It feels like months ago that we told you about Thermomix TM6 – and that's because it was! It's now finally launched in the UK, however, and I was fortuitous enough to be able to use one, a while back. And let me tell you: it is the bomb. It's like one of those instant pot things, like the Ninja Foodi we covered this week – but the ultra-deluxe, Star Trek version from the future.
A multi-function appliance that claims to do the job of 20 other kitchen gadgets, you'll see Thermomixes used in TV cooking shows such as the BBC's absolutely intolerable Great British Menu. The chefs on that use them as a kind of robot sous chef, preparing sauces and the like while they get on with chopping up joints of meat and having horribly awkward 'banter'. It is a serious piece of kit and priced accordingly at £1,099. Oh, and you can't just buy one, you have to book an appointment to have it demoed to you. Okay.
Thermomix TM6: what is it?
The TM6 could be described as a food processor that cooks, or an Instant Pot that prepares your meals as well as cooking them. Numerous attachments let you do everything from the everyday: steaming veg, chopping onions, boiling water, making dough, to more advanced things such as making toffee, cooking sous vide and fermenting yogurt.
To this end there are various whisk-type attachments, steamer basket attachments and some bits so esoteric that I still couldn't tell you what they were, but the core of the system is three things.
1. The main bowl/cooking vessel doubles as a set of scales and an oven/hob hybrid. You can keep loading in ingredients (resetting the scales between each) and processing and cooking them. This is fairly genius.
2. The main chopping attachment is an incredibly high precision blender. As such it can reduce food to literally a pulp but on its lower speed settings it can chop or even just stir ingredients. This is genius.
3. Cookidoo, which you have to subscribe to for £39 per year is an online database of 40,000 recipes that syncs to the large touchscreen on the TM6. It can suggest recipes based on what you have in the fridge (type in 'lamb' and see what you fancy, for instance). Once you've chosen, it takes you through step by step, on screen, in a manner that I would describe as genuinely idiot-proof. Seriously, even my boyfriend could use it and he is a right doofus. This is complete and utter genius.
Thermomix TM6: is it any good?
Is the TM6 any good? Yes, it is. Hell, yeah. Practically everything we made using Cookidoo turned out well. Really well. It's also easy to improvise with and make up your own meals, if you have a rough idea of how to cook. It makes perfect pastry, excellent soups and casseroles and we even made a brilliant salted caramel using it.
Sure, making caramel isn't hard as such but it's usually fiddly and potentially rather dangerous. With this, you just pretty much put in your ingredients, then go play tennis, then come back to delicious toffee-style dessert snacks.
There is only one issue with the TM6 and that is that its chopper is obviously more suited to fine chopping. One fish stew ended up almost devoid of texture as a result, although still very tasty. However, you can manually chop meat, fish and vegetables and then use the chopper on its stir function. Also, with practice, you can work out how to use the chopper on its lower speed settings to get a chunkier cut.
The precise heating makes it effective for sous vide cooking, if you're still into that, and although this can't compare to a modern oven or induction hob for maximum heat, it is able to brown meat and other ingredients and cooks quickly enough on the whole.
For making sauces it's absolutely brilliant, and the Thermomix TM6 does a mean turn when it comes to pastries and doughs, too.
Thermomix TM6: early verdict
Clearly, a 20-in-1 robot sous chef from the future that costs over a grand is a bit of a niche proposition. It's the sort of thing I am absolutely delighted to be sent to try out, but I am not sure I'd splash on one myself.
However, the Thermomix TM6 is an absolutely superb product, where everything feels well thought through and immaculately constructed. It's easy to assemble and disassemble, a doddle to keep clean, and it cooks most things beautifully. Admittely, it does wobble a bit when mixing heavier ingredients but never to the point you worry it'll hurl itself off the worktop.
Perhaps in summer the TM6 is of less use since the meals it is best suited for are very much in the 'hearty' category – soups, stews, slow roasts, etc – but it is incredibly versatile and the Cookidoo recipe system is so clever.
Thermomix TM6 makes cooking painless, it tells you delicious ways to use whatever's left in your fridge and it'll handle tedious jobs like making sauces and chopping onions for you all day if you want it to. If people get a bit culty about Instant Pots, I'd imagine fans of this are more like the congregation at an evangelical church on Exorcism Sunday. The Thermomix TM6 is clearly not for everyone but it's an exceptional kitchen product that could change your life.