There are a few things I look for when evaluating an App for a smartphone or tablet. 1. It must look nice. 2. It must be easy to use and be designed well. 3. There must be some content to make it worth my time.
My first impression of this app is that I think it is amazing. I was highly skeptical when I was originally contacted to review this app. I wasn't sure what to expect. The first thing I noticed was the pleasant color scheme and how smooth it was to scroll and click around. First impression: this looks good. There are over 200 lessons (video based) organized into 20 courses. You can easily browse and search for whatever type of lesson you want. There are high definition cooking videos including 11 of the "chef'testants" at Top Chef University.
1. When you open the app you are shown a gorgeous blue background with three Top Chef chefs standing over the app name "Top Chef University." You are then immediately taken to a simple screen that contains various topics ranging from "Basics and techniques" to "stocks and soups" to "Global cuisine I: Chinese, Indian and Spanish". There are 20 categories total, each with a perfectly placed food photo to let you know what you are getting into.
2. There are 20 categories and each one is accessible by a simple tap of the finger right on the specific category. A simple swipe up and down quickly scrolls through all 20 categories. A quick click on "poultry" for example then takes you to another screen where you'll see even more categories specific to poultry such as "breaking down a whole chicken" to "turkey breast - stuffed turkey." Clicking on a category within "poultry", "Southern Fried Chicken" for example, takes you to a video page with an overview and an ingredient list. The overview tab tells you what the general video is about and the ingredients tab provides you with the recipe so you can quickly grab the ingredients to make the dish yourself. Clicking on the video opens up a smoothly running video with amazing clear HD quality clarity. The video is a Top Chef showing you how to make a various dish. There are specific instructional videos for each category! That's a lot of videos.
3. I was extremely impressed with the content. The first video I watched was "Southern Fried Chicken." Within this video was instructions on how to season the chicken, how to prepare the buttermilk brine and the seasoned flour. The Chef takes you through step by step on how to do this and also how to prepare a cast iron skillet for frying the chicken pieces. This video for example is 7 minutes and 20 seconds long, so all details are covered. The food that the Chefs are preparing looks amazing. The camera is sure to zoom in and capture the texture and appearance of the dish inspiring you to give this dish a try at home.
Top Chef University App Review - Overall Thoughts
My overall thoughts are that I'm thrilled that I was asked to try out this App prior to its release. I'm really going to use this App. I told Mrs. Grilling24x7 that this is like having a Food TV network right in my pocket. When the kids are occupying the TV with their cartoons I can enjoy some solid cooking lessons with professional Chefs. The diversity of the categories is pretty large so I look forward to checking out the Chinese food videos and also the "Just Desserts" category where I have my eye on this gorgeous looking Chocolate Mousse. There's a 14 minute and 30 second video devoted to the different types of mousse and how to master the basics of making them.
If you want to learn more about the app check out the Top Chef University Website. You can download the app from the iTunes store. If you want to check out an example video here is one on How to make the perfect French Fry!
Disclaimer: I was compensated for the review of this app. However, I would have no problem at all telling you if it stunk. It doesn't, I'm impressed.