expect to use this. But I got curious, and it turned out to be a great thing to do. The recipes are all good ones; I tried a couple of deserts, and to my surprise, it was fun, and also a motivator. I hadn’t made goulash for years, but I did recently following the recipe; selecting it at random based on the ingredients I had on hand, and because of nostalgia. So now my repertoire of dishes has expanded. I imagine that this function would be useful for not-so-good, or inexperienced, cooks too.
The device is a bit complicated, but the disassembly to wash it, and reassembly afterwards was not hard, nor much of a chore. The impressive engineering seems to have paid off. I found that it sits on my bench top all the time; I use it too much to need to put it away in a cupboard. It has replaced my old rice cooker, manual pressure cooker, slow cooker (though I haven’t use the Cook4me+ slow cooking function yet – I don’t see the need, because the pressure cooker achieves the same result in a few minutes). I’ve used it to make mashed potatoes, in less than ten minutes. I’ve done real potato chips, pre-cooked in the Cook4me+ for four minutes, dried and then fried in oil to make amazingly good hot chips, in very little time, less than using frozen chips and much cheaper too, with a better result. Steaming vegetables is so quick and easy, I am doing that much more than I used to.
The Cook4me+ is being used a lot. It’s great and quick for making rice. I am eating healthier. There’s less mess and hardly any additional cleanup needed. It operates on its own, with little supervision needed and the pressure cooking is stress free. I cannot fault it. In my view, it is a really helpful addition to my kitchen, and I have been impressed at how versatile it has become. I am surprised at how good it is as a motivator to eat healthier and the results are more scrumptious than if I had cooked with my old equipment, or with my old approach and cooking style.
I could definitely live without it...
I got the Tefal Cook4Me through the Product Review Ambassadeur Program and was honestly surprised to get such a appliance on the first go. I am pretty capable around a kitchen although no masterchef of any sort, and see the use of a stove and oven 99% of the time and a microwave whenever needed (but hardly ever!).
So this appliance - BULKY! A huge well packed box with all its bits well packaged, it itself is a shiny black colour and chrome accents (so will show scratches and dust) and hard to store in a conventional kitchen of the late 80's! So atop the bench it went and covered with a cloth to keep the dust off of it while not it use - and all the accessories and paperwork stored inside of it while not it use too.
Starting the machine up is accompanied with a really really annoying start up tune (as to powering it off) - which has to go through the motions twice which is unnecessary. The screen and navigation through the screen is easy enough, however can get frustrating with the rotating dial and return button - especially for accessing the recipes and ingredients - just resorted to using the Galaxy Tab to figure out the ingredients and how to's whilst in use. Plenty of vids on YouTube and other documentation online - plenty of people using these machines all willing to post their experiences (some if not most were very gimmicky no real help).
Tried the lamb shanks for 3 people - firstly the shanks were too long and had to be trimmed down and wasn't that a process, and levels of liquid weren't the best either - the max level of liquids of the bowl itself seems a little low. And the recommended amounts per person seems a little unsubstantial especially for a dinner when it comes to three people (two adults and a teenager).
We also found that the ingredients list was very strict and that certain portion sizes were lacking in the real world - you could massage certain weights however in my mind it's too strict, and you cant really deviate away and use the machine for your own style of cooking. I also have never had to use a set of electronic kitchen scales and extra bowls for weighing ingredients ever, until receiving this machine...
We went through a number of other meals however my other half has given up on the machine itself - she stating that she can cook exactly how she wants and more on the cooktop and microwave oven as she likes and doesn't invest all her time on the one machine.
I found a few of the uses for this particular machine pointless for example "rice" - I can do rice either on the stove or in the microwave easily enough without the need to dirty this machine and go through the rigmarole of cleaning it and its associated pieces (tear down) - and their is only a couple of minutes different between the two ways.
Another thing that caught my eye was the power consumption of this machine - it being 1220 / 1450 Watts - that's pretty high for a single use machine. Fair enough that you can do a whole meal in this for yourself or a couple however seeing a larger meal cooked in this machine is not a convenient procedure due to its internal size.
I also took this Tefal to my mothers, let her have a go and what she thought of it... For a 66 year old lady it was a mission to get her to participate and to "let go" of old traditional cooking practices - certainly a easy way to start WW3 in a european household with this machine! She absolutely got lost in the menue department and the use of the scrolling wheel and so forth, especially the ingredients, the weights and so forth; she usually knows exactly what she needs by eye not by weight. She wasn't really happy with it and voiced her opinion that it's a 'gimmick' and "why does anybody need a machine like this if they have a cooktop and oven?", "create more work on looking at ingredients and writing and looking at weights" etc - for the pessimist she's quite the optimist.
Cleanup, well lots of undoing and fidgeting with the lid of the appliance, the bowl and steamer tray itself is easy enough to clean, however special attention was made not to scratch the bowles teflon coating on either side due to the bowl being made of Aluminium - which isn't great for your health if exposed to.
So after ownership over the last 4 weeks or so, I can honestly say its neither a time saver or made me a better cook in the kitchen, its like a kitchen utensil that is there - some people will absolutely love this and some will be indifferent to it in the kitchen. So to say sliding multi blade grater grates, a electronic mixer mixes yet there were utensils there before these that existed for many many years before their later electronic / gimmick inventions, their predecessors take up less space and work regardless of electronic or mechanical failure.
Its a tough way to rate it - however a 2.5 Star (between bad and good) would've been my honest rating of the Tefal Cook4Me - just not my type of kitchen aid.
This has been a game changer.
As usual, I like to rant about the product so it’s done and dusted. Well I can’t really fault it, there are only a couple of things I would like them to improve on.
1. The recipes, when you cook them, it says brown for X min, I think it would be nice to have the timer running when you start so it help you achieve a consistent result, then it would say “would you like to stop browning?”, that could be a simple fix as all the tools are available to make it happen.
2. Second, this product has been available in Europe for quite some time, under a different name and brand (depending on the country). They have a fantastic app that you can access with more recipes, forums… with all the tech we have at our disposition why is this app isn’t available in Australia yet. There are a couple but nothing from Tefal. It can be downloaded in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and probably more! Why on earth would you release a fantastic product without all the support you can have at your fingertips? Because you can’t come back to the ingredients list once you have started without starting all the steps over is annoying.
3. Sometimes you want to slow cook, but there is no option to have it covered, the lid is always set for pressure cooking.
There, I am done ranting.
My primary studies were in hospitality, I was a professional chef for a number of years so pressure cooking isn’t in my habits. I got a simple one a few years back and never got to use it. Mainly because I never got the timing right I guess. So when I got it, my first reaction was “another gimmick in the kitchen”. It turned out to be the opposite, I had a busy week when I received the cook4me, so I used it to give some extra time that I didn’t have. I used it for the entire week making 7 dinners and 5 packed lunches, they all turned fantastic. I cooked white rice, barley, soups, gratin, casseroles. I browned meat, onions, steamed vegetable, frozen fish and even dessert…
You would say yes you are a chef… sure you can make it. So I for once asked my wife if she would be able to follow a recipe from the machine and make it without me interfering. She went for the baked potato gratin, she loved it, easy to follow instruction, and a fantastic result. The only issue we got was an error code about not having enough liquid. My guess is since she has some food allergies we swap ingredients and because of that it may have change the amount of liquid available to cook it. But after adding a little water, the recipe went back on track and she got it done perfectly.
So what do I think about it, fantastic! I got the kids lunches done in a blast every morning, literally I was doing all before I had my shower, by the time I was out it was cooked, it would keep it warm until I was doing their lunch box. Then I would clean it in a flash and prep the meal for the dinner, having all the first steps done in advance and using the delay start so it would be cook when we got home. Even the day we got in late it was still hot and not dry at all.
I have to confess I don’t really use the recipes as they should be used, but that’s me. I find something I like, then changes all the ingredients but I still keep the time they use and the amount of liquid necessary. Everything I tried worked very well. One of the dish that is difficult to get right is the risotto, and I love them but it’s too long and not convenient with the kids, because you have to watch it and stir it continuously for 15min all the time. That was my biggest concern, how the risotto would turn out. And what a result, fabulous texture, the rice was cook perfectly. I am not talking flavour here but the main component of the risotto, the texture was just right. That won me over!
To wrap this up,
Is it another gimmick in the kitchen? Definitely not
Is it worth the cost, yes and I would go one more, I would say it would save you money in the long run because it is not leaking heat so it is super-efficient energy saving and cut time of cooking by half.
I have already a pressure cooker do I need that? Probably not if you have good results with yours.
How is the warranty? Well I think it’s ok, but what I like is the fact that the product is repairable if it breaks down after the warranty, so instead of throwing it out and break the bank after the warranty has expire you can fix it and by doing it you help “save the planet” by not having it in the landfill.
Is it easy to clean? Yes very, you can even use the dishwasher (I don’t)
Can I use my regular utensils in it? That one is more of a personal preference, since it has a non-stick coating I personally only use silicon utensils in it to have the bowl last longer. But wooden and plastic are fine. No metal please!
It’s been almost 4 weeks and I still use it on a regular basis at home, it has change the way I cook for the family, I can still do the thing I love cooking even when I am short in time now. The kids still love their cooked lunch but I love the fact that I don’t spend 45min each day cooking before school. I can now do it in less than 15min cleaning included. This machine has change the way I cook the daily meals. Will I use it every day, no but I can guaranty at least 4 times a week and this is worth every penny of this machine.
For those wondering why people don’t have good results or error messages, my advice is make sure you have at least 200ml of liquid in your recipes even when it says less (you can evaporate the excess at the end with the lid open) and the other thing is, the recipes are basics with minimal ingredients so easily affordable and simple, not Masterchef masterpiece use salt and pepper, spices...!
I will keep this updated if anything changes.
It’s a 5 – if you’ve got a family and room in the kitchen and don’t particularly enjoy cooking
Caveats .. the Cook4me was given to me to review so I can’t comment on either its cost/value or its long term quality.
Lots of them - the Cook4me does what it does very well.
It is (in my opinion) a good looking device that I have no problem having out on display (a little like a cartoon version of R2D2).
It incorporates a pressure cooker and so it speeds up the cooking process and hence uses far less power than traditional methods. Since you’re mostly cooking in the evening, in the most expensive time slot, this can add up.
It does basically anything that you would use a saucepan for.
It leads the user through the process, acting as a de facto cook book. A more experienced user can easily deviate from the basic recipes inbuilt.
It has a delayed start option (according to the manual – I had no occasion to use it) so you can pre-load it in the morning and come home to a prepared meal.
It has a large capacity so a full family meal can be prepared in a single process.
It’s scalable in being able to make small amounts.
It makes cooking a much simpler process.
If you enjoy cooking, then you can use it as your assistant to prepare the side dishes (rice etc) while you work on the more fun dishes.
It’s big. It’s not ugly but it takes a big kitchen to hold it or you have to really want its functionality to put up with its continual presence. [ I have an even bigger Espresso machine/grinder pair that I’m happy to have in the kitchen because I want their functionality.]
It doesn’t do things that require an oven or a high heat such as cooking the traditional Australian Sunday roast or searing a steak or stir frying in a wok.
If you enjoy cooking then, in making it simpler, it takes much of the fun out of the experience.
… and, did I say, it’s big (and obvious).
If you just want winter (comfort) food prepared for a family then I’d thoroughly recommend it. Even then its size means that I’d be putting it away in the cupboard in Spring and bringing it back out in late Autumn.
Multiple appliances in one
Don’t be misled, this appliance is not just a pressure cooker, albeit an intelligent one at that, this appliance can also slow cook, steam vegetables and other foods, as well as serve as a great rice cooker. It is marketed as an easy to use automatic cooking appliance, generally angled at the time poor or those not so confident in the kitchen.
The appliance is modern looking, coming in white, red or black and features chrome styling, in keeping with most modern kitchen appliances. It’s styling is easily at home besides the likes of Magimix and Kitchenaid, particularly once the product marketing sticker labels are removed. The chrome finish on the lid can show some finger marks, particularly on the chrome lid open/close handle; however, this can be easily wiped down. It features a 7cm (measured diagonally) colour display, which is easy to read and guides you through its menus, recipes and cooking instructions. Although not touch screen, the menus and features are easily navigated using a push button rotary dial and a back/return button. This is obviously preferential over a touch screen when having to use the appliance amongst food preparation activities.
The holding capacity of the appliance is deceiving – it holds up to six litres, therefore this appliance is comparable to most slow cookers on the market. The removable bowl is light-weight, non-stick and features large firm handles for easy and safe removing of the bowl, a major plus for this product and something that many other appliances lack. The product also features a stainless steel bowl for steaming. This bowl features folding handles that are safe to touch straight after steaming has finished. All parts are easily accessed for fast and simple cleaning.
The appliance consists of over 150 recipes, ranging from starters, main dishes to desserts, and can cook for two, four and six people. The appliance lists the ingredients and quantities required as well as the estimated preparation time and cooking time. The cooking process is step-by-step explaining each step and what to do – this is clearly displayed on the screen – however, the screen perhaps could have been angled upwards slightly for taller people. It is necessary to measure and have ready all the ingredients before commencing the recipe as each step will ask for you to place the ingredients in the bowl but does not refer to the quantity of each ingredient and it is not possible to return to the recipe ingredient screen. This can be overcome by downloading a PDF copy of the recipe book from the Tefal website, which can be viewed on a tablet when using the appliance. It should be noted that Tefal has an app for the appliance – although it contains more recipes, it is not particularly user-friendly – perhaps something that will improve through further development by Tefal. Although I have not tested all the recipes contained in the appliance, the ones cooked have all met, if not exceeded, my expectations. Meals have been well cooked and flavoursome, particularly considering the relatively simple recipes using easily to source ingredients from your local supermarket. Actual cooking time is accurate; however, the preparation time is not so clear, whether it includes the preheating time, which can take several minutes. I have found that the browning time is a fair bit longer than quoted, particularly when cooking for six. Overall, the appliance is fast and saves considerable time compared to conventional cooking methods. It is also programmable with a favourites list, can delay the start time for some recipes for convenience and can keep meals warm without drying them out.
This is an excellent product for those who are not confident in the kitchen or are just beginning to cook – virtually nothing can go wrong. Having said this, this appliance is not only for beginners, those well versed in the kitchen can find this a useful product that can also cook manually or complement more traditional cooking in the kitchen. It can serve as a simple pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, reheater and for keeping meals warm. It can replace multiple appliances in the kitchen, and at just under $300 in some stores, when teamed up with a good food processor can provide an affordable and practical dimension to the kitchen.
Tefal Cook4Me+ makes amatuers into competent cooks and makes me crave for more
We have been using this great little cooker for about two weeks cooking with it daily. What a fantastic machine. It has 150 recipes built-in - making starter, main and desert. Admittedly we haven't tried making desert yet. Other than that, we have tried all other cooking modes - auto and manual ones.
There are so many good things going for this machine - it provides step by step instructions how to get a meal from beginning to the end, when to open the lid, when to close it, when to stir fry - called browning, when to add ingredients, add water, how much ingredients and all that. Being a pressure cooker, it is quick and I absolutely love the count down timer. It keeps warm automatically after it is done and able to reheat if required. Right now it is late autumn and we are heading to winter. There is nothing better than a steamy hot meal, full of flavour, meat falling off the bone, heart warming sauce / soup. Fantastic!
Once we didn't add enough water, it actually tells us and I am still dumb-founded how it even knows?! With a capacity of 6L or cooking capacity of 4L, it is big enough to cook just about anything. The inner pot is aluminium which is light with two large plastic handles on the size. Not only it makes it cool to hold, the pot is light hence very easy to handle. Compared with some of our cast iron cookware, this is great. Aesthetically, it is very round and design is best described as organic, we have the red version which matches perfectly with our kitchen splashback. Lovely!
It has a decent full coloured screen and the resolution is decent. No retina display and you can see some pixelation. But it is sufficient and the menu is clear and display is bright (and adjustable). No touch screen but I am not complaining. Imagine all the grubby finger-prints on it if it were. The interface is a little bit old - rotary dial with two press buttons - OK and Cancel where OK is in the middle of the dial. I wonder if OK may be replaced by a play icon (ie a triangle). This way, OK won't be upside down half the time. Given it has 150 recipes, scrolling though them to find what you want can take a little while. Perhaps it would be great to have an index page. Also, you can select from 2, 4 or 6 people, but the display reads 02, 04 or 06 pers. Why 0-pad the number beats me. Is there a version that cooks for 10 people? Drop the zero and there may be enough room for the entire word - person rather than pers.
There is a condensation trap at the back collecting condensation run-offs when the lid is opened. This trap isn't very securely held in place. It fell out in the box during transit and I worried if it is going to fall out splashing water everywhere. But that has yet to happen.
It doesn't talk to you like some modern machines but does have audio alerts and it can't be muted completely for safety reason. Makes sense. It does have nice rubber feet to keep it from moving about, not that it would easily, especially when it is filled. All washable parts are dishwasher safe which is great and there is clear instructions how to disassemble the lid for cleaning. The cable is heavy duty and doesn't get warm.
Given how mobile phones and tablets have pretty much changed the way we live and interact with electronics / computers, lots of products are using them as display and controls. There is a Cook4Me Connect and Cook4Me+ Connect version in UK. it has 1000+ recipes and more can be added, beautiful large, high res screen, powerful CPU and bluetooth to communicate and control the cooker and of course would support touch screen, gesture, multi-touch. I can go on and on about this! In a word - winner! I want one if only it is available here! With the Cook4Me+, after initially showing you ingredients list and quantity, it doesn't show that ever again. Therefore, we always have the recipe next to the machine on the iPad.
When it is cooking, the count down timer is great. On the other hand, during the preheating phase, while there is a pretty multi-colour progress bar. I prefer to have a count down timer. Perhaps this is not possible because the time may vary based on temperature. But it does make me wonder when it's going to finish, when it is ready to start cooking.
Compared with previous model, the plus model has one more cooking mode and 150 recipes, 64 more than the previous model. Otherwise, it has the same capacity and the same power rating at 1450W. We haven't used the steamer that comes with it, nor have we taken the lid apart for washing yet. Will update when we do. If I am nitpicking, a ladle would be nice.
Technicalities aside, we made risotto a couple of days ago. Just throw in the rice, oil, stock and out comes beautiful fluffy risotto and it tasted so amazing we found it better than many we find in restaurant! No stirring required! Last night, we cut up an onion, browned it following instruction on the machine. Cut a pumpkin into cubes, threw them into the cooker, add water and out come smooth beautiful pumpkin soup. To make it completely silky smooth, we added some milk and put our hand-mixer through it. Perfect. Because of the non-stick pot, we use less oil and the pot is easy to clean. Makes our valuable evening much more productive. While it costs a fair amount more than a normal pressure cooker, it is an absolute winner!
Lastly, there's quite a community of users of the Cook4Me and Cook4Me+ hence lots of recipe suggestions online and help available and quite a few video tutorial and reviews online.
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