Culinary apps were among the first developed for tablet computers, and most are recipe collections and cookbooks — existing content repurposed for the new platform, sometimes successfully. Now things are getting more exciting with the launch of a second-generation app with content created especially to take advantage of the tablet’s capabilities. It is called “CulinApp,” and a crew recently visited to shoot one with Giuliano Hazan.
CulinApp is the brainchild of Bob Huntley, whose first career was as a software guru in the videogame world. When he retired, his wife suggested cooking lessons to keep him busy, and he quickly became an over-the-top food enthusiast. Add the introduction of the iPad. Combine with meeting Emmy Award winner Geof Drummond, who has directed and produced food programming for the best-of-the-best, including Julia Child. Stir gently, fold in software developer Chris Howard as a third partner, and you have the mise en place for CulinApp.
The driving idea here is to “bring the immersive experience you have with games into the kitchen,” according to Huntley, who further describes his baby as “geeks in the kitchen.” Each app will feature a major culinary personality who will collaborate with the CulinApp team to create its content, look and feel. The immersive quality comes from software design and production tailored to the style of the individual talent. But there’s more to it.
CulinApp offers the user four different views of each recipe. “Cookbook” is similar to its eponym but with multi-media enhancements. “Step-by-Step” is a guided walk through the recipe with video instruction for each step. “Spin View” is a video carousel that allows cooks to set their own pace: for example, skipping steps with which they are comfortable. CulinView is the company’s proprietary way of showing the recipe on a timeline similar to a Gantt chart. These choices allow users to personalize the app to their own interests and skill levels, for example, by switching between views when they want more or less instruction on any given step. “Students” can, in effect, question the “teacher” at any step along the way and take full advantage of the tablet’s technology.
The first CulinApp is “Baking with Dorie,” featuring James Beard and IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) award-winning cookbook author and food writer Dorie Greenspan. It is set for release by mid-September. Hazan’s, featuring more than two-dozen of his pasta recipes, is due out in the fall.
In addition to Huntley and Drummond, the CulinApp team that visited included Traci Ayer, chief operating officer; Paul Swensen, executive producer; Alan Hereford, director of photography; Chris Styler, culinary coordinator (an aptly named food stylist); Angel Torres, assistant to culinary coordinator; and Ryan Grosjean, gaffer/grip.
Drummond, executive producer and director, describes the CulinApp approach as a, “Personal style of filming that puts the viewer in control and gives the user the opportunity to interact with the instructor.”
It intrigues this writer sufficiently to consider purchasing a tablet. You can watch for CulinApp to show up at the Apple store or keep up with the latest at www.CulinApp.com.