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Review: Thermos Shuttle Chef

Energy-efficient and portable, this slow cooker is handy at home and outdoors. Online 02/2009


Thermos Shuttle Chef Cook and Carry System RPC 4500

Price: $269
Contact:
www.thermalcookware.com

The Thermos Shuttle Chef consists of a steel cooking pot that fits inside an insulated outer pot. You partially cook the food in the inner pot on a stovetop or camp fire, then place the inner pot into the outer pot and put the lid on. The outer pot has vacuum-insulated double walls so the food keeps cooking slowly in its own retained heat.

Because food only needs to be partially cooked before being transferred into the insulated container, the Shuttle Chef uses less energy than it would take to cook the same dish completely on the stove or in an electric slow cooker. You can leave the food to cook while you do other things, or even take the Shuttle Chef with you on a picnic to enjoy hot food al fresco.

We tested the Shuttle Chef by cooking a liquid dish (pumpkin soup) and a solid dish (boiled rice) as per its supplied recipes. The cooker did an excellent job with the soup; it cooked in one hour and stayed safely hot (above 60°C, so no dangerous bacteria will grow) for over eight hours.

The rice didn’t cook quite as impressively, as it was still slightly crunchy after the recommended cooking time of one minute on the stove followed by 30 minutes in the outer pot. This would be improved by cooking it a little longer before transferring to the outer pot. Once transferred, the rice stayed safely hot for four hours.

The Shuttle Chef is compact and easy to clean. The tested model has a 4.5L inner pot, but other models with different sized pots are available. You’ll need to use a glove or cloth when moving the inner pot after cooking, as the metal handle can get hot.

But at $269 (more with accessories), it’s considerably more expensive than most electric slow cookers. You’ll get best value from this product if you’re a big fan of slow-cooked food and/or a regular caravanner or camper. It has a five year warranty.

CHOICE VERDICT

If you frequently make slow-cooked food, the Shuttle Chef is a worthwhile investment. Although not cheap, it’s easy to use, portable, energy-efficient and cooks a wide range of dishes.