Kitchen gadgets review: the Garlic Zoom – a leprechaun’s Perspex stagecoach

Rhik Samadder tests the Garlic Zoom
Rhik Samadder tests the Garlic Zoom. Photograph: Teri Pengilley/Guardian


The Garlic Zoom (£9.99,, a rollable chamber, housing revolving blades. Manual propulsion minces garlic cloves or root ginger; chopped product can be collected in the chamber’s upper hemisphere. It aims to replace the garlic press or, er, a knife.


For when you want chopped garlic, but can’t be bothered to chop garlic. Or are scared of garlic. Fair enough if you have problems holding a knife, but not if you’re worried about garlic fingers, or are incredibly lazy. How are you going to cook the rest of the meal? This is the easiest bit.


Roll it like a Tonka truck …
Roll it like a Tonka truck … Photograph: Teri Pengilley/Guardian

According to the packaging, Garlic Zoom was created by “David A Holcombe, Famous Inventor”. The words are self-undermining, but I like the attitude. It is what an eight-year-old would write on his pencil case. In fact, with big green wheels and mini blades that resemble ninja throwing stars, the Garlic Zoom does feel a bit child-designed.

It is not very efficient – two peeled cloves crammed inside feels crowded, and to get anything like a uniform chop you have to zoom the carriage back and forth hard, like an only child furiously rolling a Tonka truck, or someone trying to erase a mistake. Which doesn’t feel like cooking. It cuts fine – as in OK – but the pouring hatch is redundant: you have to fish around with a finger to get the sticky stuff out. Ginger may fare better, but there will still be fiddly blade-washing afterwards, so either way your fingers are going to see some blue plasters.

However, the real problem isn’t that it doesn’t work; it is that you don’t need it. In use, the cogs mesh smoothly and the wheels have a pleasing traction, thanks to their thick rubber trim. But this is garlic-chopping, not the Indy 500. Why are we talking about wheel trim? I am telling you now: Gordon Ramsay did not earn his chops mincing garlic in a Perspex gizmo that looks like a leprechaun’s stagecoach. If you must spend some money, go and buy a good knife.

Redeeming features

Trying to get the garlic out …
Trying to get the garlic out … Photograph: Teri Pengilley/Guardian

It claws a point for the quirky, compact design, and the easy separation of parts for washing. However, it still creates too much washing up for chopped garlic, and at a tenner, is not particularly cheap.

Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?

Back of the cupboard. Or an elf’s garage.