Anyone have a built-in kitchen center (motor inset in counter)

lalitharJuly 26, 2011

I came across something called a built-in kitchen center. The idea seems to basically involve a powerful motor with controls built into the counter and a variety of tops of various appliances (coffee grinders, blender jars, mixers, food processors, etc.)

There is one by a company called TCC and there apparently was an older brand called Nutone. I am intrigued to see if anyone has this and do they love it.. seems to me to be a pretty nifty idea if you can combine all the motor bases for the cuisinart, vitamix, kitchen aid, etc..

Here is a link that might be useful: Built-in kitchen center

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Bosch has or had one a few years ago too.

The problem as I see it is: they are expensive, you'll have $500 to $1000 invested to get 2-3 appliances to get going.

You'll also have a bit of countertop fabrication expense - more if it's a retrofit and cabinet work is involved too. There's also a double whammy if the motor or controller goes out - 2-3 or more of your appliances are now out of business too.

There's also performance issues to consider. Maybe the blender is superb but the mixer stinks or you just don't like the beater, or the food processor is had to clean.

With separates you can choose the one that is best designed or has the features you want.

I've been doing this a long time, and in the realm where budgets are 3-4x the average kitchen and I've seen this actually INSTALLED in a kitchen three times. Once in Europe, and, another was 40 years ago. That tells me that they are not real popular.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:05PM
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We had a NuTone in the kitchen I grew up in. It's a very small kitchen, so this seemed to be a great idea for saving space. There's room in the cupboard underneath for all the attachments. That was fifty years ago's model of course, and the new one may be vastly better. The blender worked great. So did the ice crusher. The mixer was awful, at least for cakes and cookies, and my mother gave it up early on. The food processor, back then was primitive--mostly shredding disks, but my mother used that the most, for things like cole slaw and shredded cheese. There was also a so-so meat grinder. My father doesn't think much of any electric knife sharpener so it's no surprise he didn't like the NuTone one.

I think the generalization one can make probably works as well for the new one as the old: The things that needed to go round and round worked pretty well. The things, like the mixer, which need a more complex motion, didn't.

The new TCC unit, unlike the NuTone, doesn't sit flush, at least in their pictures. That was one of the best things. Other than the fact that the finger depressions in the covers for the switch and spindle are major crumb catchers, the NuTone was really part of the counter. You can put anything down on it, including the post NuTone KA mixer. :) That doesn't seem to be the case for the TCC, which means it is more of a counter hog than a freestanding appliance!

All in all, I think you'd do best with some kind of food processor and a proper mixer with orbital motion, and any accessories that you like for those. For instance, the KA meat grinder is pretty good. Do you really need a Vitamix? There are FPs that have blender attachments that work well. If you need a gonzo blender like a Vitamix, I doubt you'd be happy with an all in one.

In all, the idea is niftier than the actuality.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:40PM
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You said.. It just seemed so clever :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:43AM
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Well, I just read this thread and thought about our kitchen. It just wouldn't work here. Our space is limited and we like different brands of things like coffee grinderes, mixers, blenders etc. We have to store the big mixer in the garage--no room in the kitchen. only counter space is used up making coffee and toast. Rest are in the pantry. So this sounds like something popular in the 50's not 21st. century.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 4:59AM
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"So this sounds like something popular in the 50's not 21st. century."

This was never "popular".

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Actually, its my understanding that they were/are pretty popular in motor homes/RVs. So you might be able to find out more about them in forums dedicated to those kind of uses. I haven't looked into it in detail, but there seems to be a healthy market for repair/replacement parts on ebay, etc, so somebody out there is using them...

I must admit, I am also intrigued by the idea...but probably not enough to experiment by actually buying one, at least not without seeing one in action firsthand. On the TCC site, they have some pics of them installed into a drawer, instead of a counter, which would certainly cut down on the installation commitment and expense.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 2:13PM
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I really can't argue with the logic against the built-ins, antss points out that they are not highly popular in his experience, and the fact that the Bosch unit I own is discontinued in the US, surely due to low sales, would seem to bear that out.

When you choose a built in kitchen center you have to be willing to set your work area in stone, so to speak, having to have a cutout prepared with some few inches of free space in the cabinet below, as well as having to run a source of power into the cabinet to power the thing. But you gain the space you would lose in storage for a food processor, grain mill, blender, slicer, mixer, and whatever else it is you plan to do with your multi-purpose unit.

I cannot address the other brands and can only speak to the Bosch MEK 700 Concept built in. We have had ours about 2 years and it is great. I have a food processor attachment which I would rate as a fair performer, primarily due to the small size of the container. The blender is superb, stainless steel, heavy duty, and very powerful. The food slicer is very good, almost as good as my old Braun multisystem, which is the best I ever used. The mixer is superb when it comes to whisking and beating batters and such. I bought the heavy-duty metal dough hook and though it works okay I think the Kitchen Aid does a better job with a dough hook, though no kitchenaid will handle as big a batch of dough as the Bosch will.

I also have a stone grain mill that will make a decent batch of coarse flour for whole wheat or rye. I wouldn't mind a meat grinder attachment but the food processor will suffice for making finely chopped meat rather than ground.

When the unit is not in use, it is covered by a stainless steel panel. I keep a cutting board over it usually, Anyway, we find ours to be powerful and convenient and a space saver. But if if it goes TU I will probably find myself pretty busy finding parts to repair it.

Here's a link to one place you can find them.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 5:38PM
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Yes, indeed, the old NuTones are very popular with full time RVers. They're people, mostly retired, who cook daily, unlike many vacationers. They do, however, have limited cookspace, so don't really need a mixer that'll do a full batch of cookies or bread dough. I seem to remember it also didn't do well on whipping, but you can't have everything. An old fashioned rotary egg beater might come in handy. :)

I know a man who collects NuTones, too. Doesn't use them. Just collects them. I don't think he's the only one.

And they were "popular" for quite some time. When the competition was the Osterizer and Mixmaster, the NuTone showed pretty well. Compared to the Hobart KA mixer, the Robot Coupe Cuisinart, and the Vitamix, they appeared quaint. In the secondary (tertiary?) RV market, they're, again, competing against the Osterizer or As Seen On TV compact blender thingie, the hand held Sunbeam beater whose orbital motion comes from the operator's shoulder, and the folding mandoline. Compared to them, it's a little dynamo.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 11:59PM
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I've seen and occasionally used these many times. Homeowners call them a "NuTone" - the company the first made them. They're flush with the countertop, and has at least five accosories that fit on top, but since they don't each need their own motor or power cord, it saves space. They remain available from other manufacturers.

Kitchen with Nutone installed:

Nutone built-in kitchen center unit:

Modern replacement unit - uses same accessories:

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 4:07AM
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I do have a Nutone built in Food Center. It was built in to the kitchen counter in 1996 when the house was built. I used the Meat grinder once, It worked well. I replaced the counter top with Quartz top. We decided not to drill holes for it so It is in a box with all the attachments.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Hello....I have 3 of these....1 Nutone unit and 2 TCC units, with every attachment available for each. I just built a new kitchen 2 years ago and planned my new TCC unit into the marble counter top design. I thought long and hard about the placement, and where the unit would be most conveievent for Xmas cookie making and for just everyday use....I ended up choosing a location in the space between my dishwasher and sink, as it is in a corner, curved cabinet area that had an empty space between the 2...this allowed for easy access to the electric , as we tapped into the same outlet as the dishwasher, and this was the area where I used my past Kitchenaid center when making HUGE cookie batches or just a simple pudding. Love the fact there is NO seen appliances on my countertop, as there is a special glass cutting board that sits on top of the unit when not in use, so, that is even more counter space available for use. My 2nd TCC unit is located outside and was built into the grill outdoor kitchen area is great for making iced drinks, prepping for salads and any other outdoor creation we are up to. there is a special stainless sliding cover that protects the unit from weather, pollen or dirt. I keep all attachments in the house, and only take what is needed outside as needed. the Nutone unit was bought as new also, 2 years ago, however I loved the modern, contemporary look of the TCC unit...and all attachments can be used on either unit, EXCEPT the blenders....can only be used with the unit they were made for. I love the coffee bean grinder for fresh coffee each day, meat grinder, to save money on cuts of meat, ice crusher for drinks not needing the stainless or glass blenders, juicers are fantastic, along with the salad or cheese and many other foods that need the processing features. And i cant forget the mixer....and have made from 7 minute frostings with the TCC self timer built in, to quick cake batters that come out smooth and creamy. the motors are much quieter since there are down into the cabinet area, and stronger than any kitchen appliance I've used in the last 50 years. I found this unit was cheaper than going with the big name prep units that have very expensive attachments to do simple functions. PLUS...I get to use this outside and really makes a statement and conversation starter at cookouts, cocktail parties, friend and family functions. All pieces are dishwasher safe and very easy to use. I love my kitchen center units and would build them in all over again!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 5:18PM
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