Who Needs a Recipe Book?

There’s no “app” for appetizers yet, but chefs are using iPhones for all sorts of kitchen aid.

Forget the silicone spatula and the stainless-steel stockpot. The hot new gadget in restaurant kitchens is the iPhone.

Rod Yotmanee of DC’s Asia Nine uses his as a high-tech cheat sheet. He relies on the McCormick Recipe Finder for guidance on dishes and the BigOven for help with cooking times.

Recipe-driven applications aren’t the only reason chefs can’t keep their hands off their phones. Several look to them for help with metric conversions—Tony Conte of the Oval Room likes Kitchen Calculator. Restaurant 3’s Brian Robinson and Oyamel’s Joe Raffa consult such programs as Locavore and Seafood Watch for help in choosing local produce and sustainable seafood.

Even applications that weren’t designed with the kitchen in mind are proving useful. Katsuya Fukushima—formerly chef at Café Atlántico, now head of culinary projects at José Andrés’s ThinkFood Group—uses the iHandy Level to make sure paella pans and gelées are even.

Equinox’s Todd Gray uses his iPhone to keep the mood loose with food games. His favorite: IQ Food Trivia. He also lets his phone sizzle with Pocket Bacon, an application that replicates the sound of bacon in the pan and keeps users informed about restaurants that make use of the meat.

“We can’t cook anything on it,” Raffa says of the iPhone, “but I’m sure in time we’ll be able to do that, too.”

This appears in the August, 2009 issue of The Washingtonian.

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