Feel like chicken tonight? Ask app

Kapi-Mana News - - FOOD - By EMMA BEER

The av­er­age New Zealan­der cooks be­tween five and seven reg­u­lar dishes.

Two food-lov­ing women have de­cided to try to ex­pand that reper­toire.

Fast, Fresh and Tasty is New Zealand’s first iphone and ipad recipe ap­pli­ca­tion.

Karin Grice came up with the idea of a recipe sta­tion a few years ago.

‘‘I had two small chil­dren, so with jug­gling work and kids it was pretty busy,’’ she said. ‘‘I’d go to the su­per­mar­ket ev­ery day and I wanted some nice, new ideas for din­ner.’’

Mrs Grice at­tended an Ac­ti­vate course run by Grow Welling­ton in 2009 and started putting the idea into ac­tion.

Her con­cept was to in­stall recipe kiosks in su­per­mar­kets but the roll­out and things such as main­te­nance meant the idea never gained trac­tion.

Then she met Click Suite creative di­rec­tor Emily Loughnan, who be­came ex­cited about the idea and sug­gested an app.

‘‘It wasn’t some­thing I’d con­sid­ered un­til Emily men­tioned it but it made sense,’’ Mrs Grice said.

Ms Loughnan said it was part of her job to de­cide what a good medium for a prod­uct would be.

‘‘[Apps] are so much more con­ve­nient.’’

The women con­ducted mar­ket re­search to iden­tify how peo­ple went about pre­par­ing their evening meals, Ms Loughnan said.

‘‘Typ­i­cally they ei­ther go ‘ I feel like chicken tonight’ or they de­cide by style and go ‘ Tonight I feel like a salad’.’’

To ac­com­mo­date that, the recipes are ac­ces­si­ble through both op­tions.

For each recipe there is ad­vice about how long it will take to cook and how many it will serve. There’s also in­for­ma­tion about how many peo­ple have tagged it as a favourite.

‘‘You’re able to see what dishes might go with it and what wine might go with it,’’ Ms Loughnan said.

When viewing the list of in­gre­di­ents, users are able to touch the shop­ping cart icon to add the item to a shop­ping list.

The shop­ping list fea­ture is one of Mrs Grice’s favourite parts of the app.

‘‘I can be sit­ting on the bus on the way home and can start plan­ning din­ner and adding things to my list.’’

The shop­ping list was then able to be sent, by text mes­sage or email, to oth­ers.

‘‘I said to my hus­band [early on], ‘ Oh, I can text you my shop­ping list’. ‘‘He just turned white.’’ Mrs Grice said she also loved be­ing able to share recipes on­line, to show her friends on so­cial net­work­ing sites what she was pre­par­ing for din­ner.

For Ms Loughnan, the fact the app was all about sea­sonal prod­ucts was fan­tas­tic.

‘‘You can go a bit stale on a cook­book. The sea­sonal stuff gives you a re­ally fresh view.’’

Recipes were up­dated ev­ery sea­son and the In Sea­son sec­tion pro­vided a quick look at what in­gre­di­ents would be best at cer­tain times of year.

‘‘It’s a sea­sonal carousel; it’s a re­ally pop­u­lar fea­ture. Sum­mer is about bar­be­cues and sal­ads and eat­ing out­side. For win­ter, we’ll be adding a cur­ries sec­tion.’’

Although there were many good cook­ing apps avail­able, they were over­seas-based and done by pro­fes­sion­als, Mrs Grice said.

‘‘We’re not pro­fes­sional chefs but we en­joy mak­ing good food for our fam­i­lies.’’

Dur­ing the first few months, the women cooked from a dif­fer­ent recipe ev­ery night.

‘‘It was chal­leng­ing,’’ Ms Loughnan said. ‘‘Most New Zealan­ders have five to seven reg­u­lar dishes. You can go into ro­bot mode but as we were do­ing it we had to read and fol­low a new recipe ev­ery night.

‘‘Af­ter a cou­ple of months you go, ‘ Ac­tu­ally, I’d re­ally like takeaways’.’’

Ms Loughnan said the re­sponse since they re­leased the app late last year had been amaz­ing.

A huge num­ber of peo­ple had bought the app and used it reg­u­larly. Many even emailed the women to say how won­der­ful it was, she said.

‘‘I down­load lots of apps. I have ev­ery cook­ing app avail­able, some that I love but I have never, ever emailed the maker to say thank you. For peo­ple to ac­tu­ally do that, it’s won­der­ful.’’

The next step for Fast, Fresh and Tasty was the Aus­tralian mar­ket. They would take the same struc­ture and lo­calise the recipes for Syd­ney and Melbourne, hope­fully this year, Ms Loughnan said.

The app costs $6.49 which she said was good when you took into ac­count it was an en­tire cook­book with sea­sonal up­dates.

Mrs Grice said she never imag­ined her idea could have come so far so quickly.

It was al­most a year to the day from when the two women started work­ing to­gether to when it was in the itunes store.

‘‘I knew my part­ner­ship with Emily was go­ing to get me where I needed to be but I don’t think I ever imag­ined this.’’ Karin Grice, left, and Emily Loughnan have cre­ated New Zealand’s first recipe app.

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