Chef Basket Deluxe - "Does it Work?"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – The Chef Basket Deluxe is a kitchen multi-tasker, claiming the ability to boil, steam, strain, & fry, with one tool.  "From Pot to Plate", is the claim on the packaging.

We take metal basket to Mama Nems Restaurant on Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery for our test.  Chef Guy Alcindor was gracious enough to allow us into the kitchen to give this mesh basket a whirl.

The chef begins by testing its ability to steam some veggies.  The basket is designed to be used two ways.  One is upright, which gives a deep basin for cooking.  By flipping the contraption over, it make a shallower basket, designed for steaming.  He piles some broccoli in the basket and places it over some steamy water.

So far the design is good, but there are a few flaws.  You need to have a perfectly sized pot for best results.

Chef Alcindor says the size of the pot matters "because as you take the lid off, sometimes it collapses and falls in."

A few minutes of steaming and we're ready to test that pot-to-plate claim.  Though the handles were away from the steam and heat the chef says they are still warm to touch -- but the broccoli files onto the plate.  We're impressed with the ease of use.  Chef Alcindor gives the steaming capabilities of the Chef Basket Deluxe a 7 out of 10.

Time to turn up the heat.  Chicken is on deck and the wings go to the pot of hot oil.  Alcindor foregoes leaving the handles out to rest on the rim of the pot for this round.  In order to dip the basket into the oil, we need to slide the basket down into the pot a bit.  Otherwise, the oil would need to be filled to a dangerously high level.  Despite the need for hot pads, the basket withstands the fry oil.  The wings strain and plate with ease.

Chef Alcindor adds, "Now I would use this for home frying.  It's clean, it's convenient.  I give it a 9 [out of 10] for home frying."

It's now pasta time!  The holes are bit large for stringy pasta, so forget about angel hair and spaghetti.  The Chef Basket instructions do call for larger pastas.  Smaller pastas would just slip through the holes.  So we choose penne pasta.  Chef dumps the pasta into the basket submerged in boiling water.

Chef Alcindor notices a problem, "I already see some of the pastas are slipping through the cracks."

As the pasta expands, it becomes large enough to avoid slipping out of the basket.  Ten minutes pass and it's time to strain and dump the penne from the basket.

"[The] dumping process is easy.  I'll give it about 6.5 [out of 10]."

What about clean up?  Alcindor feels that with the sturdy structure of the meshing and the fact that it's dishwasher-safe, the cleaning process shouldn't be much of a hassle.

Broccoli: steamed.  Chicken: fried.  Pasta: cooked.  That leaves only one question.  Does it Work?

Chef Alcindor says, "Yes, it's a yes."'

There you have it, the Chef Basket Deluxe cooks up a YES for this week's "Does it Work?" test.

We found the Chef Basket Deluxe selling for $14.99 at a local retailer.

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