McManus was, understandably, concerned. Did these cracks suggest an endemic design problem? Or had heavy test kitchen use put undue pressure on the processor blades, causing them to crack?
McManus, working with the test kitchen director, immediately pulled all the processor blades from the kitchen for inspection. Of 20 blades, 19 showed signs of weakness.
McManus contacted Cuisinart, sending photos of the problem blades and returning a few of the samples for inspection. Cuisinart responded quickly, assuring us that a new blade had already been designed and that all new models would ship with redesigned, non-riveted blades. They promised to dig deeper to determine whether the cracks indicated a broader design problem. McManus continued with her testing, using one of the new blades, and after all the blades in the test kitchen were replaced, cooks got back to work.
After her battery of tests, McManus still chose the Cuisinart Custom 14 model as the winner, this time with redesigned blades, giving it a “highly recommended” rating in the January 2016 edition of Cook’s Illustrated.
But her recommendation came with a stark note of caution to readers: Inspect any previously purchased processor blades, and replace those that showed any signs of wear. (This is good advice for any piece of kitchen equipment.)
Watch our video (published December 2015) below; the blade crack inspection comes in at 5:35.