Like a retail or consumer-grade version, a professional food processor is designed to use a blade or other attachment to mix, chop and blend food. The difference is that a professional food processor is intended to be used in a commercial food preparation environment such as a restaurant kitchen. In general, the professional version of a food processor has a sturdy exterior made from a material that is easy to maintain and compliant with sanitation regulations for the area in which it is used. The motor typically is much more powerful than that of a food processor intended for home kitchen use and is able to withstand constant use over the course of a day. Unlike home versions, however, a professional food processor might have fewer safety features, giving a professional chef more flexibility and power, but also requiring more caution when used.
One of the more defining features of a professional food processor is the size of the bowl or compartment in which the food is processed. Some models are only slightly larger than a normal home food processor, while others are so large that the machine must be mounted on the floor for use. In addition, the lid for the bowl doesn't always include a chute for adding food once the machine is activated.
The motor used in a professional food processor can be very powerful. Not only is it designed to be as durable as possible and to operate with very little downtime between uses, but it also is able to handle nearly any type of food placed in the machine, from whipping eggs to crushing ice. In some cases, the motor inside a professional food processor can be many times more powerful than that in a home model, making it capable of pureeing instead of chopping many ingredients if care is not taken.
Although a professional food processor can be made from a number of materials, many use stainless steel for the surface and sometimes the bowl. The base of the machine can be manufactured to be very heavy so it does not move without some effort. A stainless steel surface makes the machine easy to clean while also giving it a high resistance to corrosion and burning.
A professional food processor often is intended to be used in a commercial kitchen, so some of the safety features that are used on consumer versions are not present. These can include guards and switches that might prevent a person from opening the lid of the machine while it is running, or internal mechanisms that lock the motor if it encounters too much pressure. Instead, the machine provides increased flexibility and relies on the knowledge of the chef for safe operation.