If you have an iPhone or iPad or some other breed of mobile phone or tablet that can download mobile applications you have the springboard for a robust portable reference library you can use on the fly. In the food category, the menu is extensive. Most celebrity chefs, from Alain Ducasse and Gordon Ramsey to Jamie Oliver and Catt Cora have their own apps. So do culinary schools like the CIAand Escoffier. And, if you have some bucks to spend you can even get the Modernist Cuisine at Home app for a robust $80.
But, if you’re just starting to build your app portfolio, we’ve got some terrific low-cost or free apps that are hugely useful—whether they’re geared toward recipes, shopping, or business/kitchen management. Some of you may have been introduced to these apps by Chef Carol Borchardt at her Personal Chef Summit in San Diego. She offered some ideas here, too.
Take a look and please leave your suggestions in the comments section so we can all fill up our devices with great resources! Note: The apps listed below are found on iTunes for iOS devices. Most, if not all, are also available for Android.
Find & Hire a Personal Chef: Free. We’re starting with our own app first. The APPCA launched this app last year. We suggest you promote it within your own circles and make sure that you (members) are listed in the detail you want since this is geared toward promoting your services. The app is searchable based on geography and includes videos that discuss who needs a personal chef, how to find and hire a personal chef, and features a day in the life of the Dinnermaker Personal Chef Service.
How to Cook Everything: $9.99. From the bestselling cookbook by New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, it features 2,000 recipes and 400 how-to illustrations. There’s also a separate app from Bittman called How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Epicurious: Free. Thousands of recipes from Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and other sources, a recipe box, shopping list, voice commands—and newly updated for iOS 7.
Ratio: $4.99, From Michael Ruhlman’s best-selling cookbook Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. It’s less about the recipes than the building blocks of creating them. So you’ll get 33 key proportions for fundamental recipes and the app does the calculating and converting for you.
Specialty Produce: Free or $1.99 for Specialty Produce Pro. The product of a San Diego produce warehouse, the app has developed into a terrific database of produce history, cultivation, seasonal availability, and recipes.
Kitchen Calculator Pro: $3.99. Perfect for scaling recipes. recipe conversions for temperature, weight, volume, distance. Standard cooking fractions. And you can create a database with your favorite ingredients.
Seafood Watch: Free. From the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Helps you choose sustainable seafood and sushi with rankings of Best Choice, Good Alternative, and Avoid. Includes new project, FishMap.
Hello Vino – Wine Assistant: Free. All-in-one app providing recommendations for meals and specific food pairings, for various occasions, by type and variety, and your own taste preferences.
iAnnotatePDF: $9.95. This isn’t specific to food but Borchardt swears by it for her business. Use it to read, mark up and share PDF, DOC, PPT, and image files. “With the assistance of Dropbox (yet another one!), you are able to make physical changes to PDF documents. When I meet with clients, I take my iPad with me and pull up my menu and the clients can ‘check off’ the ones that appeal to them with their fingertip. I’ve also used it to upload my shopping list, too,” she explains.
GroceryiQ: Free. Build a grocery shopping list with specific brands manually or by scanning barcodes or doing a voice search. Create a favorites list segmented by stores.
Asian Market Shopper: $3.99. Demystifies Asian ingredients, focusing on the 100 most commonly used staples, along with how-to videos and recipes.
The Meat App: $4.99. Another app recommended by Borchardt, this is a butcher’s-eye view of cuts of meat and how to cook them, with butchering tutorials.
CarbsControl: $2.99. If you have diabetic clients, you can use this app to search specific foods and find out the carb count to build a recipe.
Is That Gluten Free?: $7.99. A great resource if you have gluten-free clients. More than 29,000 products and 1,077 brands listed.
Fooducate: Free. Useful for chefs who need to track product nutrition for clients, it features a product/brand scanner and nutrition trips.
4-in-1 Kitchen Timer: Free. A practical app to use when you need to time multiple dishes. Has four timers that you can identify by dish and even continues to count when the app is closed.
What are your favorite, most useful apps? Please leave a comment and let us know.
Not an APPCA member? Now’s the perfect time to join! Go to personalchef.com to learn about all the benefits that come with membership.