Cook like a professional chef and impress your friends in the comfort of your home with CHOPCHOP
I was invited to try the new cooking app CHOPCHOP before its official launch. It’s a fun and well thought-out app to help home cooks prepare delicious meals for a dinner party.
I felt I was competing on Masterchef: it was all self-inflicted because you can totally work at your own pace using the app. Maybe it was the atmosphere – I have never set foot in a professional kitchen before – or maybe it was the timer ticking: there was no room for error as all the meals we were cooking were meant to be served together at our communal table, in the welcoming atmosphere of the Central Street Cooking School.
From Zero to Hero in the Kitchen
Whether you are a complete beginner in the kitchen or know your way around pots and pans, any extra help with planning your meals, timing, quantities and step-by-step instructions is always welcome.
Home cooks like me, for example, will find the embedded timer in CHOPCHOP extremely useful as you juggle with two or three different courses and a number of recipes on the go at the same time. Scroll down for pictures from the event.
My First Experience Using the CHOPCHOP App
I have no idea why I put myself under pressure – I thought I was taking part in Masterchef! There’s something about CHOPCHOP that really makes you want to raise your game. Even the terminology reflects this: your meal plan is called “game plan”, and inevitably you put on your game face together with your apron.
In fact, I felt I was wearing a virtual chef’s hat and started behaving differently: my chopping skills went up a notch (yes, I have been watching too many TV chefs in action!) and I felt I wanted to perform at my best. Don’t worry, the app will not add stress to your life, quite the contrary: it actually helps you to raise your game by sharing the tricks of the trade without you realising it.
I am hopeless at organisation and planning: timing in cooking is an issue, as there’s always the risk to over-cook or under-cook a dish.
When I spoke to JinA Bae, Co-founder & CEO of CHOPCHOP, she explained that she had been talking to a number of Michelin-starred chefs to brainstorm ideas and recipes, showing how to prepare each course and helping with the development of the app. The development phase had been going on for one year. New recipes will be added each month and there will be an option to upload and share your pictures.
At the event, participants were split into two groups: one group cooked a meat-based two course meal with butternut squash and sweet potato soup for starter and roast chicken for main; the other group cooked a vegetarian meal of potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes and zabaglione with macerated strawberries.
How the CHOPCHOP App Works
I took part in a pre-launch event so we used a version of the app which will be replaced by newer versions in the future. The aim of the event was to test the app and gather feedback.
The design is sleek and attractive: you are presented with a selection of starters, mains and desserts.
As you select one course, the app will also suggest more courses and a wine to complement the meal.
For example, if you choose a starter, you will see a box showing options for a main course and a dessert, plus a suggested wine.
The app is aimed at helping plan, prepare and cook dinner parties. Each recipe gives you a list of ingredients with the right quantities per person, utensils needed and timings. In fact, before you start you are presented with a screen asking you how many people you will cook for and when the dinner party is: this way the app can calculate how much time you need to prepare the whole meal.
The aim of the CHOPCHOP app is to make gourmet cooking more accessible so you can learn how to make advanced recipes without having to enroll in a cooking academy course. Because it’s a dynamic app it CHOPCHOP will show you the best sequence to cook two or three courses simultaneously so you can replicate how chefs work in professional kitchen using the power of artificial intelligence. CHOPCHOP replicates the way an experienced chef plans and cooks multiple dishes efficiently so that home cooks can feel they are getting coached by a professional chef.
You can choose two modes: game plan or full screen. I personally prefer the game plan display option because you can see the steps to prepare the meal all stacked up. You can toggle between the two options if you need, for example, to read the instructions on full screen and look at the accompanying picture in more detail.
You can choose to have audio instructions too (I decided not to as the kitchen was noisy with about a dozen people all cooking at the same time).
“Cooking is all about getting the timing right. CHOPCHOP figures out the best sequence to cook all the dishes on your menu and guides you through it step by step. We’re taking the thinking and stress out of cooking!” says JinA Bae, CEO of CHOPCHOP.
I found the embedded timer feature to be particularly useful: with CHOPCHOP you are preparing and cooking multiple courses at the same time, and you can select the timers to start once you are ready and you will get a pop up screen when the time is up (for example, when I was cooking chicken, the timer alerted me when I had to turn it over half way through the cooking and when the cooking time was over).
Cooking a Two-Course Meal
During the cookery event to test the CHOPCHOP app we were tasked with preparing a two-course meal. As you can see from the pictures below, the ingredients had been prepared and weighed and our job was to do some preparation like chopping and cooked the two courses simultaneously. With great pictures and easy to follow instructions, CHOPCHOP really helps you to impress your friends at the dinner table.
The CHOPCHOP app is available for iPhone and iPad. Download link: CHOPCHOP app.