Is the Breville Sous Chef a dream machine or total overkill? That depends on your needs. Get all the details here to decide if this food processor is right for you!
The Breville Sous Chef food processor is a powerful workhorse loaded with features. This 16 cup, 1200 Watt processor is high quality, built to last, easy to use, easy to clean, performs well on everything, and consumers absolutely love it. Out of the box it comes with every bowl, blade, and disc made for this model, including specialty discs, plus a storage case for all the accessories. You just can’t go wrong with this … or can you?
Fact is, this model is one of the more expensive food processors on the market, and it is not suited for everyone or every kitchen. It might be your dream come true, but for some it can be total overkill. Below you’ll find all the details to help you decide whether it’s the best food processor for you.
NOTE: This review applies to Breville BFP800 series that includes model numbers BFP800XL, BFP800BSXL, and BFP800CBXL. The three models are identical except for color: Stainless Steel (BFP800XL), Black Sesame (BFP800BSXL), and Cranberry Red (BFP800CBXL). Prices for red or black may be slightly more than for stainless.
- 1200 Watt Motor
- 16-Cup Work Bowl
- Nesting 2.5-Cup Mini Processing Bowl
- Large Chopping/Mixing Blade (*see note below)
- Small Chopping/Mixing Blade (for mini work bowl)
- Dough Blade
- Variable Slicing Disc, up to 24 thickness settings (0.3mm to 8.0mm)
- Julienne Disc, French Fry Disc, Whisking Disc, Reversible Shredding Disc
- Touchpad controls, LCD Display, Timer (count-up or count-down)
- Super Wide Feed Chute – 5.5″
- Silicone Seal to reduce leakage when processing liquids
- Accessory Storage Box, Plastic Spatula, and Cleaning Brush
- BPA free bowl, dishwasher safe but see caveat below
- 25-year Motor Warranty; Limited 1-year Warranty on Unit
A Quick Video Overview of the Breville Sous Chef Food Processor
This very short video (2 1/2 minutes) gives you an up close look at the Sous Chef, as well as a few tips and tricks. (Review continues below video.)
See the Breville Sous Chef on Amazon
The Good News
Why the Sous Chef Earns Such High Praise
The Breville Sous Chef certainly delivers on capacity. Its 16 cup work bowl is huge, about the largest you’ll find on a non-commercial unit. That’s a big advantage for gardeners at harvest time or anyone who does a lot of food prep. Any good food processor does its job very quickly, but this large work bowl doesn’t have to be emptied as often, so batch processing will go faster for you.
The large capacity is also great if you process a lot of thin soups because like with all food processors, you can’t fill the bowl to capacity with liquids.
Another help is the extra wide feed chute. It measures 5.5 inches to allow for feeding more food at a time as well as very large items. You don’t have to spend as much time cutting potatoes or onions or cabbage into chunks small enough to fit the feed tube.
With the ability to handle that much capacity, you need plenty of power, and the Sous Chef doesn’t disappoint. Its 1200 Watt motor makes this unit a top performer when it comes to slicing potatoes and other firmer vegetables. It also handles kneading dough without jumping around the counter, and you don’t have to worry about bogging it down.
In fact, all that power makes it easy to over process until you get used to it. If you’ve been using a smaller processor for a while, be prepared to start out using only the pulse speed as you experiment and learn how fast it works. Otherwise, those chopped veggies you wanted for dinner might end up as baby food instead.
Also note that there have been complaints of the spindle getting hot enough to melt the bowl cover. This is not a common complaint, and some cases appear to be user error. Be sure to read instructions, especially on kneading bread dough.
When it comes to the ability to perform all kinds of tasks on all kinds of foods, the Sous Chef is hard to beat. There is nothing extra to buy because every available accessory comes with the unit. The combination of both super wide and small feed chutes, plus a big variety of blades and discs, makes the machine capable of accommodating quite a range of food shapes and sizes while also producing the best results.
For standard chopping, mixing and slicing jobs, this model performs very well and is extremely fast. There is only one slicing disc, but it is adjustable from 8mm all the way down to 0.33mm, from thick slices down to sliver thin. It’s designed to work on food such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, chocolate, and deli meats. Just be aware that you might experience slight variations in those settings due to the type of food and the amount of pressure you apply to the pusher.
The large chopping blade is a micro-serrated S blade. A few online videos have caused some confusion about this blade, so to be sure you understand what you’re getting, see our note below about the large chopping/mixing blade.
The shredding disc is reversible (coarse or fine), and the other specialty discs are the French Fry Disc, Julienne Disc (smaller strips than french fries), and the Whisking Disc. It may be worth noting that throughout the user manual the Whisking Disc is referred to as the “Emulsion Disc”. In fact, this is the disc used for making mayonnaise, but it is also capable of whipping up stiff egg whites. Just be aware that it only works with the large work bowl, and you’ll have to use a minimum of 6 egg whites. That’s a lot of meringue, so if you have a mixer, don’t plan on throwing it out just yet.(Back to Top)
Stainless Steel color is cheaper!
Note that the base material is NOT stainless steel. The COLOR is called stainless steel.
At right is the Breville Sous Chef shown in Black Sesame. It’s gorgeous, but be aware that this color usually sells for $45+ more than what you’ll pay for this same model in the stainless color.
Interestingly, the Cranberry Red model is usually priced about the same as the stainless color. Note that recently this color has been out of stock more often than not.
Click here to see the Cranberry Red Breville Sous Chef on Amazon. (To see black, click on the image at right.)
While it seems odd to mention replacement parts for a brand new product, this is definitely worth thinking about for the long term. This unit’s motor carries a 25 year warranty. It stands to reason that your bowls and discs won’t last that long, especially with heavy use. Over the years you may need to buy new parts, and that’s something worth factoring in when you’re comparison shopping.
This one is actually both good news and bad news because some replacement parts for the Breville are very reasonable, but the work bowl is pricey. To give you an idea, the little chart below shows the prices of a few parts for the Breville Sous Chef and the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14 Cup Food Processor. These prices are rounded up to the nearest dollar and are the lowest found at time of this publishing.
|Replacement part:||Breville Sous Chef||Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY|
|Large Work Bowl||$74 (16 Cup)||$37 (14 Cup)|
|Work Bowl Cover (lid)||$38||$30|
|Pusher for Feed Chute||$11||$9|
A few years ago both the Breville work bowl and cover sold for half those prices. But of course, with today’s inflation rates a lot of prices have gone through the roof. Regardless, it’s something you may want to consider. On the other hand, one thing you run into with cheaper models is that replacing more than one part can cost almost as much as buying a whole new food processor.
As you’ll see below under Customer Reviews, complaints are rare and praise is abundant. In addition to that, in 2012 the Breville Sous Chef was rated the top choice by such prestigious places as Good Housekeeping and Consumer Reports.
However, you should also know that another respected source disagreed, not on quality but on value for the dollar. That brings us to the reasons this model might not be your top choice either – next up, the “bad” news.(Back to Top)
The Bad News
Is it worth the money?
The answer to that is, it’s all about you. The Sous Chef offers the best in capacity, power, and versatility, but the fact is that everyone doesn’t want or need top of the line features or performance.
That was the opinion of America’s Test Kitchen. In their 2013 review they found no fault with the Breville Sous Chef but felt that its extra features didn’t necessarily justify its price tag. (See more info about this below.)
It boils down to the difference between what average and heavy users expect and want. If you’ve never owned a food processor, or if you’re considering the Sous Chef as a major upgrade, give serious thought to which of the many tasks you will actually do, or not do. The basics are chopping, mixing, slicing, and grating, and you can find models that perform those tasks well and cost a lot less. Beyond that you might ask yourself questions such as:
- Do you often cook for lots of people or enjoy making recipes in double batches?
- Will you use your processor several times a week, or only monthly?
- Will you use the Julienne or other specialty discs often, or ever?
The power of the Sous Chef makes it incredibly strong and fast, but does that matter to you? Speed is important for big jobs, like when you need to slice a bushel of squash from your garden. Strength matters most for tasks such as kneading bread dough or double batches of pizza dough.
If the capabilities of the Sous Chef have you drooling, then by all means go for it! On the other hand, you won’t get any benefit from features you never use. There is no question that this is one of the most versatile models on the market, but casual users could quickly reach the point of diminishing returns.
What are the Drawbacks
As for quality or design flaws, it’s hard to find a lot of bad points about the Breville Sous Chef. There are, however, some drawbacks you should be aware of before you buy.
Size and Weight: This model is very big, and it’s very heavy. To decide whether the size is more than you’re able or willing to accommodate, jump down and read the info under Size and Capacity.
Cleaning: The bowls, lid, discs and blades are dishwasher safe on the top rack only, but there’s one very important caveat to that. Following is a direct quote from the “Care, Cleaning & Storage” section of the user manual:
“The plastic parts may occasionally be washed in the dishwasher (top shelf only). It is not recommended on a regular basis, as prolonged exposure to hot water temperatures and harsh detergents will damage and shorten the life of the plastic.”
If you’re horrified at the thought of hand washing anything, ever, that might be a big turnoff for you. Research turned up numerous reports from owners about the large work bowl developing a crack. If it is still under warranty Breville will replace it, but the problem is that the part is very often out of stock – which might be an indication that cracked bowls are a common problem. You might note that the bowl does not contain BPA, and eliminating BPA makes the plastic weaker.
Drizzle Hole: Another minor detail you might want to know is that there is no “drizzle hole”. For mayonnaise, you process using the emulsifying disc (Whisking Disc) and, with the motor running, slowly add oil through the small feed chute. Again, only you can decide whether this is trivial or something worth factoring into your decision.(Back to Top)
Size and Capacity
As you might expect in a machine that has such a large processing capacity, this unit is big. Assembled, it measures 10.2″ x 8″ x 17.8″, so you’ll need ample counter space and clearance for any overhanging cabinets.
The Sous Chef is also very heavy, weighing in at approximately 26 pounds. Considering the size and weight, it’s wise to plan ahead for where you will use and store the unit. Even if you have plenty of cabinet space, will it be feasible for you to lug it across the kitchen before and after every use?
Also, don’t forget about the accessory box. It measures 9.5″(L) x 12″(W) x 7.75″(H), so that takes up a little more room. However, it doesn’t have to sit flat. It’s made so that you can store it upright on its back to save space on your counter or in the cabinet.
Having cooked in a tiny little galley kitchen, I can tell you that this food processor would be a little overwhelming on such limited counter space. Add to that the storage box for accessories, and it really eats up a lot of room. Even so, it’s all about priorities.
It reminds me of a story I heard years ago from a piano tuner. A young couple desperately wanted a baby grand piano but had no room for it it their tiny apartment. They also weren’t interested in moving to a larger home at that point. Instead, they got rid of their dining table, replaced it with the baby grand, bought bar stools, and let the piano double for their table.
Just goes to show that if something is important enough to you, there might be some way to make it work. Only you can decide! To test it out, you might try finding a box about the size of the Sous Chef and sit it on your counter for a while to see if you can really live with that lost space.
This unit includes two work bowls, and the total capacity of each is:
- Large bowl – 16 Cups
- Small Bowl – 2.5 Cups
The large bowl is great for all sorts of really big jobs, but do be aware that its total usable capacity will depend on what you’re processing. The main limitation is with processing liquids or semi-liquids. For example, while the total capacity of the largest bowl is 16 cups, the maximum amount of liquid you can process is 12 cups.
The mini bowl is designed for processing very small quantities, for instance when you need to chop garlic or ginger or make bread crumbs for a recipe. It’s very small, but it has a deep, narrow design so you get more uniform results when mincing foods.
All parts that come in contact with food are BPA free.(Back to Top)
- 16-Cup Work Bowl
- Nesting 2.5-Cup Mini Processing Bowl
- Large Micro-Serrated S Blade* See Important Note Below
- Mini Chopping/Mixing Blade (fits the mini processing bowl)
- Dough Blade
- Adjustable Slicing Disc (0.3mm to 8.0mm)
- Reversible Shredding Disc
- Julienne Disc
- French Fry Disc
- Whisking Disc
- 5.5″ Super Wide Feed Chute
- Accessory Storage Box
- Plastic Spatula
- Cleaning Brush
- Instruction/Recipe Book
The Sous Chef also includes a built-in timer that will count up or count down. If you’ve owned other food processors, one thing you’ll have to get used to with the Sous Chef is its incredible power. It’s so strong and fast that it’s very easy to over process. For that reason, the timer could come in handy for new users. When it is not set, the timer automatically counts up during processing. By observing as you work, you can learn how much processing time is required for various foods – and more importantly with this unit, how much is too much.
The 51 page Instruction/Recipe Book is very informative and a good resource to check before you buy. You can view it online here: Breville the Sous Chef® Instruction Book
This guide gives you clear, up-close views of the various parts, explains exactly how everything works, and provides a quick reference chart showing which blades or discs to use processing different foods.
If you still have questions and can’t find an answer anywhere else, you can send an email to the address shown inside the book: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Important Note About the Large Chopping/Mixing Blade
There is some confusion about this blade because there are videos on YouTube from Australia (where the Breville Sous Chef is designed). Those videos show the Australian version of the Sous Chef with its “quad” blade. That quad blade is NOT included with or available for the U.S. version of the unit. The U.S. version has a smaller motor to accommodate the voltage loss from 220 to 120, and the quad blade is for the 220V unit only.
The large chopping/mixing blade included with the U.S. unit is a dual blade with one side set lower than the other. According to the manufacturer, both the U.S. and Australian units process comparably.(Back to Top)
There aren’t any. I looked everywhere just to be sure. That isn’t surprising because out of the box the Sous Chef will do just about everything except brush your teeth for you. Actually this is welcome news because once you decide to make the investment in this food processor, you’re done. You won’t have to wish you could splurge on some extra blade or disc to do one specialty job. Unlike most other models, this one even includes Julienne and Whisk discs.
What are the common complaints?
If you do further research on this model be sure to pay attention to the date on information you find. Originally, there was a design flaw in the Sous Chef that made it impossible to grate hard cheese without damaging or breaking the work bowl. That flaw has long since been corrected, and the incident says a lot about Breville customer service. As soon as the problem was reported, Breville immediately started redesigning the unit, and in the meantime they changed their owner’s manual to warn users not to grate hard cheese. They quickly solved the problem with a new work bowl, lid, and disc, and these newly designed parts were shipped free to anyone who had already purchased the unit and wanted them, regardless of whether the original parts were still under warranty.
Back to the point though, any complaints you find about damage related to grating cheese are now irrelevant. That problem was solved a good while back.
The only problem mentioned with any frequency is that of the large work bowl developing a crack over time. Keep in mind that the manufacturer recommends that you do not clean the bowl in the dishwasher on a regular basis.
Otherwise, legitimate complaints are rare. The few people who report having received a defective unit also reported how quickly the factory shipped a replacement unit. Lots of consumers, and also Good Housekeeping, give Breville high marks for excellent customer service.
If you’re familiar with The Healthy Kitchen Shop you know that every effort is made to find and report anything negative. Our product reviews aren’t “sales pitches” because that doesn’t help you. To make an informed decision, you need to know both the pros and the cons. In the case of the Breville Sous Chef, negative reviews are just very scarce. If you find otherwise we’d love to hear from you, but based on our research, consumer feedback is overwhelmingly positive. In fact, if you buy this model and are disappointed, most likely it will be because you got way more than you needed.(Back to Top)
What do owners like about this model?
Consumers who love the Breville Sous Chef are quite enthusiastic with their praise. Their descriptions include phrases like: dream machine; better than I expected; amazing machine; simply the best ever; couldn’t be happier. It goes on and on, and some even compared it (relatively speaking) to a Bentley and a Porsche.
Favorite features most often mentioned include:
- Sturdy, built to last
- Powerful yet quiet
- Amazingly fast
- Does every job well
- Large array of attachments included
- Excellent customer service
- Slices so good it will replace your mandoline
Keep in mind that the last item on the list is taken from customer comments. It’s probably not a good idea to toss your mandoline until you try the Sous Chef for yourself!
Overall, purchasers of this model are extremely satisfied. This is a top selling food processor, and over the years it has maintained a very high rate of consumer approval. As of November, 2022, there are now close to 3,000 online reviews, which is a lot considering that this is one of the most expensive food processors on the market. See the Breville Sous Chef on Amazon and read customer reviews there.(Back to Top)
- Extra large capacity
- Super wide feed tube
- Powerful, strong, and fast
- Heavy duty, quality built
- Performs well on all types of foods
- Bowls/Feed Chutes designed to accommodate wide range of food shapes & sizes
- All blades and discs included, no extras to buy
- Good Customer Service
- Good Warranty
- Size – large space required for use and storage
- Weight – very heavy to move around
- So powerful that it’s easy to over process food
- Manufacturer recommends limited use of dishwasher for cleaning
Breville Sous Chef Review BFP800XL: Summary
This food processor isn’t for everyone. The cost may simply be more than you’re willing to spend, or the size and weight may not be suitable for you. As well, a lot of “average” users won’t ever need this level of power or variety of features. What is a dream machine for some could actually be overkill for others.
The Breville Sous Chef BFP800XL is for frequent and heavy food processor users and serious cooks. For this group, the extra power and features make it worth the investment. Complaints are few and far between, and overall it gets the highest ratings of any comparable model available. Add to that good customer service and an excellent warranty, and it’s a winner all around.
NOTE: If you don’t need the 16 cup capacity, you may also want to check out the smaller model Breville BFP660SIL Sous Chef 12 Food Processor
(Back to Top)
Not sure whether this model is for you?
Another very good choice is the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor.
Obviously, the total capacity is somewhat smaller, but this is a powerful machine that performs very well and costs about half what you would pay for the Breville. In fact, America’s Test Kitchen chose the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY model as their top pick in food processors. After comparison testing, here’s what they said in their 2013 review:
“The Breville performed solidly and efficiently, but we’re not convinced that its extra features are worth an additional $200.” … “After running 12 tests (everything from making a double batch of pizza dough to slicing tomatoes), we believe the Cuisinart is still the best choice.”
(Source: America’s Test Kitchen Note: Prices of both models have changed since that review.)
Click here to see the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor on Amazon.
Or, click here to read our complete review of the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY Food Processor.
For Information on Other Food Processor Models: See our quick reference charts for side-by-side comparison of bestselling food processors of all sizes: