Do you wish you had a culinary expert looking over your shoulder in the kitchen, giving you tips and answering your questions? Many culinary schools charge up to $15,000 a semester to give this training and experience to their students. Now, you can take the culinary school learning environment home, with the new Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America iPad app available on iTunes for $49.99.
While the cost of the app might steer you away, it’s well worth the price if you are a serious home cook. Students at the CIA will use the app in place of textbooks next June to enhance their studies. With areas to take notes and to look up definitions, social networking capabilities, and the ability to share notes with classmates, it is a complete interactive teaching tool.
The first four chapters of the app are an introduction into the world of the culinary professional, covering everything from how a professional kitchen is run to menu development and food safety. While these chapters might not be of interest to the home cook, they’re a good realistic insight into the life and responsibility of a professional chef. (It’s not a life full of cooking shows and red carpets, folks.)
Part two, chapters 5 through 10, include some of the most incredibly helpful resources I’ve ever seen. Kitchen tools are described in depth, knife sharpening is portrayed with ease, and pots and pans are described with details on how to clean. My favorite part of the app is its clear yet detailed breakdown of meats, fish and vegetables. For the meat lover, cuts of beef are shown with tips on cooking preparations and where they are located. For the vegetarian, fruits and vegetables and broken down into varieties, with detailed images and common culinary uses. (I usually stare, dumbfounded in the grocery store, wondering, “What can I do with that?”) Dairy, grains, and spices are also described with the same detail and organization.
The app continues with parts dedicated to stocks, proteins, vegetables, garde manger, and pastry. Each chapter has instructional videos that explain culinary techniques, recipes that are understandable, and photographs that are beautiful and clear.
Whether you’re a new chef or hobbyist, The Professional Chef by the Culinary Institute of America is the ultimate cooking guide. From how to fillet a fish to how to make bread, turn on this app to learn any culinary technique that’s required to make dinner.