Aug. 12, 2013 at 1:19 PM ET
You don’t need to share Gordon Ramsay’s short fuse, Jamie Oliver’s charm or Mario Batali’s taste in footwear (oh, those Crocs) to appreciate that celebrity chefs do actually have serious kitchen cred—after all, their fame has been powered first and foremost by their cooking prowess. Want to become the star of your own kitchen? Download cooking apps from these top chefs.
Live, Love, Eat: Chef Wolfgang Puck
The Austrian entrepreneur's Live Love Eat! App offers 45 of his favorite recipes, including numerous exclusives, accompanied by step-by-step instructions and images, tips galore and video demos. It's customizable, and you can save ingredients into a shopping list that lets you add your own everyday market must haves. Simply tap Cook, Eat, Events and Buy and you're ready to go.
What's cool: A built-in events planner lets you manage guest and to-do lists.
What's meh: Glossy restaurant profiles and one-touch booking; access to Puck's kitchen products (and do we really need to Tweet about them?).
Cost: Free, for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Raw Express: Chef Matthew Kenney
Chef, author and raw food authority Matthew Kenney is legend for transforming roughage into rapturous dishes. Raw Express breaks down the basics of raw food cooking through videos, instructions and guides to raw food basics like nut milk making, food dehydration and “spiralizing” (turning veggies into curly pasta-like ribbons). Then it tempts with 50 quick and virtuous appetizers, soups, salads, smoothies, entrees, and desserts paired, paired with seriously gorgeous photography (you know, so you'll forget what you're missing). You'll also find social media links, shopping lists.
What's cool: Explore pics and nutritional profiles of more than 125 unique raw ingredients—then search recipes by those that pique your interest.
What's meh: There have been some complaints about typos, missing ingredients, and a less than intuitive design.
Cost: $2.99-$4.99, for iPad, iPhone and Android.
Cook with Me: Chef Gordon Ramsay
Fans of the potty-mouthed chef will relish the opportunity to pick up a few tricks the master. This app features more than 50 dishes along with plenty of videos showcasing the grumpy gourmand in action and also includes picks from his latest book and TV show “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course.” Experienced amateurs will savor the outstanding selection of sophisticated recipes. Novices may be a bit put off by the occasional lack of clarity -- recipes don’t always include how to prep ingredients.
What’s cool: Lots a great advice; fab tips on choosing the right wine; the ability to change font size.
What’s meh: While we like that you can browse by ingredient, cooking time, ease and season, it would be nice if recipes were broken down into more utilitarian categories like appies, entrees and desserts. Oh, and the snark gets old fast.
Cost: $6.99-$7.99, for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Jamie’s Recipes: Chef Jamie Oliver
We’ve been crushing on Jamie Oliversince he graced the small screen. The British boy wonder still wows with an eclectic but fairly easy-to-prepare collection of recipes from cheery treats and baked goods to quickie dinners and comfort classics. In keeping with Oliver’s philosophy that cooking should be fresh and fun for everyone, recipes are clear, concise and feature a photo every step of the way—so you know what to expect as you go. The free basic app comes with a surprisingly good 10-recipe taster pack. However, a one, three or six-month subscription is required for full access—200+ recipes, a new recipe pack each month, Jamie on-demand (clips of Oliver dishing out kitchen tips), a clever shopping list maker that sorts ingredients by supermarket aisle and more.
What’s cool: For each recipe, scroll-able ingredients and instructions live side-by-side, so you don’t have to jump between pages. Brilliant!
What’s meh: If you’re into ownership, the subscription service can be a bit of a drag.
Cost: Basic app is free; subscriptions start at $2.99 for a month. For iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Cat Cora's Kitchen
Cat Cora made her name as the first female Iron Chef. Here, the charismatic author, restaurateur and chef invite would-be foodies into her kitchen via an app bursting with an eclectic, global collection of recipes. There are more than 80 drinks, starters, entrees and desserts to choose from, many with a Mediterranean flair. Great images, clear instructions, un-fussy recipes and clear guidelines on prepping and cooking times also make this an excellent app for a beginner, though more advanced cooks will also find much to love. We also like that you can easily view what can be prepared a day in advance.
What's cool: Cora's innovative scheduler lets you prep and prepare multiple recipes as a single, synched menu, complete with step-by-step instructions.
What's meh: Although some recipes have video counterparts, you can't directly access them from the recipe.
Cost: $7.99, for iPad.
The How to Cook Everything—Cooking Basics: Chef Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman, beloved New York Times columnist, celebrated author and notable health advocate, also has offers one of the best new apps out there for the newbie cook. The highly intuitive app's nearly 200 well-presented recipes feature ingredients and steps conveniently located on the same page, with embedded photos, videos accompanying key steps, and tips on varying each basic recipe's flavor and complexity. What really shines here, however, are the terrific teachable moments: self-guided classes; basic skills tutorials and how-to demos (for example, pie crimping); background info on ingredients and kitchen equipment, and more.
What's cool: Thoughtful techie-touches like tap-activated audio commentary, a "constant on" setting so screens won't dim, links everywhere, and the ability to add your own notes and photos (and then share via Twitter and Facebook).
What's meh: Potential boredom. Experienced cooks will definitely want to click on the "Beyond the Basic" link after each recipe to access related dishes on Bittman's other apps.
Cost: $7.99, for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Mario Batali Cooks! Chef Mario Batali
We've long suspected, but Mario Cooks! has confirmed our suspicions that the ginger gastronome was put on this planet to fatten us all up. Still, given the excellent selection of Italian dishes, including lots and lots of pasta, it's not a bad way to go. More than 60 of his most asked-for recipes are available, each with a video, photo array and cool built-in timer (if said recipe needs timing). Batali clearly cares about educating his foodie followers. Recipes are clear and easy-to-follow (even ingredients warrant attention). Key kitchen techniques are demonstrated via two dozen videos. And he even puts his two cents in on recipe and vino pairings (including an informative wine list).
What's cool: If your experience is limited to Sicilian red sauces, be prepared to get schooled: the app breaks down recipes by Northern, Central and Southern Italy. You can also search by kiddie appeal, course, prep-time and season.
What's meh: The interface is a tiny bit awkward. Sort of like his friendship with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Cost: $9.99, for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.