All-Clad made a splash today with the launch of the Prep & Cook, a multi-tasking, precision cooking food processor. One of the first of its kind in the United States, the Prep & Cook takes a cue from the multitasking appliances that have grown popular in Europe over the past few decades. More importantly, it signals a shift within All-Clad. Cookware — simple, utility-driven stainless steel — will always be the backbone of the company, its bread and butter. But the company is increasingly using appliances to bring its celebrated quality to other aspects of food prep — especially as newer upstart labels introduce innovations that disrupt the status quo.
The Prep & Cook follows in the footsteps of the Vorwerk Thermomix, the first and most popular cooking food processor, introduced in France during the ‘70s. France has long been a leader in countertop appliance innovations, having created the first food processor, Robot-Coupe, during the 1940s. First intended for commercial use, it later trickled into home kitchens under the Magimix name.
By the time Cuisinart introduced the first food processor to the U.S. in the 1970s, France was already diving into the world of cooking food processors, which gained traction due to the size (or lack thereof) of most European kitchens. The obsession isn’t limited to home cooks, however. World-renowned chefs like Noma’s René Redzepi and The Fat Duck’s Heston Blumenthal use Thermomix in their restaurant kitchens for its precision cooking capabilities.
For the average home cook, the greatest benefit of an appliance like the Prep & Cook is its all-in-one functionality. It doesn’t speed up cooking times, but it does reduce prep time. With 12 speed settings, adjustable temperature settings and inserts for kneading, chopping, blending, stirring and whipping, it’s capable of simmering, slow cooking, steaming and warming. The Prep & Cook, then, is intended to take the place of a food processor, blender, steamer and slow cooker. And in merging multiple tools into one device, their utility becomes augmented. That, then, explains the thousand-dollar price tag. While by no means accessible, it’s one gadget where the cost more or less equals the sum of the individual appliances otherwise required to do the same tasks.
“All-Clad is known for its high-end cookware, but there is a desire among All-Clad customers to have other products from the brand,” said All-Clad Director of Marketing and Communications Michele Lupton, of the expansion into appliances. “They trust our name, they trust our quality, and a lot of them want to keep this brand in their kitchen, whether it’s a toaster or a grill or a food processor. We see All-Clad electrics as a big way to expand the brand in the coming years.”
In a time when new, crowd-funded brands and startups are leading disruption and innovation in countertop appliances, All-Clad is setting out to prove that old dogs can, in fact, learn new tricks — and can do so without leaning on the young guns, as Electrolux has with Anova, and Breville with Polyscience. With the Prep & Cook, All-Clad sticks the landing.