iPhone App of the Week: Mario Batali Cooks! 2.1

January 3, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

POCKET COOKBOOK: A screenshot of the Mario Batali Cooks! app on the iPhone. (Tan Truong/The Epoch Times)
POCKET COOKBOOK: A screenshot of the Mario Batali Cooks! app on the iPhone. (Tan Truong/The Epoch Times)
As a modern cookbook, the Mario Batali Cooks! app is probably the most well-designed and most visually rich of all cookbook apps. There are certainly some that come close, but Mario Batali Cooks! stands out with its rich graphics design, fine attention to detail, high level of usability, and very high production values.

The designers of this app have thought of nearly everything you could want in an electronic cookbook. This, combined with videos that showcase the talent and wisdom of Mario Batali, give a student of Italian cooking a relatively comprehensive education in a short amount of time.

The first thing you see when you launch the app is a unique main menu. The main menu items are laid out in pie chart format and the submenu items are viewed by flicking through horizontally. It’s not as fast as other menu conventions, but it is very user friendly and allows for a cleaner and aesthetically pleasing interface.

Recipes are organized in a variety of categories so that you can browse based on how you want to search, whether it be by region, course or season, etc. Additionally there are predefined categories such as Quick Meals and Things That Kids Love. Of course, there is also a text search function if you are looking for something more specific.

The presentation of the individual recipes is well thought out by the developers. Each recipe begins with a page or section showing the essential information about the recipe, such as the English translation of the dish, a photograph, how long it takes to prepare, recipes that the dish can be paired with, as well a recommended wine pairing.

Each photograph is superimposed with a “play” icon to signify that there is a video to view. The videos are not included with the original download of the app but are downloaded on demand. They show the creation of a dish from the preparation to the plating.