So many apps, so little time. Apple boasts there are more than 500,000 apps for its iPhone, which sounds great on paper, except it could take an inordinate amount of time to find the ones that are the most useful and/or fun. To narrow down the options, most of us have to rely on word of mouth. That being said, we asked chefs to name some of their favorites; as we would expect, apps that make chef’s lives in the kitchen easier are the most popular.
Aaron Brooks, executive chef of Edge, Steak & Bar, located in the Four Seasons Hotel Miami and offering a non-traditional, affordable menu of interesting cuts of meat, indigenous seafood and locally-sourced produce in a modern indoor-outdoor space.
Favorite app: Chefs Feed (available for iPhone and soon Android)
“It’s my favorite app for traveling because I can see where other chefs are eating. It’s a credible app for chef-to-chef recommendations. We need a Miami edition!”
Chris Ford, executive pastry chef, Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina, located in the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore and serving up comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist.
Favorite app: Baker’s Toolbox (iPhone)
“My favorite app is Baker's Toolbox. It can tell conditions (current elevation, temperature, humidity level), has a timer, (volume measurements to weight) conversions, (equivalent conversion) charts and can house notes. The best is the conversion tool!”
Clifford Pleau, senior director of culinary for Seasons 52, which has 22 restaurants in 13 states across the country, and is known for its award-winning wine list and seasonally inspired menu, using fresh ingredients and rustic cooking techniques.
Favorite app(s): Pandora (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre); BBC News (iPhone, Android, Blackberry); Lose It! (iPhone, Android)
“Pandora gives you amazing varieties of music at your fingertips instantly, BBC delivers straight- up candid world news fast and Lose It! measures food and workouts to optimize health and fitness.”
David Spirito, corporate chef/research & development, LM Restaurants, the parent company of several award-winning restaurants, including the sports-themed Carolina Ale Houses.
Favorite app: Flipboard (iPhone, Android)
“I am able to choose the topics that relate to me and see exactly what I want to read and what I want to see. With very little time in my day for surfing, this app is great. I use Flipboard for all of my daily uses, from news headlines to checking sport scores. It makes my life easier because I can locate my topics quickly without reading or surfing through singing poodles.”
Dustin Valette, chef de cuisine of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, located in Healdsburg, California and focusing on local, seasonal ingredients that are custom grown for Dry Creek Kitchen.
Favorite phone app(s): Units (iPhone); Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch (Android, iPhone,) and SF Gate (Android, iPhone)
“Units easily converts different measurement when dealing with precise recipes for sous vide cooking or our house made charcuterie; Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch keeps me up to date on the changing seafood landscape in order to make sure I am choosing the most sustainable and recommended local fish options for the menu and SF Gate allows me to see what other Bay Area chefs are doing and keep up with current trends.
“All the above apps make my life much easier in both the restaurant and in my personal life. Though one of the simplest apps that makes life easier is the ability to get emails on my phone. Whether it’s an email from my wife that we need more eggs at home or if it’s an old chef friend flying in from New York trying to get a reservation at the restaurant last minute on Saturday night, email is a fantastic app.”
Gregory Gourdet, chef de cuisine, Departure Restaurant + Lounge, a modern Asian hotspot in downtown Portland, Oregon that infuses the bounty of the Pacific Northwest with the fiery flavors of the Far East.
Favorite App: Instagram (Android, iPhone)
“I am able to take photos of food from Departure and share it with the world or take photos while I’m in the process of making something. I can take photos while I ‘m here visiting in NYC of wd~50 and send them back to my cooks to inspire them.”
Luis Bollo, chef of Salinas, in the heart of NYC’s Chelsea area, offering vibrant Spanish cuisine and tapas, with a focus on the Mediterranean and the Balearic Islands.
Favorite app(s): iGrill (Android, iPhone); Kitchen Converter (iPhone) and Google Docs (Android, Blackberry, iPhone)
“iGrill is a thermometer probe that you use to check the temp of your meat. You enter the probe to your meat of choice, turn on the Wi-Fi, and from anywhere in the restaurant your phone will tell you the temp of your choice of meat cooking. Kitchen helps you change liters to gallons, grams to teaspoons, F. to C. Google Docs syncs with my gmail account and I can carry with me any where I go any documents, including schedules, recipes, P&L, etc.”
Miguel Aguilar, executive chef of Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, a Miami hotspot where edgy street art meets Global-Latino cuisine, and serving up a creative menu of small plates and signature cocktails.
Favorite App: Weather Channel (Android, Blackberry, Android)
“Now that my mode of transportation is my new Harley, I need to stay on top of Miami’s unpredictable weather. I use it at home to determine whether we can go play at the beach. At work, since the restaurant has a great terrace dining area, I use it to determine what could happen to the day’s business. It makes life so much easier because it allows me to plan.”
Randy Zweiban, Executive Chef/owner of Province, located in Chicago and offering a dynamic menu grounded in American cuisine and influenced by Central and South American and Spanish dishes.
Favorite App: Evernote (Android, iPhone)
“It gives me the ability to copy anything I want, make notes on those items and then work on them anytime I want. For example, I might copy our present menu and make notes on it for the next week or next season. I can do this on an airplane or anywhere—even if I am not online.”
Sean Brasel, chef/co-owner of Miami’s Meat Market, which brings the American steakhouse into the 20th century.
Favorite app: Chef’s Feed (iPhone, Android)
"I would have to say I use Chef's Feed the most. I love learning about the hidden gems chefs love and get the inside scoop when I travel."