Has Pampered Chef Jumped the Shark?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to buy boatloads of kitchen gadgets just for kicks. That being said, I’m all for having the right tools for the right tasks, and believe certain out of the norm utensils are worth it if they save me time, or make a job I do frequently easier. Lately though, one of my favorite companies seems to be coming up a bit short.
First off, let me say I’m not bashing Pampered Chef’s product line as a whole. In fact, there are some products I particularly enjoy. I’ll address some of those here as well. The point of this piece is to address some gaps I’ve noticed in quality. Perhaps this is a result of trying to expand their line too quickly or an overenthusiastic product purchase department. Whatever the reason, some of the products I’ve tried recently have been serious disappointments.
The vegetable peeler.
I disliked this one so much, I nearly wrote this piece the first time I used it and titled the article “Pampered Chef’s Carrot Peeler from Hell”, but given their other products that I do enjoy, I decided to err on the side of courtesy.
What they were thinking with this design, I have no idea. The actual peeling of the vegetable skins is completely inconsistent. Perhaps there’s some way to stand on one toe, holding your mouth just right and balancing a bucket on your head to get consistent functionality from this thing. But if there is, I haven’t found it. And when you can get a couple of good slides in a row, the whole thing clogs and hitches, making continuation impossible until you stop everything and unclog the space between the blade and the main section of the peeler.
I know this is going to sound harsh, but those who follow my posts regularly know that I’m not one to throw tough criticism around lightly, or without good reason. In my humble opinion, this piece of equipment is beyond terrible, and I have absolutely no idea what Pampered Chef was thinking.
The small, medium and large metal scoops.
I absolutely LOVE these. For even cookie dough dispensing, consistently shaped meatballs, falafel scooping . . . you name it. Nice, even mounds of whatever mixture you are working with is always helpful, and time saving is big in my book as well, particularly when I’m in the middle of a large batch assembly cooking for the freezer.
Their hand held, rotary style cheese grater.
Being in transition right now without access to my favorite cooking supplies, I’m not able to precisely compare the model I’m using at a family member’s house to the one I normally use. But I do know this: it’s not functioning at the level I’ve come to expect from Pampered Chef’s equipment. It’s awkward to use on the cut blocks of specialty cheese and often stops producing grated shreds after just a few cranks. This is frustrating when you are trying to enjoy an affordable at-home version of a restaurant meal you’ve worked hard to prepare. Sitting down after a long day to enjoy a hard – earned luxury and having the whole experience foiled by poorly functioning tools is, quite simply, the pits. Personally, we don’t budget for these cheeses all the time, and when we do we expect to be able to enjoy them accordingly.
The baking stones.
I’ve always enjoyed this section of their product line, which has expanded significantly over the years. One upgrade I’ve noticed recently is the new model of round pizza stone with the handles molded in to the actual piece. Way easier to handle and less tippy than the older ones with the steel carrying piece.
To wrap this up, I’d like to say that I still appreciate much of what this company has to offer, particularly coming from an area where professional cooking stores are at least half a state away. By no means am I familiar with every item in their catalogue. This is simply my take on what I’ve noticed with some of their items lately. So how about it, my fellow Wise Bread kitchen enthusiasts? Has Pampered Chef jumped the shark, or am I completely off the mark?