26 July 2014

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Get smart with the best foodie apps


great british chefs 2012 - Great-British-Chefs-3.jpgEnjoying a meal – whether in a restaurant or at home – is increasingly becoming a truly interactive experience. With a smartphone on hand, we can research the best glass of wine with which to complement our dish, document our meal snap by snap, or find a group of friends with whom to share the experience. Square Meal has compiled a list of the best apps for tech-savvy foodies.

by Casey Rackham

Great British Chefs (£2.99 iPhone, £4.99 iPad; pictured, top right)

This cooking app, voted one of the Top 100 Apps Ever by Apps Magazine, consists of more than 180 recipes created by 12 Michelin-starred chefs, including Marcus Wareing, Nuno Mendes and Tom Aikens. Each chef has developed three five-course menus for the app; users can mix and match any of the canapés, starters, mains, desserts and petits fours. Each recipe comes with culinary tips, wine recommendations and – to make things even easier – a voice control function to use while your hands are busy cooking. Seasonal apps for summer and Christmas recipes are also useful.

Reason to buy it: brings your favourite restaurants (and chefs) into your home.

Evernote Food (free; Android, iOS)

Is your gourmet experience not complete until it has been documented for posterity (or, at least, for your Twitter followers)? Use the Evernote app to capture your favourite meals and restaurants: it allows you to snap photos of your food, setting and fellow diners to create a ‘photo essay’ of your meal. To personalise it even further, you can add a title, location, captions and personal notes about your experience, which you can then share on social-networking sites.

Reason to buy it: allows you to test out your food-critic skills.

Jamie Oliver Battersea Power Station Fabulous Feasts 1111_Battersea_Power_Station_Jamie_Oliver's_Fabulous_Feasts.jpgJamie’s 20 Minute Meals (£4.99)

For those who have ever missed their dinner reservation, had a late night in the office, or simply prefer sitting at the table to sweating at the stove, the app to accompany Jamie Oliver’s best-selling book has 60 quick-and-easy recipes that should take 20 minutes or less to make. The app includes recipes for dishes such as tuna-and-tomato rigatoni or grilled lemon-and-herb chicken with mash, as well as step-by-step photography. To make things even more hassle-free, there’s an interactive shopping guide for ingredients.

Reason to buy it: provides easy, gourmet meals that (almost) anyone can cook.

8,500+ Drink and Cocktail Recipes (free; Android, iOS)

Whether you’re having guests over for drinks or it’s just too much effort to go out, this drinks- and cocktail-recipe app is ideal for creating delicious concoctions in the comfort of your own home. With more than 8,500 recipes to choose from, you can skim through the beverages selection using an indexed list, or search by drink category to find your ideal drink, which you can then add to your ‘favourites’ list for next time.

Reason to buy it: it’s like a mini-bartender right in your pocket.

foodgawker screengrab 2012 - food-gawker.jpgFoodgawker (free; iOS)

Similar to Pinterest, Foodgawker collects beautiful pictures for viewers to scroll through, only this time, they’re all food-related. Whether you’re in need of some cooking inspiration or you just want to while away some time looking at some truly mouth-watering images, this app is sure to tease your appetite. Not one to log onto mid-morning or mid-afternoon, when hunger strikes...

Reason to buy it: whets your appetite and provides inspiration for your next culinary experience.

Hello Vino (free; Android, iOS)

Voted best app for wine lovers by The New York Times, this nifty app helps users find the perfect wine for every occasion. Wines can be sorted by food pairings, specific occasions, taste preference or simply by grape variety. The app also boasts image-recognition software that allows users to snap a picture of a wine label to access tasting notes, user ratings and food-pairing recommendations.

Reason to buy it: chooses wine-and-food-pairings so you don’t have to.

Theo Randall's The Perfect Host (free; iOS)

Fans of the InterContinental head chef and his rustic Italian food can learn from the master with this app from finedininglovers.com (produced by water brand S.Pellegrino). It offers 15 cracking recipes packed with the chef's insider tips, from cooking advice to wine pairings – and even suggestions for tableware, all of which allow amateur cooks to pimp their dinner-party prowess. A true perfectionist, Randall also provides lists of favourite stockists.

Reason to buy it: learn the expert tricks behind simple but oh-so-tasty Italian dishes.

Table Crowd (free; online only)

Think of this app as a new form of socialising, but with a foodie twist. Perfect for those new to London, searching for love, or simply looking to make new friends or business contacts, this app helps users to find like-minded dining companions with whom to share a slap-up meal. The app is also handy for organising meet-ups with friends and family at restaurants throughout the capital.

Reason to buy it: helps you make new friends and socialise with old ones.

And don't forget...

Square Meal has its own app to find restaurants and bars wherever you might be and whatever you fancy eating! Download the app for free today.

This feature was published in December 2012.

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