Would you like to impress your guests with delicious meals, but lack fancy ingredients and clever ideas? Try the free cooking app Look&Cook. It gives you step-by-step instructions to create a formidable menu.
With recipes from one of Israel’s best-known celebrity chefs, Meir Adoni (who was once reviewed by none other than the New York Times, Look&Cook (available on Amazon Fire, and very soon, Google Play) is a cooking app that takes you well-beyond the never-ending list of community-posted recipes you find on other cooking apps and websites.
As CEO Oran says: “When someone decides to cook a recipe from our app, we want him or her to get it right and delicious 100% of the time.”
What are the Recipes Like?
Given the quality of instructions given, none of the 51 recipes within the app are particularly testing, but many will require a little more of your concentration, so may be best reserved for a special occasions. The recipes are split into eight categories: Everyday, Breakfast, With The Guys, Barbecue, Picnic, Romantic, Dinner Party and Vegan Pleasures.
Each recipe is accompanied by step-by-step high resolution photographs, which make up some of the best cooking photography I’ve ever seen. Occasional video and audio instructions are also thrown in to help with the more complex steps.
Although I’d like to see more choice, it seems like all the bases have been covered and the developers will continue to add more recipes on top of what’s currently there. A few examples of meals you can rustle up now include:
- Ribeye Steak with Eggs and Creamed Spinach
- Roasted Butternut Squash, Baby Carrots and Black Quinoa
- Gnocci with Roasted Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts
- Chocolate Truffles
- Green Papaya and Preserved Tuna Salad
It must be said, this app has been featured before on MakeUseOf in our 2013 article on top cooking apps, but there are a few features I’d like to highlight that make this app stand out from others that’re available.
Two Ways of Viewing Recipes
Once you get past the enticing ‘intro’ images to the dish, you’ll find a ‘one page overview’ of the recipe, so you can quickly see the steps that are involved, and the precise measures of ingredients needed. This is pretty much all you’ll get in most off-the-shelf cook-books, but continue to slide through the recipe and each step from the overview is explained in much more detail (including video content).
This lets you choose the standard of guidance you personally need for each recipe.
Image Collages For More Complex Steps
You know those more complex steps that’ll usually have you running back and forth from the recipe book every 30-seconds to check you’re following along correctly? Look&Cook has tackled this problem well by providing clear, explanatory image collages.
Too many times when following a recipe, you’re just not sure whether your whipped cream has reached the right consistency, or if the bread you’re cooking is supposed to look like that. Yet, with videos included in the app at carefully selected stages in each of the recipes, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for when it’s your turn to cook.
Enlarged Text For Easy Reading
When you’re knuckling down to cook a recipe, simply tap on the instructional text, and the image will shrink, while the text expands, so you can more easily read insturctions without needing to squash your nose against the screen. Swipe the screen to go to the next step.
A Handy In-Built Timer
When you reach a step that requires you to cook something for a certain amount of time, the app has an in-built timer, just in case you fall asleep, or get carried away watching Game of Thrones, while your meal turns to ash. You’ll see the relevant cooking times appear as a button within the instructions, which once pressed allows you to set a timer to alert you of when to check on the food and when to move onto the next step.
An In-Built Online Store
For some of the recipes, kitchen gadgets can help make the desired results that little bit easier to achieve. If you scroll to the end of the recipe (or click the Shop button in the top-right corner of the app), you’ll see a few recommended accessories which you can purchase from Amazon.com (it’s not immediately obvious how to change this setting to an international Amazon store, though).
Being someone who loves to cook, but is often stuck for inspiring ideas of what to actually serve on a plate, this app has been a godsend, enabling me to put together dishes that I would never have thought of myself (Merguez Sausage and Swiss Chard ShakShuka anyone?).
Although I would love to see more choice with regard to the recipes, it’s still taught me plenty of neat little tricks in the kitchen that I continue to use outside of the app. And with such beautiful imagery and ease of use, it’s definitely the first cooking app on my iPad I reach for in times of culinary need.
Although some users may miss certain features, such as adding your own recipes, or creating your own shopping list (check out Evernote’s very own Food app, all-singing recipe manager Paprika or Epicurious’ recipe and shopping list manager for more feature rich options), there’s no doubt that this is one of the most visually appealing cooking apps on the market, and sticks to what it set out to do: to enable you to cook proven, stunning plates of food each and every time.
To learn more about the app, head to the Kinetic Art website.
Download: Look&Cook for iOS [No Longer Available] / Kindle Fire (Free)
What other apps do you use to create amazing plates of food?