The Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker a self-stirring cooking pot, designed in collobaration with the TV chef. Is it game over for the spatula?
Self stirring kitchen appliances aren't new – the Tefal Actifry has been knocking out 'healthy' chips for years – but Philips claim the HomeCooker can 'stir, steam, sauté, melt, simmer, stew, boil, and even fry while cooking unattended.' It's a tempting proposition for the spoon shy, but can Jamie Oliver's latest collaboration really save us effort in the kitchen?
Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker: Features
At the heart of the Philips HomeCooker HR1040 is the large 3-litre stainless steel pan, complete with 'Autostir' spoon. It sits on a 1500W electric heating element with temperature (40 – 250° C) and timer (0-99min) controls. Also included is a glass lid, steam tray for cooking fish, a steam basket for healthy vegetables and a tray for cooking pasta all of which can be chucked in the dishwasher.
The built-in stirring arm swishes slowly around the pan keeping all the ingredients moving. This action – worryingly reminiscent of a sewage treatment plant – prevents food from burning and sticking to the base. Ignore the omnipresent celebrity chef, the 'Autostir' is the main attraction here.
You also get the obligatory Jamie Oliver cook book, with 25 recipes all tailored to the HomeCooker. It's a decent read and infinitely more important than the instruction manual. Using the HomeCooker is easy – it's just a hi-tech saucepan with a timer - but knowing how to actually cook something successfully with it is a totally different matter.
Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker: Design
With its brushed stainless steel pan and matt black accessories the HomeCooker looks nice enough, but at 34cm diameter you better get used to it because it is huge and you'll do well to find a cupboard big enough to store it.
That said all the parts slot together well and stack tidily when not needed. The unit feels solid and the base reassuringly stable, but considering the hefty price tag a little more metal and a lot less plastic would have been nice.
Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker: Performance
Proof is in the pudding – well Hearty Minestrone Soup – and with the help of the recipe book we were thoroughly impressed with our lunchtime efforts. The HomeCooker stirred, simmered and boiled, the onion didn't weld to the base of the pan and the timer made sure everything was cooked properly.
Simply select the temperature set the timer, turn on the stirrer and away you go.
But it's not revolutionary. It's over engineering. Spending a couple of minutes pushing ingredients around a pan isn't wasting time, it's called cooking.
In fact a lot of the recipes, while wholly automated and 100% spoon free take ages to cook. Goulash in 230 minutes, Chicken Korma in 95 minutes, even mini roast potatoes take 70min. Admittedly you don't have to be slaving over a stove for all that time – great for parents with kids to entertain - but you do need to be at home and not in a hurry.
Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker: Verdict
The Jamie Oliver HomeCooker does a good job heating, timing and stirring your dinner as it cooks while the basket attachments for cooking pasta and steaming vegetables make it more flexible than nearest rival the Tefal Actifry.
But we're just not sure anyone actually needs it, especially not for £250. For the same money you could buy a top notch food processor, non stick pan, and – oh the irony - Jamie's 15-Minute Meals book saving you hours waiting for the Autostir to stop.
Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker release date: Available now
Philips Jamie Oliver HomeCooker price: £250
Review by Chris Haslam