For the past year I’ve been working secretly on a really cool project with Iron Chef Cat Cora and the team that created her iPad app Cat’s Kitchen. And since the project was officially announced yesterday, now I can share it with all of you!!! It’s a revolutionary app called Nimble Chef, and it takes some of the best dishes from the country’s finest restaurants and chefs, and breaks them down for the home cook, so WE can all execute the kind of recipes used in Michelin-starred restaurants and from James Beard Award-winning chefs. And we’re not the only ones who think it’s genius…Entrepreneur Magazine recognized us in their “100 Brilliant Companies” list in 2012!
This isn’t just an electronic cookbook. It’s completely different. You can assemble your own dinner party from a library of these world-class recipes. The app will give you a shopping list. And it can scale the recipes for however many people you are serving, whether it’s 2 or 20, so there’s no waste. Then you tell it when you’re serving the dinner, and it schedules your cooking for you, even a few days out. Say you’re going to serve at 8pm on Saturday. On Friday evening the app will prompt you to make a couple of the sauces and some of the components for dessert. It will effortlessly move you between tasks for ALL the recipes, it times everything for you, and if you get delayed, it will recalculate your estimated serving time so you can let guests know.
The role *I* played in the development of the app was in recipe adaptation, testing, and editing. We get recipes from the best chefs in the country, but often they are just notes, and often they are in restaurant-sized quantities. My job is to extract a recipe scaled for the home, test it in my kitchen using normal home-kitchen equipment, so that I know the potential pitfalls and risky spots in the recipe, and then edit the recipe so that complex techniques are very clearly explained…so ANYONE can execute the dish, even if they are new in the kitchen.
It may sound like an easy job, but even the entry of the information into the system is challenging. It’s not like writing a cookbook at all. Because the app is “smart,” I have to built relationships between tasks, so that the app knows which tasks have to be completed before other tasks can be started…and which tasks are not dependent upon others and can be done at any time. I have to tell the app how long you can wait after performing a task before you absolutely have to start the next task for the recipe. (Sometimes that’s a day or two…sometimes it’s less than a minute.) This is how it can switch you between recipes and coordinate your cooking schedule to use your time most efficiently and still have everything ready at the instant you plan on serving!
After almost a year of development on my end, and 3 years of development by the whole team, the app has been released in the iTunes app store! You can download it for FREE, and the app includes several free recipes from each of our featured chefs. (And we’re not done…we have MANY more recipes and chefs we’ll be adding in future editions.)
So, if you’ve got an iPad, check out Nimble Chef. Please rate it, and let us know what you think! We want Nimble Chef to be THE resource for helping you and me to perfect our cooking skills and be able to execute fine-restaurant-quality cuisine right in our own home kitchens. For updates, Like us on Facebook, or Follow us on Twitter @NimbleChef. Please note that the iPad version is our beta, and once we get some feedback from those of you who use the iPad version, we’ll be releasing it for on the Android platform. (I’m an Android nut, myself.)
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