Sara Moulton is a mainstay of food television. After years on the Food Network, she can now be seen on Public Television continuing to do what she does best: teach the craft of preparing a meal to home cooks. Sara has the training of a professional restaurant chef, and she uses this strong knowledge base to help home cooks prepare delicious meals for their families every day. With the Sara at your side there’s no need to feel intimidated by ingredients like duck, seafood or unfamiliar produce. Sara’s Kitchen provides simple recipes and instructional videos to guide you.
If you’re interested in transforming everyday meals from boring to gourmet, keep reading.
Sara Moulton’s long, successful career as a chef, cookbook author and television personality has nothing to do with the star power of today’s celebrity chefs. She’s old school. Sara earned her stripes by graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, working in world-renowned restaurants, and being mentored by Julia Child. Sara has inspired home cooks for three decades because of two qualities: solid knowledge of the culinary arts and her down to earth personality. She’s relatable, real and unpretentious. Launch the app and the first thing you see is her familiar smiling face.
Sara’s Kitchen is a collection of recipes and instructional videos that different than your average recipe app in that it actually connects you with the chef. The Ask Sara feature is a really smart way to bring her accessible personality through to users. It’s nice to see a celebrity chef taking the time to engage with home cooks through their app. Another great thing about the design of the app is that it embraces her traditional style from top to bottom without appearing dated or clunky. Category tabs are reminiscent of dividers in a recipe box and the food photos are styled just like you might find food presented on your mom’s table — comforting, yet still pleasing to the eye. Tap About to learn more about Sara’s career, cookbooks, TV shows and sign up for her newsletter.
This app seeks to inspire home cooks to reimagine the possibilities when it comes to weeknight suppers. Sara wants weeknight cooking to be fun rather than a chore, and hopes to break you from your routine. Recipes are broken down into 11 category tabs, each including five recipes. Each category looks inviting and unintimidating, as Sara introduces concepts like Five Ingredient Dishes, The Big Salad and Veg Cornucopia to break the habit of the “protein/starch/vegetable mold for every supper.”
Select a category and browse the recipe photos by tapping the arrows on the bottom of the screen. Navigation is a little less smooth than other apps that allow you to swipe through recipes, but the difference is minimal. As a chef, Sara takes inspiration from a wide repertoire of cuisines. Users will appreciate how she takes traditional recipes from cuisines around the world and makes their flavors accessible to the home cook. From Asian Green Beans and Pork to Italian Chicken Saltimbocca, you’ll find a new dish to try every night of the week.
Tap a recipe to find a full description of the dish, written in Sara’s inviting style. Important information such as Servings, Hands-On Time and Total Preparation Time is noted just under the description. This is especially helpful for Sara’s core audience — busy home cooks looking for manageable weeknight recipes and maybe something more involved but still doable to try on the weekend. You’ll find handy Related Videos with technique demonstrations at the bottom of some of the recipes. You can tap the shopping cart to add recipe ingredients to your shopping list or select the heart to add the recipe to your favorites. The app also includes convenient options for sharing the recipe via Twitter, Facebook or Email.
Other Handy Features
The Shopping List gathers everything you need for the recipes you’ve selected and organizes items by section of the grocery store (Produce, Dairy, Meat, etc.). Tap the envelope icon to email the Shopping List. It’s too bad they did not include a function for crossing items off the list — the trashcan icon deletes everything off the list at once.
The Videos section covers techniques like How to Peel and Devein Shrimp and How to Make Fresh Ricotta Cheese, which bring a lot of value to the app. Sara’s personality really comes through here, and her easy, approachable manner paired with lots of experience makes cooking more approachable for novices. Videos are short and to the point, with no need for an Internet connection.
Ask Sara is a feature that engages users with the ability to Email Sara with culinary questions. This clever idea is one feature that makes Sara’s Kitchen a special app. She answers the questions on her website, and you can access those answers by category (Cooking Tips, Food Safety, Sara’s Picks and Useful Info) from the app.
The last additional feature to mention is the Mother’s Day tab, a collection of recipes from the app organized into menus for Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner or a Snack. This tab comes off as a random addition to the app, and it might make more sense if she added a menu collection with each app update. Lastly, the Search feature is well designed and helpful if you’re looking for a recipe to cook an ingredient you’ve got on hand. It’s good to be able to Search by Keywords, which finds the search item anywhere it is written in the recipe, not just the title. Browsing Alphabetically is also helpful for scanning through all the recipes. All your favorites are organized in one list, and you can view them by tapping Browse by Favorites.
Sara’s Kitchen is a practical yet fun recipe app for home cooks who seek realistic recipes for keeping weeknight meals interesting. If you’re a fan of her long-running television series, you’ll enjoy the recipes and instructional videos. It would be nice to see more updated content, but otherwise the app is attractive, user-friendly and functions beautifully. Come to think about it, this app would make a great Mother’s Day gift.