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Kenwood Cooking Chef XL

Kenwood "smartifies" an iconic kitchen appliance to great effect.

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At the risk of sounding a bit gonzo, something very special happens to my psyche as I become aware that a new aspect of our lives is seemingly being digitised or made "smart". Although it took me many years to take the leap to develop a smart home, it tickles me in all the right places, to say the least, when technologies are allowed to expand the horizon, whether it's the robotic lawnmower or patio lights that respond to an open door with a sensor.

I'm not much of a baker myself, but my girlfriend is, so when we got the opportunity to test what could easily be described as the Mothership Zeta of mixers (to draw on the Fallout lingo a little further), it was only when I saw the huge display on one side that I really sat up in my chair. Because yes, technological smartification has come for the humble mixer, and the result is Kenwood's Cooking Chef XL.

Kenwood Cooking Chef XL

It's perhaps crucial to state at the outset that this is not "just" a simple mixer. This is also a thermoblender that can heat ingredients up to 180 degrees through induction. This means there's a lot more under the hood than most competitors, and it also means that it weighs over 10 kilos and comes with 24 accessories, all of which help create the feeling that you have one of the kitchen's true all-in-ones.

Most of it is stainless steel, impeccably put together and quite stylishly designed too. Yes, it all shines in that chrome kind of way, so you have to be in favour of this more mirrored visual touch, but it's hard not to look at the Cooking Chef XL with awe, especially knowing how much it can do and how well it does it.

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The display is 4.3" and is called CookAssist. The idea is that through this touch display you can follow specific steps of a given recipe, operate the induction heat if you need to cook a specific dish, such as risotto. This example was not pulled out of thin air, it was suggested by Kenwood themselves in a YouTube video, and we decided to follow their lead and the results were overwhelming to say the least.

There are plenty of recipes available via the Kenwood World app, but there are also recipes on the display itself, shown step-by-step, which of course can be cooked almost entirely using the machine's various accessories. If you're not into risotto, or don't bake much, how about curry? Sauces? Stews? There really aren't many limitations here, and now that Kenwood hasn't been fussy about the number of extras in the package, the sky's the limit.

However, you have to shell out £1,200, and that's in a world where a Kenwood Titanium Chef Baker XL is priced at near a third of that price. That's why induction heating is the decisive factor, because even though you can make instant soup like a Vorwerk Thermomix, it doesn't offer the same functionality.

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Kenwood Cooking Chef XL

And here it might be worth mentioning that you get a whisk, a dough tool, a gigantic 6.7-litre cooking bowl and a steam basket, where everything is so infinitely deliciously put together that it feels even more expensive than it is. You can control the temperature rise from 20 to 180 degrees with precision, and EasyWeigh always gives you a precise weighing of ingredients.

Technological advancement has come after the mixer, and the result is something that might be a bit more expensive yes, but so much more functional, even for those of us who don't know a thing about the world you are now leaving behind.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
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