The problem most cookery apps have is in not realising there’s a human being at the other end of them. Someone who's desperately trying to make something that’s edible and not set fire to the kitchen while doing so.
“Here are 37 steps to perfection,” they’ll say, followed by tiny, barely readable text, and a single photo of the finished article that resembles your creation with about as much accuracy as a two-year-old’s crayon scribbles might muster.
Kitchen Stories is different. The people behind it say it’s all about cooking made easy, but we reckon it’s instead about cookery made human. The app opens with a gallery of tasty looking photos, inside an interface that feels like a designer cookery magazine was sneakily slipped inside your tablet or smartphone.
This in itself isn’t especially unique (although the app does feel a lot nicer than its many rivals), but what comes next is: each recipe has step-by-step instructions that include huge photos that give you a fighting chance of getting things right.
Step by step instructions
If you’re still a little nervy, even with fairly basic skills, Kitchen Stories has your back there, too.
If you’re making a ‘flourless chocolate cake’, for example, a couple of videos appear before the first step, showing you how to whip cream and chop (rather than despairingly eat while your saucepans all revolt) chocolate. The videos are smart, simple, and to the point. They’re cleanly shot and although aimed at relative newcomers should also point old-hands in a better direction, helping them unlearn bad habits.
Elsewhere, the app continues to be almost annoyingly helpful. Sign up and you can ‘favourite’ and ‘archive’ recipes. There’s a shopping list, although it could be a touch more intelligent in combining items. We at one point had ‘egg — 1’ and ‘eggs — 8’ in there, along with three different ‘butter’ items that were in fact the same.
The app will even help you sort your kitchen’s essentials, recommending ingredients and utensils to grab in your local store along with your ‘one and eight’ eggs and selection of butters.
Great on Apple TV
On Android and iOS alike, and on devices of all sizes, Kitchen Stories rarely puts a foot wrong. It’s perhaps throwaway on Apple Watch, although if you’re using Apple’s wearable as a cookbook, you have bigger problems.
On Apple TV, it’s all rather nice, though, letting you sit back and watch the various videos on the big screen, mulling over what you might cook next. The only negative we can think of is that Kitchen Stories doesn't boast the almost endless number of recipes you can find in the likes of Epicurious.
When everything is presented as beautifully and practically as it is in Kitchen Stories, we’ll go for quality over quantity every time.
Kitchen Stories is available for Android, Apple TV, and iOS, completely free of charge.