When Top Chef season 2 winner Ilan Hall told me he’s been obsessed with the Thermomix for as long as he can remember, I had to learn more. Hall says he uses the Thermomix—a combination mixer, blender, oven, and more—almost daily at home and often at his restaurants in Los Angeles and New York as well. Here’s why he loves it.

How He Discovered It: Ever since culinary school, long before the Thermomix became available in the United States, Hall was “playing around” with the machines at other people’s houses and restaurants in Europe and mastering the art of combination ovens and thermoimmersion circulators here in the States. When the Thermomix came onto the market here, he got one immediately.

What He Loves About It: Hall said he appreciates how you can do so much in one space with the Thermomix, noting that it’s “pretty advanced” in its capabilities, with a great display and high functionality as well as excellent safety precautions (for example, it won’t let you blend hot soup too quickly, which would create pressure and make it spill over the sides).

He’s also a huge fan of the Thermomix’s Recipe Chips, a digital cookbook with step-by-step instructions. “There are certain things that I want to play with and certain things I don’t want to mess up,” he explained. “The preprogrammed recipes literally make it foolproof.”

Favorite Way to Use It: “At home I use it as a general all-purpose tool,” he said, explaining that he’s made soup, consommé, and bread. In particular he likes to use it to make herb purees, noting that it allows you to heat the herbs “at a delicate temperature” and puree them at the right speed (plus you don’t lose any of the puree to the bottom of the machine, like with some blenders).

That leaves him more time to experiment with his own creations. For example, at his Los Angeles restaurant Ramen Hood, he’s made small batches of vegan dashi broth with kombu and shiitake mushrooms, “changing the texture of the purees by implementing heat” in the Thermomix (think caramelizing onions while keeping them in constant motion, then pureeing sunflower seeds into them), giving the vegan dish “more depth and the mouthfeel of a [decidedly nonvegan] kampachi broth.”

What He’d Change About It: “I would make a pocket-size one,” he said, “one that’s smaller and more affordable.”

Other Kitchen Technology: He’s playing around with a new sous vide device called the Mellow, which is an all-contained gadget completely controlled by an app and doesn’t even require an additional vacuum sealer. He said he loves its design as well: “It looks like a gentle white fish tank.”

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