Let your phone or tablet lend a hand with these online culinary resources
When you’re in a culinary arts training program, there’s a lot of information to take in. You’re working on techniques, learning skills related to food preparation and safety, and finding out about the business aspects of running a kitchen or restaurant. It can help to have some shortcuts along the way, to make things easier—or at least more efficient. Here are a few apps that can ease the strain as you try to juggle everything involved in life as a chef! While we’re not promoting or endorsing any of these apps, we encourage you to read more about them, and see if any of them can help you.
Tracking your time
Sometimes the basics make the most sense. If you want a single app that can help you keep track of that most essential element in cooking and baking—time—then consider Kitchen Timer (Android, free). It has some bells and whistles, meaning you can set several different alarms at the same time, to keep track of those various dishes you’re working on simultaneously. Set reminders for when it’s time to increase or decrease the temperature, or turn something over. It’s easy to use and can quickly become your best friend in the kitchen. (If you need something for your iPad or iPhone, try KitchenPad Timer, which is $3.99 and has added features.)
Flavoring and seasoning
Part of becoming a chef is learning which flavors go well with others. The handy Herb & Spice Helper app (Android, $0.99) offers information on more than 70 herbs and spices, over 50 ingredients, and 19 different meal styles. Beyond the basics, it can help you understand the context of certain flavors and how they can best be used in combinations. This can be especially useful if you don’t have a particular ingredient on hand, but want to come up with an alternative that will offer an interesting and tasty result. It can help you to be creative—within parameters!
If you’re someone who learns by watching someone else, then having easy access to training videos online can save you a lot of time. The app Culinary Fundamentals (iOS, $3.99) features a library of more than 280 professional training videos by veteran chefs from licensed culinary schools all over the world. It’s like having an international training course in your pocket!
A comprehensive resource
If you’re up for making a bit more of an investment, then consider getting the
How to Cook Everything app (iOS, $9.99), based on the extensive cookbook by former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. You can trust recipes and techniques from this renowned food author. The app has 2,000 recipes, 400 “how-to” illustrations, and other useful features, including a timer. You can add your own notes to recipes, and even print recipes from the app. Best of all—once you’ve downloaded the app, you don’t need network access to use all its contents.
As you get more comfortable in the kitchen, over weeks, months, and years, you’ll probably find you use these apps in new ways—and maybe will even check out some of their more advanced features. It’s fun to learn new things all the time, especially if you use technology effectively. It can free you up to focus on your more challenging classes, as well as to be creative and express your individuality in your food!
This article is part of Branford Hall’s weekly blog. Our culinary arts program is available at our Springfield, MA, location, and we offer several other career training programs throughout our eleven campuses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Reach out to us for more information or to schedule a campus tour.