Tackling a new recipe, especially for novice cooks, can be a daunting task. Forgetting ingredients, losing your place in a recipe, and getting oils and flour on your recipe page or your iPhone can really take the fun out of cooking. That’s where Audio Chef Co. comes in.
Unlike other cooking apps, Audio Chef frees your hands and eyes to focus on making your meal. Once you gather your equipment and ingredients, just start the audio. No need for extra prep beforehand: Audio Chef will talk you through the whole process. Along the way, you’ll learn different shortcuts and new methods of cooking. Guided by a simple interface, gorgeous photos, and the narrations of Audio Chef creators Alexis Mullen and Ailyn Hoey, you’ll expand your technique as you expand your taste palette.
Mullen and Hoey began their friendship while waitressing in a restaurant. Both are “passionate about cooking” and both are self-taught cooks. AppleMagazine spoke with Mullen about the inspiration for Audio Chef. “It was actually a miscommunication between my mother and I,” she told us. “I had just downloaded a book onto my iPod Touch at the time…and was telling my mom about it. She thought that I meant I had downloaded an audio cookbook… The idea came out of that.”
Right now, the app is free on iTunes and comes with four recipes from Audio Chef’s “30 Favorites” collection. These are:
- Turkey Sausage Pasta with Smoked Gouda and Vegetables, Coleslaw
- Almond Crusted Salmon with Mango Salsa, Jasmine Rice and Asparagus
- Sesame Udon Noodles with Honey Fried Tofu and Vegetables
- Picadillo with Quinoa and Zucchini
You can download the other 26 recipes from within the app for $0.99. The recipes are a mix of meat and vegetarian dishes with vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. Prep time for each recipe takes only 15 minutes to an hour. The app’s next collection, “30 Easy World Meals”, will include cuisine from Mexico, Thailand, India, and other countries. The collection will include:
- Mexican Chicken in Tomatillo and Pumpkin Seed Sauce with Spicy Roasted Corn
- Greek Spanakopita with Tzatziki Sauce
- Indian Curried Lamb Meatballs and Ginger Spinach Dal with Basmati Rice
- Thai Spicy Ground Beef and Tangy Cabbage Salad with Sticky Rice
She also discussed future plans for the app, including ideas for new recipe collections and ways of making the Audio Chef hands- and eyes-free experience even better. For future collections, she said, “[W]e could have celebrity chefs record a collection for us. We could travel to Mexico and record with cooks there… We are also thinking of featuring different products in our collections, such as a complete collection using Vermont cheeses.” As for the audio experience, Mullen and Hoey record in their home kitchens using the audio recording program Audacity and a unidirectional headset. This method allowed them to clearly record their voices while keeping the authentic background cooking noise soft, not distracting. Mullen talked about her wish for the next version of the app:
“In version 1.0 that was just released a month ago we wanted to include a voice recognition feature so that anyone pausing, going back, or pressing play again could simply say that, and it would do your command. We had trouble implementing that feature because there is already audio playing. The voice recognition was having difficulty differentiating the cook’s voice from the audio, and therefore wouldn’t always perform correctly. But I understand with the new version of iOS coming out in the fall, developers can include Siri in their apps. This should make the voice recognition function easier to implement. So hopefully [this] feature will be included soon, allowing for a more complete hands-free experience for our users.”
Thus far, Audio Chef Co. has gotten rave reviews from tech sites like Hype.ist! and Túaw. The app was also featured on Ask Men in a post with the subheading “7 Apps that Will Make Your Phone Smarter and Your Life Better”. Existing reviews on iTunes and the website iOS Reviews all rate the app five stars. And it’s no wonder: Audio Chef is a wonderfully simple app that offers not only recipes, but an interactive learning experience that will make you come back for more.