Great British Chefs iPad App

Now, I know I got some of you in trouble last time I reviewed an iPad cooking app (The Professional Chef). I guess these days, in relation to the cost of other apps in the Apple App Store, $50 is no small change. So I promise this one is much more reasonable at $7.49AUD! (a tip - for some reason you need to search for "great british chef" in the App Store even though the title of the app has an "s" at the end)

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While The Professional Chef was very educational and informative, Great British Chefs is more about beauty than learning. You can peruse the content in two main ways, one focused on the chefs and their menus, the other being from the types of recipes. The app defaults to the chef view when it starts and from there you can read their profile or go to their menus. The menus are fantastic and generally provide three full five-course menus per chef. There are twelve world-class chefs in this version of the app.

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The recipe view is gorgeous and presents the recipes in a way that lets your eyes do the choosing. You can view them all or you can filter by course, primary ingredient, or skill level required.

Some of these aren't for the faint-hearted. For instance, chef Tom Aikens includes a Caramel Mousse and Fudge petit four recipe that takes six hours to prepare! But if you love food photography the individual, up-close shots will blow you away.

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One cool feature (I think) is that there is a section dedicated to cookbooks written by the chefs. Of course, given my history, this feature could be dangerous to my bank account after a few glasses of wine...

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And finally, the other feature I really liked was a series of hints, from how to scale a fish to how to make foam with a gas canister (that's on my to-buy and to-do list, for sure).

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There you have it - a gorgeous cooking app for the iPad that won't break the bank. There are also summertime and festive versions which I'll quickly review sometime in the near future.

The Professional Chef App - Have an iPad and want to learn?

I believe that the iPad is a fantastic platform for tools to learn and execute cooking techniques and recipes. I've tried a few apps over the past year, particularly the Epicurious application and Paprika, which is a great recipe manager (sounds like a review is due sometime soon!). So it was with great pleasure that recently I discovered, The Professional Chef, an iPad version of a book by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). The CIA is one of the top culinary schools in the world and they have trained such famous chefs as Anthony Bourdain, host of "No Reservations".

The Professional Chef certainly is an educational application. It isn't focused on recipes but is packed with information on cooking techniques, food handling and identification, and the fundamentals of how to be a good chef.

It is beautifully designed and that's obvious from the opening screen.

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The application is divided into thirty-six chapters, which fit into seven fundamental sections:

  • Part 1: The Culinary Professional
  • Part 2: Tools and Ingredients in the Professional Kitchen
  • Part 3: Stocks, Sauces, and Soups
  • Part 4: Meats, Poultry, Fish, and Shellfish
  • Part 5: Vegetables, Potatoes, Grains and Legumes, and Pasta and Dumplings
  • Part 6: Breakfast and Garde Manger
  • Part 7: Baking and Pastry

Now, I'm not kidding when I say that the application is very detailed. For instance, there are whole dedicated chapters to cooking eggs and cooking potatoes (Chapters 26 and 23, respectively). But the mix of text and multimedia videos really draw you in and I found it incredibly interesting to get into the intricate detail of each topic.

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Inside each chapter there is significant detail and you can decide how much you'd like to learn on each topic. For example, in the Fruit, Vegetable, and Fresh Herb Identification chapter (Chapter 8), there are almost thirty subtopics for each type of fruit, vegetable, or herb. And to cap each chapter off you're given a brief quiz to confirm what you have (or haven't!) learned.

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One of my favourite chapters is the Fabricating Meats, Poultry, and Fish chapter (Chapter 16) where you can get some great detail on butchering and preparation processes. Boning, trimming, shaping, and Frenching are all covered.

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While the book is focused on technique and education, there are many, many recipes. In the Salad Dressings and Salad recipe (Chapter 27) there are just too many to list! And the Hors d'Oeuvre and Appetizers (Chapter 29) chapter lists dozens of great entrees to test on your next set of house guests. My personal favourite is shown below...

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Lastly, if you want to add a distinct technical flair to your cooking, or if you simply want to ensure you know what they're talking about on Master Chef, you'll learn a lot in the knife skills and preparation sections. Remember, this content is used to train the best chefs in the world so there's a lot to learn. And it doesn't matter if you don't master the content - if you at least read and have a try you're sure to improve your cooking.

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Now, the app isn't cheap at around $50AUD ($50US, at the moment) but it's a great investment and research tool. Seriously, I spent fifty bucks on Duke Nuke'em back in the 90s so in the scheme of things this isn't that expensive. And to be honest, it's hard to buy a good lunch out in Sydney for that amount so why not splurge a little and pick up this app? It might just impress your partner - or earn you the second date, as the case may be.