Type in ‘food’ or ‘cooking’ into your phone’s app store, and the likelihood is you will be confronted by a swarm of calorie counting apps. However, hidden amongst this guilt-inducing crowd are an increasing number of apps dedicated to developing the culinary skills of cooks of all abilities. These range from handy recipe suggestions, to video tutorials on handling daunting kitchen utensils, as well as ‘food networks’ to share tips and experiences with other cooks. As well as the likely candidates – Jamie Oliver, BBC’s Good Food, and of course, Nigella – are some nifty independent inventions that aim to put a twist on your routine recipes. Here are a selection of tried and tested recipe apps, all free, available on Android or iPhone, and suitable for all abilities and interests.
The Beginner: Kitchen Stories
There is a reason this app one a ‘Best of the App Store’ award in 2014: not only does it have 520 recipes and video preparation guides, but it also offers an automatically generated shopping list feature, and a customised preference list regarding dietary requirements. The food calculator allows the user to enter the ingredients they already have, and suggests some recipes using that data. Along with the ability to comment on recipes with the integrated notepad, the app encourages the development of food networks, where friends on the app can share recipe tips and queries.
The Experienced Cook: Chefsteps
Chefsteps provides a unique experience for the advanced chef, specialising in expert cooking: it offers easy to use step by step video guides, directing the user through the trickier part of culinary preparation. What makes this app unique however, is that through mastering and preparing increasingly difficult dishes, more recipes and tutorials can be unlocked. Although the recipe collection revolves primarily around American cuisine – a fried chicken sandwich is promoted as a star dish – the meals are genuinely delicious and varied. Useful for those wishing to develop their culinary technique, Chefsteps provides an accessible guide to advanced kitchen utensil usage such as sous vide machines and knife honing – not very useful in a student kitchen, granted, but their macaroon recipes are fool proof.
The Experimental Cook: Foodpairing
This genius little app is the equivalent of a food dating app: it matches foods based on the similarities of their aromas. Just enter the main ingredient that you have to make dinner – say steak – and the app will suggest a list of ingredients that make an unusual but tasty pairing with the ingredient – for example, adding a splash of Dutch gin to your steak sauce to improve the flavour. Likewise, parmesan shavings on strawberries are a match made in heaven. A definite must for those who would rather stay in marathoning Netflix rather than go all the way to the supermarket, and are wondering what they could possibly concoct from the mismatched ingredients lurking in the fridge.
The Drinks Connoisseur: Mixology
For every student tired of the classic vodka lemonade pre-drinks this app lets you enter the mixers and ingredients you have to make a delicious cocktail, and it even suggests the glassware appropriate for said drink. For a fun evening with you house all bring out your drinks and have a cocktail making party, creating old favourite and new twists. The app also teaches you the language of mixology so you can really impress your friends and family. With thousands of recipes you’re sure to find a new favourite drink.