Published on January 25th, 2015 | by Greg
Bellini Intelli Kitchen Master: An Unusual Multi-Appliance
When you hear the phrase “combines eight appliances in one”, you probably immediately think about TV infomercials, and television pitchmen trying to sell you the latest crazy gadget. We’ll be honest: that’s exactly what we thought when we found out about today’s device, a piece of gear that might easily be mistaken for one sold on a late night sales program. But one of the weird truths about our modern world is that the kitchen definitely varies widely beyond the basics. Many countries would raise their eyebrows at having a home deep fryer, while many Americans shrug at the thought of having a rice cooker or on-demand hot water dispenser. Crock pots are not universal, and neither is today’s specialty appliance.
The Bellini Intelli Kitchen Master basically takes a compact food processor and adds a cooking element. With 1000W of heating power and 500W of motor power, you can blend and dice and puree like in a decent blender, but can then have everything cook in the same bowl. This can save both space and time in the right situation, since you don’t need to worry about a stove and can reduce some prep time. Originally designed in Australia, there is a European competitor called Vorverk Thermomix that we’ve heard about- but they are incredibly expensive and hard to find in North America. A company called Cedar Lane took the Australian version and modified it, adapting it for local use, bringing the Bellini to our shores.
It might appear that the machine is trying to do a lot, and it is- but the functions that might typically be kept separate are ones that can make sense to combine. For instance, to make many soups, you might traditionally dice each ingredient, then combine them in a pot, cooking it all carefully and watching it, stirring it manually. With the Bellini, you can quickly cut a pepper and onion into quarters, take a few small tomatoes and some garlic cloves, add half a chicken breast and some stock, press a few buttons and literally walk away and let it do the rest, changing only the blade when necessary. In the package, you not only get the main body, but a separate kitchen scale (helpful if you don’t already have one), as well as a mixing tool, spatula, a couple of stainless steel blade attachments for chopping or stirring, and a lid (which has a handy measuring cup). The bowl holds about two liters, which is enough for many uses but could feel too small for larger batches (like when making soups). It’s easy to overfill, and we didn’t try the added steamer attachment, but it’s another inclusion that might make it more useful in some scenarios.
The Kitchen Master is fairly easy to clean, especially in comparison to the multiple implements and utensils and pots that you might typically use in the course of making a meal. It’s a bit noisy, and the base feels plastick-y though, with controls that are simple but fiddly- you’re going to be twisting knobs and experimenting, looking for the right combinations. We were impressed at some of our results, especially desserts like cream cheese and custards that came out creamy and smooth, better than many methods with far less manual labor and hassle. And the “meal in a bowl” concept is solid, especially for singles or couples with dietary restrictions or allergies, who need to cook but don’t love the clean-up and are happy to simplify the process. The bellini intelli kitchen master is clever and fairly efficient, but definitely a niche product that requires some trial and error and shines brightest in specific circumstances. For us, a stockpot, stove, cutting board and knife are still tried and true- but it was certainly nice to skip watching pots boil, simmer, stirring for long periods. At a lower price, it might be an easier recommendation, but at nearly $600, the Bellini Intelli Kitchen Master is a bit of a tough sell. Still, it delivered on its promises, a compact wonder that’s available now online and in stores.