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Looks good but BOY it's noisy!
Breville VFP033 Intelligent Food Processor
Member Name: azana
Breville VFP033 Intelligent Food Processor
Date: 07/11/11, updated on 08/11/11 (155 review reads)
Advantages: good range of features/blades
This breville is a mid-range food processor, currently being sold at £119, and it comes complete with all the parts you can see in the photo, there's a spatula, cutting blade, whisk blade and also some graters and choppers as well as there being a blender jug and the actual processing unit. It's billed as being an "intelligent" food processor; this is because it has different buttons on the front for both the blender and food processor allowing you, in theory to blend, mix and chop at the press of a button. Since I received the processor, and opened it in great excitement, I've used it extensively, although I do have a few issues with it, as you shall see.
To start with the positives, this food processor is great if you are looking for something with a small footprint on your worksurface, it's only 18cm across and slightly less deep, and what's more is easy to store as everything, bar the blender jug, fits into the main body of the processor or into the little storage drawer at its base, which is a nice feature. This makes everything easy to access when you cook a lot as I do, and saves you from having to find a space for everything in already jammed-full cupboards. Build wise this is relatively well made and has a cord of a good length, I'd say about 80cm, and rubber grips so that it sits well on my work surface when in use, it's not prone to moving around even when in full use. The processor has a white body which I mention as I thought it was going to be a silver finish which is how it looked on the amazon page to me; it's a good looking machine in my opinion, when in use the little buttons even have a slight backlight feature to them which is very fancy. However, much as it pains me to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak, there are a few niggles which I feel I must mention.
Firstly, the blades are very sharp so it's a bit of a shame that there is only one inner spindle onto which most things have to be slotted on and of, which I would imagine I would lose at my peril. Changing the blades with there being only one spindle isn't always particularly easy and is quite cumbersome and time consuming particularly as far as the main cutting blade is concerned. I've got to admit I struggle to fit the chopping blade mainly as you have to press in two bits on its rim before taking it on and off. This makes me loathe to use the whole range of blades all the time as it's not particularly easy switching between them and the main blade is quite scarily sharp, it's even labelled as such. Tested this machine thoroughly though I have; through a range of different uses (yorkshire batter mix, blending tomatoes, making coleslaw, chopping onions, cake making and even making pasta dough) I've found everything leak free, though when you wash the bowl water does seem to pool in the handle - not an issue hygiene wise but it does make it prone to condensation which is a bit unsightly. This is a shame as, for the price, this is quite a good looking machine, and it also seems to be quite safe, as the bowl locks into place and the blades cannot be activated unless the lid is on, although the blender jug does work without its lid. I've not risked the bowls or attachments in the dishwasher but so far they have worn well and are scratch free and the blades don't seem to have dulled at all.
The capacity of the bowl (1.500 ml and no oz markings interestingly, it seems the age of metric is upon us at last) is probably fine for most cooks, though if you are cooking regularly for a larger family you may need something a bit bigger and certainly I miss the extra 500ml that my old processor had. I do, however, like the fact that the centre pole is small and so it's easy to get cake dough out and cleaning the processor is a breeze as there are no real nooks and crannies for things to get stuck in. The blender jug is reassuringly solid, though it is plastic rather than glass it seems to work well and I find when making eg soup with it, everything pours well and is well blended and mixed.
I have to say though that overriding all the positives the fact is that this processor is surprisingly noisy in use, especially if you are using the blender. It's ear splittingly loud and I don't think I've ever come across a louder appliance. Admittedly the 800 watt motor seems to be able handle anything I can throw at it, but it's very very loud, at times alarmingly so, especially when you are using the "intelligent" features. I've had varied success with these, the preset buttons work well for eg whisking and blending - the programme starts and stops by itself and can be over-ridden if you fear over pulped smoothies, but the "chop" feature seems pretty random, if you press it and leave it to chop, say, an onion, you will be left with puree rather than diced onion.
The processor is intelligent but only to a degree and I do find myself having to press the stop button rather than leaving it to make breadcrumbs by itself. In intelligent mode the motor does go faster and slower by itself as if the food processor knows what it is doing, but I often find myself disappointed with results so find it best to use the "pulse" and "+" , "-" and "stop" buttons which allow me to control the motor and speed of any blades that I am using with great accuracy, albeit whilst making a lot of noise. Another slight issue is that there is no dough blade and the manual (which is a bit vague all round truth be told) doesn't make it very clear which blade to use for this purpose - I have made pasta dough successfully with the main blade but an actual dough attachment would have been nice, and the whisk "blade" could be a bit more robust looking too. The grater blades are good, but not often used as I find I'd rather hand chop or grate things on balance, this isn't particularly a fault with the food processor, I found the same with my previous appliance.
Overall, despite the downsides I've identified this is a good processor within this price bracket, and you do get a fair bit for your money here. Once you have worked out that you are probably not going to use most of the buttons most of the time, it's simple to use, something I feared it wouldn't be given all the buttons. This is a compact little processor that I'm happy to recommend. If I could I'd give it three and half stars, but failing that option I've plumbed for 4 stars as ultimately it does the job well, just rather noisily.
Summary: if you are looking for a compact food processor you could do worse - 3.5 stars???