Having trained at Ashburton Cookery School I was excited to hear they were developing their own iPhone apps. Their first app is the ‘Perfect Christmas Dinner’ which was released in the apple store 09 December 2011. I have been exploring the app today and thought it would be nice to write a review.
The first aspect I noticed was the app feels professional and has a clean and easy interface. Much like their cookery school, everything has been well thought out and planned. At the bottom of the app you can find four options – planning, recipes, shop list and my menu.
The planning section gives some really useful tips and tricks of the trade to help you get through the preparation of your Christmas dinner without too much stress. As in most sections these tips are written down but also displayed in a video from Darrin the Chef Director.
The recipe section is divided into – canapés, main course, trimmings, sauces, puddings and drinks. In total there are 21 recipes and most of these have video lessons to accompany them. Once you click on a recipe it is broken down further into – video, ingredients, method and tips. I found it easy to navigate and you have the option on the ingredients tab to add them to your shopping list. An excellent feature which saves getting out the old pen and paper and then forgetting to take it to the supermarket like I do so often.
The videos on the recipes are great, it was bizarre watching as it took me right back to being in the class with Ashburton’s tutors. The only small problem I encountered was sometimes the download would start again if my phone automatically locked but once I took the automatic lock off, this was not a problem. Hopefully the guys at Ashburton might release an update which could execute downloads in the background but only a small niggle. Once the videos are downloaded they will instantly play in future.
The video clarity was good and for those of you like me who are an ‘Apple’ geek I just had to try using the ‘Airplay’ function to transfer the video to my Apple TV. It worked seamlessly and the picture quality on a 40″ TV was not far off DVD quality. It was like having a full size Joe Bartlett in my living room!
The shop list contains all the ingredients you have chosen from the recipes and you can even tick them off as you buy them.
The ‘My Menu’ section shows all the recipes you have highlighted as a favourite so at a quick glance you know exactly what you have planned to cook and which recipes to refer to.
Although you could say my view is biased because I have been to Ashburton, I can honestly say for £1.99 this app is definitely worth buying. For the video lessons alone I cannot believe the amount of time it must have taken them to film and develop some of these great recipes. Being a chef I have explored quite a few cookery apps in the store and there are many more expensive than this that are just wasted space on my phone. Although I will not use this app for Christmas as I am cooking for a client I can see myself trying these recipes afterwards as they could be used all year round.
I am now looking forward to seeing more apps from Ashburton!