Part of PadGadget’s continuing series “Get Cooking with iPad“
VizChef for iPad aims to take the guess work out of food preparation by including a photo of every single recipe step, as well as every dish, ingredient, and piece of equipment needed to make the recipe.
The 60+ included recipes are largely Italian or American fare, which vary widely in familiarity from lemonade to Saltimbocca di Vitello alla Romana, yet none require advanced culinary training to prepare. The recipes are drawn from a variety of sources, though many are attributed to MI-based Huron River Press or from the developer.
The home screen lists all of the recipes in the app. Users can search, go to an individual recipe, or to settings from the home screen. Preview a recipe in the home screen by touching the single recipe card in the upper left.
Double tap the recipe to open step-by-step instructions for how to prepare it. Users who want to know more about a particular ingredient or piece of equipment in a given step need only to touch its picture. A new picture and description pop open. View the entire recipe as a list by touching the numbered list at the top of the image. A new window scroll-enabled opens. Jump to a new step in the recipe by tapping it.
Each step has two timers associated with it, one for prep and cook time. The timers were easy to use or change, and were always ready to go.
Visit the settings for more useful customization options. The recipe display toggles between “Standard” (every step is displayed) and “Intermediate” (some steps are combined). Users can also override the auto-lock feature or choose to have ingredient amounts displayed in fraction or decimal form.
VizChef’s developer is planning an update in a few months that should include a shopping list feature, hands-free control, as well more information about ingredients and conversions, Twitter integration, and support for uploading and editing a user’s own visual recipes.
VizChef for iPad is available for download in the App Store for $4.99.
What I liked: The UI was intuitive, and ran smoothly. I liked that I could set the display to “Intermediate” and the app would combine some of the steps. I found the timers very convenient to use.
What I didn’t like: Although the included recipes were things I could imagine making on occasion, they were not items I would make regularly. I wish there were more recipes and that the recipes included were more diverse. There were no main courses that were either meat-free or featured fish, for example. Though uploading and editing ones own recipes is planned in a future release, I am not certain that I would be willing to enter my own recipes in as much detail as the app provides.
To buy or not to buy: VizChef is more than the sum of its pretty pictures. It’s a well-designed app that makes cooking easier for home cooks of varying skill levels. It is not, however, a go to app for vegetarians, or anyone searching outside the mainstream for recipes.
- App Name: VizChef
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Lifestyle
- Developer: VizNetwork
- Price: $4.99