Chefs and restaurant owners haven’t always embraced technology. But in today’s world, using the right kinds of technology can mean the difference between keeping your doors open or closing them forever.
While we don’t encourage surfing your social media accounts when you’re in class or on the job, there are many useful culinary apps that can streamline your work in the kitchen – planning, collaborating, even running a small business.
Escoffier’s online classes in food entrepreneurship go deep into applying technology in food business operations for profit, and others for deep experimentation in the culinary arts. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorites.
You’ve been thrown into a new kitchen and you’re staring at the pantry and cooler, assessing the ingredients while you go through the mental rolodex of recipes you have in your head. Enter SuperCook. This app, available at the App Store and Google Play, will help you match the ingredients you have at your disposal with some recipe ideas to get you rolling.
Have you been given a suggestion for which direction to go with the meal, maybe a seasonal theme or a culinary tradition? You can search based on the dish or ingredients you already have in mind.
It’s particularly helpful if you’re trying to work around food allergies or diet trends – keto, vegan, gluten-free – to help you create recipes that fulfill specific dietary needs while still resulting in an enjoyable dining experience.
Are you collaborating with other chefs or working on multiple menus? This culinary app, available from Apple and Google Play, is handy for the home-based cook, but also for chefs working with a team – either in a school setting or in a restaurant or catering venue.
The list synchronizes in real-time, allowing all the users to update ingredients based on changes in the menu, availability or cost. Avoid doubling up – or overlooking last-minute ingredients – with this useful app.
Did a snowstorm stop a delivery truck from making it to your back door? You’ll know immediately if your team is keeping the grocery list current.
This is a fun, user-friendly culinary app designed more for the amateur cook, but it can be useful for breaking down quantities in a recipe when you’re just getting started in your culinary training and these details don’t come off the top of your head just yet.
For example, if a recipe calls for two cups of chopped apples, this app will tell you how many apples to purchase, or how to replace milk with the proper volume of dairy-free alternatives. If you’re adapting some family recipes for use in a commercial kitchen, this app will be useful.
We’re all trying to go paperless, so don’t pack around paper…use this nifty chefs app to scan, save and catalogue your recipes. If you’re collaborating with other cooks you can share your recipes, too. It’s a wonderful way to build a knowledge base and keep track of the inspirations that hit you in the kitchen.
If you’re running your own small restaurant or catering company, take the labor out of scheduling your kitchen crew with this versatile scheduling app. It’s an interactive platform that allows you and your team to communicate smoothly and efficiently – shift changes, substitutions, holidays. It can track your staffing costs and give your team control over their calendar.
If you’re a big enough enterprise to have staff, but not a human resources manager, this is an excellent, affordable tool.
There’s no shortage of powerful culinary apps to download onto your smartphone. They can enhance your ability to catalogue recipes, plan meals and menus, share shopping lists, and manage your staff. Whether cooking is your hobby or your profession, these apps will help you.
More Technology Reading for Chefs:
- New Technology Created To Provide Efficient Customer Feedback
- 4 Reasons Why Employers Pay More for Culinary Arts Graduates
- Digital Dining: Using ‘The Cyber’ To Enrich The Dining Experience
This article was originally published on May 9, 2016, and has since been updated.