TRIED & TESTED / Ready for the chop: Food processors promise to perform those tricky tasks for the busy cook. But do they live up to their claims? Our panel find out

WHEN food processors first came on the market in the Seventies, the idea was that they would slice, shred, mix, blend and mince without the fiddly business of having to fit a different accessory for each job. Today's food processor, though, is likely to have more accessories than Imelda Marcos. There are specialised attachments for virtually every kitchen task you've ever heard of - and some that you probably haven't. You can also buy a food processor combined with a blender, a food processor with a mini-bowl for preparing small quantities, or even, for the ultimate in culinary one-upmanship, invest in a food-processing system instead - a mixer, processor and blender in one.

We asked six students at Leith's School of Food and Wine in London to set aside their chef's knives for an evening and see how well our selection of seven food processors performed. A few cut fingers later, these are the results of our test.

THE PANEL

Jo Brook, Sarah Hobbs, Rachel Oatley, Tamsin Burnett-Hall, Sarah Jones and Charlotte Mullens, all full- time students at Leith's School of Food and Wine.

THE TEST

Each student tested one job on the machines: grating Cheddar (Sarah Jones); mixing a sponge-cake dough (Tamsin Burnett-Hall); chopping parsley (Rachel Oatley); pureeing a banana (Sarah Hobbs); and whisking egg whites (Charlotte Mullens). Jo Brook sliced onions and, when the food processor had a julienne blade, julienned carrots. The students gave each machine marks for how easy it was to assemble, dismantle and clean, how good the instructions were, how convenient it was to use, and how well it performed the task being tested. The marks were converted into a best-buy star rating.

**PHILIPS HR7805

ELECTRONIC COMBI 3000

3.5 litre bowl, pounds 149.95

This machine scored well, though overall its performance was no better than the cheaper Philips HR2892. It didn't mix the cake well - the mixture, which was lumpy, stuck to the side of the bowl leaving the flour at the bottom - but it was good at grating the cheese. It has a much bigger bowl than any of the others, useful if preparing food for large numbers of people, and many gadgets, such as a juice extractor and citrus press. 'An amazing array of extra attachments, probably too many to be practical,' Tamsin Burnett-Hall said. 'It seems good value, but you probably wouldn't use many bits.' 'It made a lot of noise when working. But the blades come in a neat case,' Sarah Hobbs said.

**BRAUN UK280

1 litre bowl (plus mini-bowl), pounds 89.99

The students rated this processor highly for most tasks. Rachel Oatley said: 'It was fast and efficient and chopped the parsley very finely.' Good features included the ability to change the thickness of slices without having to buy new discs, and blades to grate both finely, for cheese for example, and coarsely, for apples and carrots. It didn't perform so well on the cake-mixing: 'The wire on the whisk was very flimsy. The mixture got stuck around the edge and up the centre of the bowl,' Tamsin Burnett-Hall said. The machine was also rated the hardest to wash.

*TEFAL FOODMASTER FOOD PROCESSOR

800ml bowl, pounds 39.99

You won't get an array of exotic attachments with this machine. It is very basic, with only one speed control. The panel's view was that, in this case, you get what you pay for and they it didn't rate it as highly as the other machines. While it pureed the banana, grated cheese and mixed the sponge well, it didn't chop the parsley very finely and sliced the onions unevenly. It doesn't have an egg whisk. 'Very simple to use, but the bowl is a bit small,' Rachel Oatley said. 'The double feeder made it harder to clean, with lots of nooks and crannies - probably designed by a man]' Sarah Jones said.

***PHILIPS HR2892

2.5 litre bowl, pounds 64.95

This machine was almost as good as the winner, the much more expensive Braun Multisystem. It was one of the best cake-mixers and parsley- choppers. 'Fast and efficient. Chopped very evenly,' Rachel Oatley said. It didn't score so well on cheese grating. 'Only does quite coarse grating and left a large lump,' Sarah Jones said. The most obvious disadvantage, however, was the baffling instructions. 'The diagrams show how to assemble your machine in just 24 easy steps. The instructions are very complicated, with symbols that are too small to see,' Tamsin Burnett-Hall said.

**KENWOOD FP505 WITH LIQUIDISER

1 litre bowl and 1 litre liquidiser, pounds 84.99

This performed all the tasks competently and was the best at cake-mixing, but it failed the onion-slicing test miserably. 'Terrible, did not work at all,' Jo Brook said. 'Easy to use, though switch is difficult to turn on. Worked well, though didn't chop parsley very finely,' Rachel Oatley said. The panel found the instructions clear and the machine easy to assemble, dismantle and wash up. They did not like the plastic sleeves for the blades: 'If the blade is as sharp as it should be, they would be sliced in half in a short while,' Sarah Jones said. But Tamsin Burnett-Hall added: 'The machine is easy to keep clean. The instructions are easy to follow. I would be happy to have this machine sitting on my worktop.'

**MAGIMIX CUISINE SYSTEME 3000

2.5 litre bowl (with mini-bowl) pounds 99.95

As with most of the machines, this was good at some things - in this case cake-mixing and cheese-grating - but not at others. It wasn't much use for pureeing the banana and was the worst at whisking the egg white. 'The whites did not fluff up as much. Most of the mixture flew to the sides of the bowl and after five minutes there was still a bit of runny white at the bottom,' Charlotte Mullens said. The panel couldn't see much point in the mini-bowl, which fits inside the main bowl, but the storage tray for the accessories, which is intended to fit into a kitchen drawer, was appreciated. The machine regulates its speed automatically, depending on the food being processed: 'This makes use much less complicated,' Sarah Jones said.

**** BRAUN MULTISYSTEM .TX.-2 1/2 pint bowl, blender, mixer bowl pounds 199.99

This got the highest scores for the various tasks in the test. It did everything well. 'Excellent for whisking egg whites. Of all the machines, it produced the best texture, with lots of very tiny bubbles, very light and fluffy,' said Charlotte Mullens. The panel also found it easy to assemble, dismantle and wash, and thought that it had good instructions. The only disadvantage is the price. 'Good for the serious cook who wants to cut down time in the kitchen, but for basic use it is rather expensive,' Tamsin Burnett-Hall said.

Next Week: Lawnmowers

(Photographs omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Emo rockers Fall Out Boy

music

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment

film

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links