There are two things you’ll notice when reading our Tefal Cuisine Companion review.
First, it’s a big ole space-ship of a kitchen appliance. And second, the Cuisine Companion has a hefty price tag – it’s available exclusively at John Lewis in the UK costing a shade short of £700.
When Tefal got in touch and offered to gift us with our very own Cuisine Companion, I was intrigued. Because I’m not the sort of person who typically buys big kitchen appliances, and I’m certainly not the sort of person who spends £700 on them.
But this is a fully-fledged, all-singing multifunction cooking assistant, very similar to the much more expensive Thermomix.
So what did we make of it? We’ve been using the Cuisine Companion for eight weeks now, which I think is long enough to get used to how you might use the appliance, and whether it’s a time-saver.
Setting Up the Tefal Cuisine Companion
Once unpacked, the Cuisine Companion actually isn’t THAT big. Inside the box you find a sturdy base, a bowl and lid. There’s also a cupboard-friendly container that holds four blades, used for mixing, blending, kneading and chopping. This is BRILLIANT because I can’t be the only person who regularly finds themselves emptying drawers and cupboards looking for a specific attachment for the blender.
Setting the Cuisine Companion up is relatively simple. Just slot the the bowl into the base, rotate the lid onto the bowl then clip shut, and plug in. Simple!
The controls are very simple, too. There are six programme settings for things like slow cooking, dough, making soups, sauces and steaming. Choose the programme you want, then set the temperature/speed/time using the large buttons, and click start.
Tefal Cuisine Companion Video Review
Cuisine Companion Recipe Book
The Cuisine Companion comes with a really substantial recipe book that are really comprehensive and are also a great way to get started using all the basic programmes.
Don’t be misled by the “Million Menus” title though – there are a few hundred recipes, covering starters, mains and puds. Many of the recipes involve using the Cuisine Companion for prep, then moving to an oven or grill – no bad thing, but be prepared that this isn’t a complete cooking device.
Recipe-wise, it’s interesting to note the Cuisine Companion is also sold in France. This means there are lots of menus that are probably unfamiliar to British families, with quite a lot of veal, for example, along with rabbit and beef cheek.
Recipes are simple to follow, guiding you through choosing the right programmes in the right order. Once you’ve got to know the machine, you can use it in manual mode for more flexibility.
Making Dough in the Cuisine Companion
One of our first big successes with the Cuisine Companion was making pizza dough. We love to make pizza from scratch but the challenge is finding time to make the dough and let it rise well before we want to cook, especially during the week.
With the Cuisine Companion, you can whip up a perfectly decent pizza dough in just three minutes. Just add water and yeast into the bowl, launch the pastry programme, then add in flour, salt and a pinch of olive oil. Job done.
There’s even a warming setting so if your kitchen is on the chilly side and you don’t have an airing cupboard, like us, you can let the dough rise inside the bowl in 20 minutes, too.
The Cuisine Companion means we can make home-made pizza in the week, with very little mess and fuss. LOVE IT.
Cuisine Companion Curry Recipes
Our second big success has been curry. I have found the curry made in the appliance tastes really rich and delicious, but is made in under 30 minutes – again, making it a perfect mid-week supper. We started out using a recipe from the supplied book, but quickly moved on to making chicken massaman curry, green and red Thai curries and veggie tikka curry.
To make a curry, we tend to start by throwing roughly chopped onion, garlic and spices into the Cuisine Companion with a small teaspoon of oil, and chopping/cooking it on a low heat for a couple of minutes.
From there, we just throw in diced chicken and veggies, along with coconut milk (or tomatoes) and curry paste – cook the whole thing on the slow cooker setting for 20 minutes and hey presto – delicious, fresh curry.
We’ve used the same approach to make chicken cacciatore, which was LUSH.
How to Steam in the Cuisine Companion
The Cuisine Companion comes with a steaming bowl which you can sit inside the bowl. Add some water to the bottom of the dish and you can steam foods.
This makes a great way to steam vegetables, and I also tried one of the recipes involving steamed fish. I found the fish came out a little over-cooked so I’d test this carefully. Also I recommend putting some foil underneath fish as mine was really tricky to get out of the bowl in one piece!
Cuisine Companion Hash Browns
Where the Cuisine Companion comes into its own is that it lets you chop THEN cook in the same bowl, reducing food prep time quite significantly. We made hash browns on Sunday mornings, and they were lovely – chop onions in the Cuisine Companion, then add potatoes and water, and slow cook for 10 minutes.
Add in some egg, flour and seasoning and mix. You’ll be left with a mixture that’s easy to form into cakes and fry off as hash browns. SO much simpler and much nicer tasting than those frozen alternatives. You could do something very similar for fish cakes and bubble and squeak.
We also had great success making taco fillings in the Cuisine Companion – adding onions, garlic and chilli, then chopping finely in the bowl. Next up, add mince (we tend to use Quorn, but if you’re using beef, just cook a little longer), tomato puree and seasoning, and slow book for 20 minutes on a low heat. Much less hassle (and washing up) than cooking on the stove.
Can you Bake in the Cuisine Companion?
Technically, you can’t bake in this appliance, but you can use it to whip up batters, doughs, pastry and cake mixtures. We found that cookie mixture made in the Cuisine Companion worked really well, and we also mixed our brownie batter in there. It means we haven’t had to use other kitchen appliances since having the Cuisine Companion, so I guess potentially it would save you counter/cupboard space, since the Cuisine Companion can do most of what your blender/food processor will do.
How to Use the Cuisine Companion as a Slow Cooker
The Tefal Cuisine Companion DOES have a slow cooker setting, but it’s not slow cooking as you know it – the longest recipe I’ve tried using the slow cooker function (boef bourguignon) only cooked for a few minutes over two hours.
At first, I thought this was a downside because I’m used to prepping slow cooker meals in the morning so they’ll be ready eight hours later, but with the Cuisine Companion it’s quicker, so you don’t need to start prep until you get home from work.
Overall Tefal Cuisine Companion Review:
Taking our experiences into account, we love the Tefal Cuisine Companion. While it certainly doesn’t cook EVERY meal EVERY day, we do use it a couple of times a week, and I’ve found since having this appliance, I haven’t used my blender or food processor for meals at all.
The bowl size is effectively 2.5l and this works well for our small family, and I think would easily cook meals for 4 people (perhaps more if you’re counting kids’ portions).
The bowl is easy to clean, and we’ve not had any problems using the device – it’s really very simple and intuitive. The accessories are great, although the chopping blade is WICKED sharp, so I wouldn’t let little hands anywhere near it.
One thing I did find is that many of the recipe suggestions use quite a bit more liquid than I would suggest using. With a bit more experience, I tend to use around half the liquid suggested in the recipe. The liquid doesn’t boil away the way it might on the stove, so I only add enough liquid as I expect to serve at the end of cooking.
Is it worth it?
While the Tefal Cuisine Companion isn’t the only cooking appliance you’ll ever need, for a busy household looking to cook more meals from scratch in a limited amount of time, I think it’s a pretty attractive option.
What we really enjoyed about having a Cuisine Companion is that it’s perfectly possible to get home at 5.30pm and say, “Hey, let’s make pizza” or “Does anyone fancy a Thai curry?” and have something hot, fresh and home-made on the table 30 or 45 minutes later.
What’s more, we’ve done that with minimal mess and fuss, and just one bowl to wash up at the end of the process.
It’s a solid device that’s a pleasure to use, and yes, it will mean you can reduce the number of appliances on your counter, or in your cupboard.
As to whether that’s worth £699 to your family, well, you’ll have to make that decision for yourself! We hope you found our review of the Cuisine Companion helpful.
We were gifted an appliance for the purposes of this Tefal Cuisine Companion review. All questionable cooking, opinions and so on are entirely our own. If you’d like to check out the Cuisine Companion in more detail, head over to Amazon. (affiliate link)