By Chef Polina, Caliblini Personal Chef Service
I am one of the lucky few thousands (or is it millions?) who got an iPad for Christmas last year. Since then, I let it out of my hands only briefly, to charge overnight. The rest of the time, I’ve been using it to read old English mystery novels by the fireplace, browse the web on a sunny day in the park, get directions when lost, check the weather, play Edith Piaf songs for an old man I met on Tiburon boardwalk, play a game of Mahjong whenever I needed to concentrate, make friends with my friend’s new cat Loki on Facebook… The little pad has many uses.
Mostly, however, I’ve been using the pad for business, and my business is cooking for clients.
So here are the ways that I found how a personal chef can use this neat piece of technology:
- Calendar – I’ve been using Google calendar to schedule my cook dates, networking events, and client interviews. When I started using iPad, I was delighted to discover that its calendar synchronizes with Google perfectly. The calendar application does not allow you to do very complex scheduling, like schedule a cook date every three weeks on a particular day – you have to use the browser interface for this – but for simple scheduling it’s perfect.
- Contacts – I like to have clients address linked to the map to their place
- Pages – create menus and invoices, and mail them in either Word or PDF format, or copy and paste into the email message itself
- Tap Forms HD – the most useful application for a personal chef, or anyone who has to keep clients profiles!I used to interview my new clients about their food likes, dislikes, and allergies, armed with a six-page printed form and a pen, and hated every minute of it! A couple of times I forgot to print out the form before going to an interview, so I had to remember all the questions, write down their answers on a scrap of paper, then rush home to file them.After discovering Tap Forms, I spent a couple of hours configuring my questionnaire form, and now I interview them and tap their answers into my iPad, and I always have their information in my purse! And look cool in the process.Contact field links to the client’s contact info and the map. File attachment field allows to add external info, like the approved food list from the personal trainer of my bodybuilder client, or a favorite family recipe. The application is password protected, and allows export to Dropbox or other cloud for backup.I love this application, and highly recommend it to other personal chefs. I’ll be happy to share my food questionnaire form with anyone who wants to use it, as is or customized to their business needs.
- Recipe databases:Whole Foods recipes application – I’m very satisfied both with the easy interface, and with the quality of recipes, well suited to our health-conscious clients, and easy to adapt to their individual requirements. Most recipes have nutritional information. I’ve been using it extensively to plan menus for my calorie count client.Epicurious – lots of recipes; unfortunately, many of them are too “all-American”, and not suitable for modern Californians. Anything containing “a can of cream-of-something soup”, vegetable shortening, or a bouillon cube is out, and that’s 50% of them
AllRecipes and Food and Wine applications – both great for inspiration, too difficult to navigate for actual menu planning
BigOven – I’m just starting with it. Looks promising
- Grocery Gadget – I’ve been using the web interface on my iPad or PC to create shopping lists, and an iPhone application while shopping. Very convenient. The only complaint is that it has to connect to the Internet every time you turn the phone on, and in some grocery stores it takes forever.
Go for the paid version. The free demo restricts the shopping list to 20 items, and allows you one list only; my lists usually run to 30 items or more, and, of course, there are 4-5 lists at a time
- WordPress – the application used to create this post. Usable. Glitchy. Very restricted formatting capabilities, especially for the images. The visual editor doesn’t work. I am comfortable with editing HTML, most personal chefs are not. Let’s wait for the next version.Update: adding links is next to impossible. I’ll add them after I get to my PC.
Cross-posted to my personal blog https://caliblini.com/blog/technology/ipad-for-personal-chefs/