Category: Tools & Gadgets

Back in the not too distant past, if someone in the kitchen said they had just gotten a new “App”…it was certain they meant Appliance, of course, now they mean “Application”.

And honestly, more and more, I’m beginning to wonder which is more important?

In my culinary school days, we learned our new recipes in books and techniques, at the foot of our chefs who we emulated with adoration (and sometimes fear). Many a recipe were hastily written by apprentices on anything you could get your hands on when the “Chef” was in his or her “creative mood”, cuz you never knew when the next “masterpiece” might emote. And once a chef got it right, had something really special, something that was sure to become standard fare, that was it. It you weren’t paying attention, taking copious notes from a distance, well? That was it, you had your chance. It’s likely the chef would either file it away in their heads or write it in a private journal that you were never going to see.

Back then, Chefs didn’t share. Many would even reluctantly give out a recipe to one of their own cooks who had to make the dish for a customer! And as a cook, you had to stay a LONG time in one place, to even scape the surface of your Chef’s knowledge bank.

And then came Julia Child, The Galloping Gourmet, Jacque Pepin, and finally, The Food Network. Chefs went from tolerated to respected, admired and then to celebrities almost overnight.

For almost 2 decades, there was a proliferation of cookbooks. Every Chef who donned an apron either did or wanted to write one.

Writing a cookbook was a status symbol. Part of the resume of any chef worth his “salt”.

And Chefs started parting with their “cherished” recipes in droves. Recipes could now make money “twice”. Besides, the creative ones could write recipes only “similar” to their restaurant counterparts. And they know, what I know, which is that few cookbook readers would ever take the time to make a recipe like they do in their professional realm.

Recipes requiring long reductions, hard to source ingredients, complicated techniques, multiple steps and mostly…time.

So for the most part, Chefs still share their recipes, but in most cases, they’re modified for the “masses”. I’ll call them “Recipe Lite”….Most of the flavor, ½ the work.

Now….now we have Apps and recipes are being recycled once more for a waiting audience of Culinauts, albeit a slightly younger crowd.

But more than recipes, the buyers of Android phones, Iphones and Ipads are a peculiar crowd. They might be more inclined to use a culinary oriented App more to know what’s in something, make a special “once in a while dish” or to settle the bet of who Caesar Salad is named after, than to find an every day recipe.

In fact, one of the most popular food oriented Apps is where to find a good restaurant! Or ANY restaurant for that matter.

Yep, the big GPS in the sky knows right where you are and how many feet you are away from a McDonalds, Applebees, Outback or any restaurant category from Asian to Vegetarian, and from fast food to haute food.

You’re never more than a “click” away from “Cuisinarama” or some other slick culinary App.

Some are indeed cookbook Apps, (you never know when you’ll need a 4th new recipe for chili or decide that you REALLY are going to brine a turkey this year). Most of mine aren’t.

I’ve got my favorites and ALL are on my Iphone and Ipad. Most are free, but if you travel, enjoy cooking or just want to know where the nearest Taco Bell is at 3:00 am while you’re tooling home from the Casino, some of these Apps can really come in handy.

Don’t hold me to their usefulness but if you try and use any of these, I’d like to get your opinion? Or maybe you have one you’d like to share? Bring it on!!

Zagat                       Best Restaurant Guide on the Planet

Open Table              Restaurant locator + you can make reservations

Finder Restaurant    Says it all

MFG Lite                  Just a UK thing but when I travel to England, luv it!

Fast Food                Got the munchies?  Look no further

Where to Eat           Restaurant locator

Epicurious                Recipes, Videos and more.

CIA                          The Culinary Institute of America App.

Grocery IQ               Love this grocery list App, you might too!

Nino’s Deli 1,2,3      Nino’s deli meats and Sushi right from your phone!

Seafood Watch        Love fish? This is the Holy Grail of knowledge.

Recipe Grazer          A decent recipe

Pocket Chef             A totally stupid game….but what the??

Food Spotting          New one, still trying to figure this one out?

Again, there are literally hundreds if not thousands more, let me know what you think of these and share your stories!

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