With its wide blades, contoured pitcher, five speeds, and three additional functions (pulse, smoothie, and crushed ice), this home machine wowed Schenker – high praise from a chef whose go-to tool is often an industrial blender. "It's intuitively designed and simple to use," he says, after making everything from potato soup to apple purée without a glitch. The LCD timer and tuck-away cord also earned props. "If it could grind spices, it'd be my dream blender," he says. "Still, it's my favorite here." [$200; williams-sonoma.com]