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Chef's Choice Gourmet "VariTilt" Electric Food Slicer (Model 632)

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Chef's Choice Electric Food Slicer

Chef's Choice Electric Food Slicer (Model 632)

Photo © Danilo Alfaro

The Bottom Line

The Chef's Choice Gourmet "VariTilt" Electric Food Slicer (compare prices) is a decent slicer at a decent price. But if you really want your meats sliced "deli-thin," as the manufacturer promises, you should be prepared to use a little elbow grease.
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Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Gets the job done
  • Disassembly and cleaning is fairly easy
  • Light enough to move around the kitchen

Cons

  • For thinly sliced meats, you'll need muscles on your muscles
  • Feels flimsy
  • Slides around the counter
  • Thickness settings aren't realistic

Description

  • 7-inch (17 cm.) stainless steel serrated blade
  • Dimensions: 14.0"L x 12.0"W x 11.0"H
  • Weight: 10.6 lbs
  • 100-watt motor

Guide Review - Chef's Choice Gourmet "VariTilt" Electric Food Slicer (Model 632)

Let's get one thing straight from the outset. We got this slicer specifically to slice meats like ham, turkey breast and roast beef. And by slice, I mean thinly, for sandwiches. It is called a "food slicer," not a "meat slicer," so maybe it wasn't designed primarily for slicing meats. But the manufacturer says it slices meats "deli-thin," and that's what we wanted.

To be sure, the manual describes other uses, like slicing fruits and vegetables. But I wouldn't buy a $300 electric slicer for that. I'd just use a knife, or maybe a mandoline.

How Thin is "Deli-Thin"?

For sandwiches, I like my meats sliced very thin, like 1/16 of an inch — and thinner than that for Serrano ham or Prosciutto. The thickness can be adjusted by turning a knob. The knob is numbered from 0, the thinnest setting, to 15, the thickest, which is about 5/8 of an inch.

To get my ham or turkey sliced thin enough for sandwiches, I had to use the "0" setting. I would've set it thinner if I could, but at "0" the blade is literally flush with the thickness control plate, which means I had to apply a lot of sideways pressure to give the blade traction into the meat. The "1" setting would probably be just right for slicing cheese. I couldn't tell you what the other 14 settings would be good for. Maybe for slicing bread.

This model's "VariTilt" feature lets you tilt the slicer onto a 30-degree angle, which supposedly lets gravity do some of the work. But the truth is, Earth doesn't have that much gravity. You'd have to operate the slicer on a Jupiter-sized planet before gravity alone made the slicing any easier. No matter how you tilt it, you're going to have to push pretty hard.

Pushing Too Hard?

And that's what makes using this slicer so strenuous. Not only do you have to apply significant sideways pressure to get the blade to bite into the meat, you also have to apply forward pressure to do the actual slicing. Unless you're the Incredible Hulk, it's not easy to push that hard in two directions at once.

Moreover, all that pushing means that the slicer tends to slide around on the counter, despite the rubber feet it's equipped with. I used it on a marble countertop, and the thing just wouldn't stay put.

Plastic, Plastic Everywhere

This is due, in part, to the fact that the slicer is fairly light. By that, I mean, lots of it is made of plastic. That includes the plastic "food pusher" which is used to push the meat into the blade. So you're pushing with all your strength toward a rapidly spinning, ultra-sharp blade, and the piece of plastic you're pushing on feels like it could snap at any second. It better not snap, but it's still a disconcerting feeling.

Conclusions

If it seems like I hated this slicer, I didn't. I liked the childproof safety switch, and happily, taking it apart, cleaning it and putting it back together is fairly easy. Unless you're planning to run a sandwich shop out of your kitchen, it should perform adequately enough. And at around $300, you could do a lot worse.
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