Thursday, July 19, 2012

Great British Chefs - Summertime: app of the day

Great British Chefs (© Great British Chefs 2012)
What is it?
A new app from the makers of Great British Chefs, rounding up 105 summery recipes from 21 chefs including Marcus Wareing, Tom Aikens and Pascal Aussignac (yes, born in France, but cooking in Britain, since you ask).
Coolest feature
The lip-smacking food photography, especially when viewed on an iPad. You'll want to cook most of the recipes all at once, right now.
iPhone/iPad - £1.99
When the first iPad was announced, nobody thought parents would be happily handing the device over to sticky-fingered toddlers to play apps on. Yet that's become one of the most popular uses for Apple's tablet. For similar reasons, cookery has been an equally surprising category.
Prop up a £329 (at least) tablet in a steamy room when flour, eggs and hot water are being thrown around? Never. Yet cookery apps from the likes of Jamie Oliver and the BBC have confounded those fears in style.
The original Great British Chefs app was released in July 2011, and later spawned a 'Feastive' Christmas edition in November that year. Now there's a third: Great British Chefs - Summertime. Get it now, and you'll be well prepared if summer ever deigns to arrive in the UK in 2012.
The idea: 21 chefs working in Britain have been asked for five recipes each. The emphasis is on chefs famous for their restaurants rather than TV fame, with biographies of each one to tell you where they're cooking in the real world.
You can browse the recipe collection by chef, or by attributes including course, complexity and food categories (meat, picnics, BBQ etc), marking any that you love as favourites to make them easily findable in future.
Great British Chefs - Summertime: app of the day
Video tutorials are also part of the app, if you need help to clean a squid, open an oyster, butcher a duck or "section an octopus" - one imagines the latter involves lots of form-filling and a crew of eight men in white coats.
The dishes look delicious, with the app making an understandably big deal out of its beautifully-shot photographs both when browsing for a recipe and actually cooking it. There's also a built-in timer, and the ability to add your own notes to any recipe.
And the floury fingers? There's a neat voice-control feature that, once triggered, lets you say 'next' and 'back' to move forwards and backwards within the recipe instructions while cooking.
Also good is the ability to add individual ingredients - or all those used for a particular recipe - to a shopping list section. A tie-in with online shopping site Ocado lets you add them to its online basket if you're a customer, although that's not so useful on iPhone where you're taken to a full-size website.
All this, and the app is benefitting charity too: at least £1.20 from each £1.99 sale goes to Action Against Hunger. Which at least makes the fact that the app isn't a universal build - you'll have to pay once for iPhone and again if you also want it on iPad - a little easier to swallow.
Great British Chefs is rated five stars out of five by MSN Tech & Gadgets

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