Best Food Processor Guide


Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper

Posted on April 3rd, 2016

What would it look like if you could shrink a food processor in the washing machine? The Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper
is surely the closest answer to that question. It looks almost exactly the same as a normal-sized food processor: it’s got two spinning blades in the centre of a plastic bowl – but what sets it apart is that it’s around a third of the size of a mid-range food processor. It’s the ultimate tool for quickly preparing condiments, side dishes, sauces, and small quantities of ingredients.

Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper Review

The Kenwood CH180 Mini Chopper is by far the most popular product in its class. It received a big boost of interest when TV culinary legend Delia Smith endorsed it with a Delia Cheat Gadget award.
Is that award justified? Absolutely. It’s a brilliant little gadget for those smaller food preparation tasks where getting the food processor out would be too difficult, or for which it would simply be too big. At only 11.8 cm x 19 cm x 14.5 cm, the CH180 Mini Chopper doesn’t take up much room at all. While it can easily be stored in a kitchen cupboard, its small footprint means that it may be easier to just leave it out, tucked in the corner of the kitchen on the worktop so that you can get to it quickly when you need to use it.

The CH180 has a 350 ml bowl and is driven by a powerful 300 watt motor, with two speed settings. To put this into perspective, the Kenwood FP120 compact food processor has an 800 ml working capacity bowl and a 400 watt motor. Considering that the CH180 has a working bowl capacity less than half that of the FP120, but only 25% less power, it just goes to show that the CH180 Mini Chopper directs a considerable amount of power to its bowl in comparison to a small size, standard scale food processor. Presumably it’s because the CH180’s smaller blades need that extra bit of power behind them in relation to their size, but make no mistake, it means business.

Use & operation

That being said, it’s no substitute for a food processor. Other than the knife blades, there are no additional attachments available for the CH180. Kenwood advises that you should not use it to process or grind rigid items such as ice cubes, coffee beans, or hard spices. It can’t be used for turning granulated sugar into caster sugar, and it certainly can’t be used to make pastry or dough. Its maximum bowl capacity is 150 grams of food or 350 ml of fluids, which is not much more than the contents of a fizzy drinks can – and Kenwood also advises that you shouldn’t fill the bowl up with liquids more than half way.

So what does it do best? The CH180 is best thought of as a compliment to a standard sized food processor, and as a compliment to the kind of meals which a standard sized food processor can prepare. It’s brilliant for preparing sauces, dips, purees, guacamole, pesto and chutney, and the lid has a specially-designed ‘oil drip’ lid for making mayonnaise and other sauces which require ingredients to be added gradually. Not only can you chop herbs and spices, you can even chop small portions of vegetables, although you will need to cut them into segments or chunks so that they will fit in the bowl. It’s perfect for quickly chopping up an onion for the frying pan, although you should be a little more reserved with the power button when chopping firmer vegetables such as carrots or swedes. Nevertheless, the CH180 is the obvious tool for chopping small portions of food, especially for those in the kitchen whose hand-eye coordination or arthritis makes that task difficult to do by hand. You can even chop small portions of meat – perfect for making baby food. Whatever you use it for, the trick to making sure things don’t get stuck or miss the blades is to leave a reasonable amount of free space in the bowl so that they have space to move around.

The CH180 has two pulse-style speed settings, and its operation is very easy. To the left of the bowl on the top of the unit is a big grey button – press and hold it down halfway in order to select the first speed setting, and all the way down in order to select the second speed setting. Disassembling it is very easy – there are ultimately only four components: the base, the bowl, the blades and the lid. There’s also a one year included warranty, and in the box you’ll find a registration card for taking advantage of it.

The bowl and the blades are dishwasher safe and easy to clean, but do take care if cleaning the blades by hand as they are extremely sharp, and in order to avoid scratching the bowl, it’s probably best to use a silicon spoon or spatula instead of a metal one when scraping the sides. The CH180 has a safety interlock system which means it cannot be switched on unless the lid is securely fastened, and there are four rubber feet underneath in order to stop it from slipping on the worktop. Its cable is about 3 – 4 feet in length, which may feel a bit long on a device with no cable storage facility when trying to put it away, but still, too long is better than too short.

Verdict

It seems odd to talk about storing the CH180 – it’s so useful, you probably won’t want to keep it in a cupboard. It’s kind of a hybrid device – it’s about the size of a grinder, but you can’t really grind stuff in it, and nor is it a substitute for a food processor. Ultimately it deserves its name as a mini chopper – not simply because it’s small and compact, but because it fulfils a rather niche role in the kitchen. It can tackle portions and individual items of food which would simply be too small on their own for a standard-sized food processor, and it’s no more inconvenient than a chopping board and a knife. In fact, in some ways, it’s even more convenient: say goodbye to watery eyes and the burning sensation when chopping up a chilli or an onion. We think it’s brilliant.