I am used to the old style Cusinart food processors, they have looked the same for a very long time without a lot of updates. They have more powerful motors and a bit more technology today, but most Cusinarts still look a lot like the ones from a few decades ago.
Cuisinart also has an updated version which seems to bring the old version into the 21st century. It has nothing to do with the innards of the machine, but it definitely has an updated appearance. The Cuisinart DLC-2011CHB Prep 11 Plus Food Processor isn’t the biggest on the market, but 11 cups make a pretty big impact for those who need to prep a good amount of food. It leaves the boxy image of Cuisinart in the past and brings a new, more svelte appearance to the appliance market.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Or the bowl. If you’ve ever had a food processor, you know the bowl is the part that is not only the most fidgeted with, but also the one that breaks the most often. Many are made from some type of durable plastic, but plastics can still break given enough aggravation. Some even crack without much force, and you’ll notice over time that the heart of your food processor has tiny little hairline cracks all over it.
The Prep 11 has a bowl made of Lexan, a polycarbonate material which should be able to handle just about anything you can do to it. This stuff is used to make cockpit canopies, among other things, so no matter how clumsy you are or how much you put it through, it’s a pretty good bet this bowl isn’t going to break in your kitchen.
Big Mouth for Big Food
Are you cooking for a small army? Or a large family? An 11-cup food processor should be enough to get everything ready for whatever you’re making. It’s not the largest on the market, but it is a huge amount of space for chopping, kneading, mixing, swirling, spinning, etc. And if you’re going to be working with that much food, you’re going to want to be able to make changes without making a mess. That’s why the Prep 11 has one of the widest feeding tube mouths you can find anywhere. It’s pretty impressive, actually. You don’t have to worry about starting from scratch or making a mess in in the middle of your process. Pull out the stopper, add in your new ingredients, and keep your mix going right quick like.
It Looks The Part
This isn’t important to everyone, but if your food processor is going to be stored on your counter rather than nestled away when you’re done with it, this could make a difference. The Prep 11 is not a big machine, which is a nice change from some of the older, bulkier models. The largest amount of space is used by the big bowl, which is where the magic happens. Beyond that, it’s got clean lines which are made to be less sharp than some of the alternatives. It’s a relaxed look with some upgraded lines which doesn’t make a difference in functionality, but it makes a big difference in aesthetics.
More Than On/Off
The machine doesn’t have a lot of options for functionality, but not a lot of food processors do. One of the things that I like, which seems like a major vote of confidence for the motor, is that it has a dough button on the base. That means it’s designed to knead dough without any finagling or adaptation. In the mind of someone who cooks, that translates to being able to put a fair amount of pressure on the motor without a problem, and that it can get through just about every other food with the normal tools you would expect.
Problems Beyond The Box
You’re supposed to be able to get additional parts and pieces to add to the functionality of the machine, but if they didn’t come in the box there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to find them. Some of the add-ons have been discontinued and there aren’t many aftermarket options that can easily replace them. The only extras I’ve ever considered were extra bowls so I don’t have to stop and wash parts mid-cooking if I need the processor for more than one thing, but those shouldn’t be a problem to track down. If you need more than that, you’re probably going to be disappointed because most of the extras just don’t exist. But then again, do you really need them?
If you use your food processor for grating a lot of cheese, this isn’t the machine for you. It’s not the fault of the motor, but there seems to be an issue with the grater disc. A fair amount of your softer cheeses will end up in a goopy clump on top of the disc. It may be that the processor heats up so much that the stuff just melts, but I’m not sure. I just know you’re supposed to be able to get delicious grated cheese from this machine, but more often than not you may end up with mildly tasty but not particularly useful cheesy goop.
Power, Size, Style
If you want a sturdy food processor that does everything it’s supposed to (other than grate cheese), this machine is a solid choice. There are still a few concerns, but it certainly chops and kneads without a large number of problems reported, and it does a good job with more than enough power. If you can afford to spend a little more for a higher end machine that does what it’s supposed to, you’re in the right place. It isn’t perfect, but there’s probably no such thing, and it’s a Cuisinart. ‘Nuff said?