App of the Week: The Chili Chef

By on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

The Chili Chef
Developer: Invisions Technical Arts LLC
Cost: $0.99
Runs on: iPhone

The weather is freezing, the sky is gray and you desperately yearn for something hearty, hot and delicious. Many foods are bound to the season they’re most ripe, but chili is more often than not associated with the weather. When you can see your breath, you know it’s chili season. For those wanting to cook up a steaming pot, there’s The Chili Chef app.

The quick take on this app is that you get eight chili recipes along with some bonus content. When you open the app for the first time, it begins to download a 22-page e-book (although you stay within the app and are not taken to an outside reader). You are then greeted with a screen with instructions on how to navigate: scrolling up and down to read within an individual recipe and left and right to advance to a different recipe; tapping the screen brings up a global set of tools to jump back to the cover, swipe through the page thumbnails and more.

This app, like other cookbook apps I’ve reviewed in the past, has been built with tablet devices in mind. However, this one seems to have done a better job at making the content and navigation phone-friendly. The scrolling is smooth with a clever design where the recipe appears as a top layer over sharp background images. Within some recipes, the top layer has a cut-out box to reveal the background image as you scroll.

In terms of the content, you get a short background on the chef and recipe, an easy-to-digest ingredient list, and simple step-by-step preparation instructions.

One recipe is a $10,000 prize winner from a firehouse. Other recipes come from chef Sandra Tanner of the Arbor Café and Tearoom, chef Dave Foegley of St. Elmo Steak House, and chef Jeff Stafford of Mo’s: A Place for Steaks.

Beyond the chili is a hodgepodge of “bonus content,” although I’m not sure what relationship a grilled asparagus apple salad recipe for two has to do with Sandy’s Ass-Kickin’ Chili. It seems like good bonus content would have been complementary recipes, such as chili add-ons or ideas for the leftovers. In this case it seemed that the extra material was something they threw in because they had it and felt like eight recipes wasn’t enough for an app.

Before I reveal my final rating I’d like to talk about the global tools menu. There’s a button that says, “Tell A Friend.” I was excited that this app allowed for recipe sharing or at minimum, ingredient list sharing. Nope: it sends your friend a link to purchase the app. In fact, there are no sharing tools, social network tools, ratings, nutritional guidelines, or other features to add value.

I struggle rating apps like this because while the app isn’t bad, the value doesn’t seem to be there. As an end user, I’m cheap–I would probably just search the internet for a recipe rather than take up an app slot for eight delicious chili recipes that are beautifully presented. For apps like this that don’t bring much else to the table—and in this case not offering very many recipe options—I’m sad to say I can’t rank it very high.

Toque Rating:

Written by Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Hitched, a service and lifestyle online magazine for married couples. When Steve is not not researching or dispensing relationship information, he's reading, eating or marrying flavors together in the kitchen.

Leave your comment