Why I took the plunge and bought a thermomix
Most people would have heard of the magical machine called a Thermomix. It has some pretty tall claims of being a wonder appliance that can do so much and replace many of the existing appliances you have in your kitchen already. I have actually known about their existence for a number of years, I was simply put off by the price tag (they cost just under $2000 in Australia.) My husband and I will often splurge on gadgets that we think are worth the expense, an example of this would be our computers (we have four in our house), a massage chair and our canon DSLR camera, but I just felt that $2k for a fancy blender was pushing it. I persevered with my food processor, and really didn't think I was missing THAT much. I still wanted a thermomix, but I was willing to live without one.
It all started with a cheaper version called a "Thermoblend"
At the end of 2012, I received an email from Kogan stating they were having a pre-sale on a machine that is an all in one cooker called a 'thermoblend'. The price they were selling it for was $199.00 including free delivery, it even came with a varoma type steamer. I squealed with delight, and ordered one on the spot. When it arrived, I made so many different dishes from hummus to bread. This new machine was certainly getting a workout and I was in awe of how much better it performed compared to my Russell Hobbs food processor. I loved my thermoblend, it was used multiple times a day and I literally made everything we ate from scratch, no easy feat for a pregnant woman with three children and a business to run. The one thing, I really struggled with in the thermoblend was making meals in it. As a competent cook, I loved making curries in my cast iron stock pot or browning meat in my cast iron pan. Whenever I tried, the consistency of the food was less than desirable even with the blade cover on, the machine seemed stressed (it would always end up with a strong electrical smell after cooking for more than 20 minutes) and there was always three small burn marks around the edges of my machine. I decided that main meal cooking in the TB was not for me, but I did use it for prep, making intricate sauces such as hollandaise, making yoghurt, ice-cream, bread dough, naan and plenty more. In January 2014, 13 months after my machine made a magical appearance in my kitchen, my beloved appliance broke trying to mix mince into hamburger patties, I was 3 weeks out of warranty and devastated.
One year after my first thermo cooking machine, I purchased an Avancer Thermocook
Just as this had happened, someone on Facebook had posted about a new machine, like the Thermoblend, that had come on the market by Avancer, it was called the ThermoCook, and looked promising. It was also a pre-sale for $199.00, and I really liked the design compared to the TB. It didn't have the extra jug for steaming, which meant I could use the appliance more like a Thermomix by putting the steamer on top of my cooking liquids. I was back! I had really struggled without my Thermoblend for a month or so. I did try cooking meals in the Avancer from soups to curries, but I found I had the same issues as the Thermoblend. I had followed recipes from the Everyday Cookbook (thermomix) only to find the machine taking so much longer than suggested for the TM, really struggling, overloading and burning on the sides. I didn't mind though, for a 10th of the price of a Thermomix, these babies were awesome and did such a good job helping me out in the kitchen. Then one day, I expected too much from my poor little machine. I had just processed some raw cacao nibs with dates and nut butter to make bliss balls, and then decided to make desicated coconut into coconut mana, the poor machine's drive-shaft melted, yep, melted. Luckily, I was still under warranty, so I contacted Avancer, and their Happiness Gurus (that is what they call themselves), were very helpful and sent a new base after I sent them my old one. This service was fantastic, I was one happy customer. I would thoroughly recommend Avancer as a company, they really are A+ for service. While all of this was happening, a lovely person on the Bellini Addicts page on Facebook posted a link to Catch of the Day for a new model Maxi Superchef! It looked a lot different to the original model, and boasted a strong metal driveshaft. I decided to take the plunge, and get one. I knew my Avancer was being replaced, but I needed something that could last the distance, afterall, I use my thermo machine everyday.
The New Maxi Superchef looked like a real Thermomix contender
At $350.00, this was a lot cheaper than the price they had listed on their website at $599.00, so I figured it was worth taking the plunge. Unfortunately when it arrived, it had a misaligned button that would not work and I was going to have to send it back for a replacement. I contacted Maxi and received no response, so this was not good. I really wanted the machine to work, it had a nice wide bowl, and a metal driveshaft, if only the button would work. After being frustrated from not hearing back from Maxi, I reset the machine a few times, the buttons worked! Yay! I was back in business. I decided to make spaghetti bolognaise, well the jug stopped heating halfway, and we were left with a half cooked meal. I contacted Maxi, Catch of the Day and the ACCC, I finally got a response from Maxi, they would send me out a replacement jug. On Monday, the 8th September (my 33rd birthday) the new jug was waiting for me on my doorstep. My luck was changing, and I could churn my homemade icecream ready for tonight's celebrations. I did the boiling water test, yay! it heated up and I was ready to get cracking. I put my icy mixture in, ready to churn, and the blades stopped spinning, NO! I took the jug out and no kidding, the drive shaft had snapped! Before you think I loaded the machine with a huge chunk of ice-cream and turned it on, I didn't, I had the blades moving, adding one piece at a time.The whole premise of me buying this machine was that the driveshaft was meant to be strong. I was disillusioned, and frustrated. I made a video, and sent it off to Catch of the Day for a return, I wanted my money back, this was not the machine for me. I had been far happier with my Thermoblend and Thermocook. I'll also mention, the logo printed on the front of the machine, wiped away completely when I was wiping the front of the machine. This did not scream quality to me. Catch of the Day asked me to send the machine back, I did the very next day. I am still waiting for a refund.
The new TM5 Thermomix is released in Australia
During all of this controversy, I saw that a new Thermomix had been released in Australia, the TM5. I watched a few videos and drooled away, wow, I couldn't imagine having a strong machine that could do all the tough stuff I wanted, without struggling, smelling of electrical failure or breaking drive shafts. Then I looked it up, it was released at only $50.00 more than the original model! This surprised me, that being said, it was still hefty at $1989.00. I did noticed that they were offering an interest free deal for 12 months, I did some calculations and worked out that this would be around $47.00 per week and I could have it paid off before the interest free period ended. I spoke to my husband about it and he (having seen me go through so much with other machines) agreed that I should ring them and ask about the interest free deal. I spoke to a lovely woman at Thermomix Australia, who put me in touch with my area's team leader. The team leader called me that evening and asked if I wanted to have a look at a TM5, I certainly did. Within 40 minutes of speaking with her, a consultant from my town rang me and said she would be over the very next day to show me the Thermomix in action. True to her word, she arrived that morning, she asked me if I wanted to make something in it, I decided to do a nut butter. It took 37 seconds to process the nuts into a smooth, buttery paste, I had 250g of nut butter that would normally take me around 3 minutes in the Avancer. When I asked her about the interest free, she said it was on offer but being self employed, I may not get approved, so I decided to go with the Easy 3 payment option where you pay $822.00 upfront, then 2 payments of $600, every 30 days after that. The TM-5 Thermomix was ordered last Wednesday and I am patiently waiting for its arrival, ok maybe not so patiently, but I know it is coming and I feel like I am ready. It was a big decision for us, but I know it was the right one. I am really looking forward to using a quality machine to perform the tasks I need it too. It did seem like excellent timing with the new model only just released. I look forward to sharing many Thermomix recipes with you.