* Prices may differ from that shown
Bye Bye, Baby George
My much-used George Forman baby grill finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago after many years of faithful service and ended up being despatched to appliance heaven when its grill plates would no longer heat up. It didn't go out with a bang, (fortunately for me) and admittedly it had seen better days, it was looking quite grubby after being used a few hundred times and I wasn't that upset to see the back of it but I knew that I would have to buy something to replace it as I had grown used to the grill, loved the food it cooked and I did want another. My baby George was only really big enough for cooking a couple of burgers at a time and was too small really for what I needed so when I went shopping for a replacement I decided that I would look for a bigger model and that's when I spotted the George Forman Heritage grill, the subject of this review.
Hello to it's bigger Brother
The Heritage version of the classic George Forman grill takes the familiar design of the regular grill and adds a stylish twist, it still has an upper and lower grill plate but the Heritage model also has a long, chrome handle attached to the upper part of the machine and to me this gives it a panini-press appearance. It's available in a few colours and as I like to colour co-ordinate the appliances in my kitchen I bought the red model to match my toaster although it can also be bought in Green, Cream or Black and as usual for a George Forman grill it's creator's signature is scrawled across the outer, upper grill plate. You are supplied with a plastic drip tray which sits at the front of the machine and anyone familiar with the concept of a 'healthy grill' will know that the grill plates are set at a slight angle so any fat or grease that is released from the meats that you cook can be drained off and caught in the drip tray. It's a clever design I must admit and the grill's in general have been around for quite a few years now making George Forman not only a household name but a small fortune no doubt in the kitchen appliance industry.
This is a five portion grill and does take up a fair bit of space on my kitchen counter but it is well designed and looks quite stylish in red and contrasting chrome, the mains cord is of a good length that it doesn't have to sit too close to the plug socket and its solid construction means that it sits firmly in place. The grill plates are ridged and are fixed into position so can't be removed when you want to clean them but are easy enough to wipe over with a damp sponge or kitchen roll and there is plenty of space to be able to cook a fair few portions of food in one go. I find that I can easily fit a steak and some mushrooms onto mine if I'm cooking for just myself or if I have company then it easily fits 4 burgers or chicken breasts onto the grill plate and as food cooks from both the top and bottom I find that it's quick, easy and very convenient for what I want to use it for. There is a temperature light on the top part of the machine that lets you know when the plates are hot enough to cook food although I should point out that there is no temperature control so you can't regulate the heat that the grill produces. This can be troublesome as it means that food does cook quickly and can burn easily if you don't keep a close eye on it and although you do get accustomed to how the grill works in no time at all I do think that a temperature control would make the process a lot better. It is of course really easy to use, you simply plug it in, switch it on and place whatever it is you want to cook on the lower grill plate and then close the lid. The grill gets very hot very fast and within minutes you can hear your food sizzling as it cooks and the end results are always delicious with grilled burgers and steak coming out cooked to perfection.
There are a couple of niggles though with this particular model which I want to mention and the main one for me is the chrome handle which I personally feel is a bit on the cheap side. It looks great but it doesn't feel like its made from high quality material and of course it's a fingerprint magnet so it's a pain to keep clean, I realise that it's probably a design quirk to give the machine a stylish look but it's surpluss to requirements really and doesn't really do anything other than attract marks. The upper plate is raised by using the handle but it didn't need to be made of chrome so if you do buy this model do be aware that it will show every fingerprint and blemish and you'll be forever wiping it over to keep it looking clean. The other slight concern I have with this grill is with the grill plates themselves and compared to my older Baby George I think that they have lessened in quality as the models have moved on as they feel thinner than they did before and lack the robustness that I have come to expect from a George Forman grill. This particular model is made to match the Russell Hobbs "Heritage" range and I can't help but wonder if a few corners have been cut in the machines build quality as it doesn't feel as well made as my old grill did and the plates look like they have been made from cheaper materials. It could just be how these are nowadays, my Baby George was a few years old and one of the earlier models and whilst I have had no problems whatsoever with my new grill I have a niggling concern that it's not going to last as long as my old one did, hopefully my concerns will be unfounded but I do have my doubts.
That said there are plenty of positive points with this grill, cleaning the grill plates is relatively easy and although they don't lift away from the body of the grill I find that so long as I wipe them over whilst the plates are still warm then any excess food is easily removed and the plates retain their original look. I like the versatility of the grill, it can be used to cook meats and vegetables and makes a lovely hot sandwich and I do think that overall it's a well made kitchen appliance that fits my kitchen nicely and I'm far more inclined to recommend this model rather than advising avoidance. It can be expensive though, it's retail price is around the £60.00 mark which I think makes it overpriced for what it actually is, I managed to find mine at half price so only paid £30.00 which I believe is a more accurate figure as it is only a grill albeit a 'healthy' one so I would recommend that you shop around if this model has taken your eye as there are bargains to be had if you look in the right places.
All in all there's enough here for me to recommend this grill; it looks good in my opinion (even if the chrome handle is a pain to keep clean), cooks food quicker than a conventional grill and the grill plates are easy enough to wipe over once its been used. It's probably not worth £60.00 in all honesty but if you can find it for the price I paid and you want to colour-coordinate your kitchen appliances then it's worth buying and my 4 star rating here takes everything mentioned in this review into consideration.
Thanks for reading.
George Foreman 18295 Heritage Grill / Red / Short name: George Foreman 18295