The kitchen gadget with a cult following – the Thermomix

The kitchen gadget with a cult following – the Thermomix

If you don’t live in Australia (or Germany, Poland or Spain) you’ve probably never heard of the Thermomix. It’s a kitchen gadget designed and made in Germany by a company called Vorwerk that isn’t sold in shops, or even online. Instead it’s sold directly to customers by “authorised consultants”. That kind of thing makes me highly skeptical, and more than a little bit scared.

The Thermomix has a hugely popular following here in Australia. It’s almost obsessive, for those who have them. In fact, it’s been likened to a cult…the cult of Thermomix. Another reason to be scared.

So what is it exactly? Well, it’s a kitchen gadget, but it can do a lot. The Thermomix Australia website claims it “unites the functions of more than 10 gadgets in one single appliance”. It can chop, beat, mix, emulsify, mill, knead, blend, cook, stir, steam, weigh and melt. Impressive, huh? It also has an impressively hefty price tag to match.

So is it a big con? A huge waste of money? A fad?

Well, we’ve just bought one.

[Coughs awkwardly]

It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, though. We discussed it for months. I first heard about them when I picked up my second-hand Magimix food processor from a seller on Gumtree, who had just bought the Thermomix. I bought a couple of other second hand appliances – the sellers had also bought Thermomixes. I even ended up chatting to a courier delivering a parcel to my flat about his Thermomix, and his son’s one, and one he delivered to a customer who’d purchased it on eBay and got stung for huge customs fees!

I also found out that quite a few of my friends had them – and they aren’t the types who purchase expensive kitchen gadgets just because their neighbours have them.

Interestingly, no-one I’ve spoken to has one and regrets it.

It’s often touted as a great gadget for people who don’t cook, but want to cook. A great tool for making things from scratch. A superb way to cut processed food, packet sauces and preservatives out of your diet. Well I do cook, I don’t eat anything with preservatives, and I do make everything from scratch. So this wasn’t really motivation for me. However, I also make a lot of mess in the process, the washing up seems endless, and sometimes I feel chained to the stove. Plus I have a tiny kitchen. I have a lot of kitchen gadgets, all well-used but the kitchen is cluttered. I still need to improvise a lot. I mill my own flour and sugar, but I use the coffee grinder and it takes forever. The blender isn’t powerful enough to blend greens smoothly (for green smoothies), so I have to use the hand blender first before adding it the the jug blender with the other bits and pieces – extra washing up and extra hassle. This extra hassle also puts my boyfriend off helping out!

I’m not against expensive kitchen appliances if they work well. Magimix food processors aren’t cheap either, and they don’t do half of the jobs that the Thermomix can. The thing is, you can buy most other appliances second-hand. It is very hard to find a second-hand Thermomix. Maybe they are so good that owners don’t want to part with them. Or maybe the owners feel too foolish at spending so much money on something they don’t use that they keep it anyway. I didn’t doubt that I would use it regularly, but I wasn’t sure about buying a brand new shiny appliance.

In the end, the appeal of being able to unchain myself from the kitchen, have less washing up and MORE TIME (yay!) won the argument, and our Thermomix arrived at the end of last week (in all it’s plastic-wrapped glory, sadly). I’ve already sold my beloved Magimix, on Gumtree, and got back what I paid for it – no depreciation when you buy second-hand!

I’ve used it a few times so far, and my boyfriend has ventured into the kitchen a few times to try it out too. (Isn’t it amazing, the lure of gadgets for men?! He was never so enamoured with the food processor.) Despite the enormous number of button and dials it’s simple enough to use. I love that the jug is made of stainless steel, not plastic. It’s also super easy to clean and so far we’ve had great results. This morning I tried making green smoothies in it for the first time. It was lovely to not have a drink that involves chewing mouthfuls of lettuce.

Have I been brainwashed by all the hype? Possibly. Will Thermomix change my life? Probably not. But I don’t think it will be one of those purchases that six months down the line I’ll be regretting, either.

7 Responses to The kitchen gadget with a cult following – the Thermomix

  1. I had all the same issues are you initially – I really had pyramid selling. i looked on gumtree or 18 months. But it is not just hype – it is a 007 product for sure! And did you know the rumour is that you can’t buy them in the States because the fast food industry stopped them coming into the country!
    Enjoy it – consider it preparation for a post fossil fuel future!

  2. Looks impressive, and I’ve never heard of it! (it also looks quite complicated). I’m still not sure exactly what it is– how about some photos in action? And here I thought we lived in such a small world these days…

    • There are a lot of buttons, yes, but it’s not that complicated to use. Imagine a food processor that heats, and has built in scales. The blades are only sharp on one side, so it chops when spinning one way but if you switch it to reverse it stirs. My boyfriend is keen to make risotto as he can leave the machine to do it’s thing, no need to stir (as the machine does it for you), yet still claim that he cooked dinner!

  3. Yes Really very impressive kitchen gadget. Its first multinational kitchen gadget that I ever seen. Very well written.

    • Haha, no I didn’t, but yes, good thanks! I use it every day. Multiple times a day. I use it mostly as a blender (smoothies, nut milk, dips, desserts, sometimes to blend soup once it’s cooked) and occasionally to melt stuff, and to heat milk or nut milk and make hot choc, but I don’t really like it for cooking. I have used the varoma attachment to steam fish (which we only buy very occasionally), but generally I prefer saucepans for cooking. You can’t brown onions in it, it mushes risotto and cooking dahl takes triple the time.

      It’s so easy to clean, and as I do so much cooking I really appreciate that. Plus, being stainless steel it doesn’t keep the smell of the previous food in there, whereas the plastic magimix would, so if I made cake after making hummus they’d be a tint of garlic – not good.

      I have to confess, when I go on holidays I often take it with me – it’s good knowing that if the kitchen facilities are rubbish I can make smoothies, dips and even cook with it!

      I think it was a worthwhile investment : )

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