Try wading through the app store for a refined, inspiring food-related app and you’ll be drowned by a firehose of options, which is a reflection of the fact that food has become a mainstream sport and entertainment. To that point, one of our favorite apps is Chefs Feed, which flips the usual review thing on its head by featuring favorite dishes, only ones judged by top-rated chefs. And while at first glance it may seem like just another shameless piggybacker hopping on the celebrity chef wagon, the point here is that you not only get celebs, but also the opinions of the best chefs in whatever town or city you’re in. These locals, after all, really know the best places to eat.
After selecting a city, the app displays recent additions and comments by any users or chefs you choose to follow. Tab over to swipe through the 500-strong roster of chefs and the plates they admire. A dish usually has comments by one or two chefs, who, for the most part, are good at explaining their appreciation; in a sporting touch, they may even pick one cooked by a competitor. For example, Carol Wallack opened Sola, in Chicago, to share her love of Hawaiian cuisine – including a tuna dish. Her review of Arami calls chef B.K. Park a master and his Maguro kani “perfect mouthfuls of fresh fish that taste like the ocean, all bundled up in a silky tuna wrap.”
There are some high-caliber restaurants represented in there (chefs do have standards, after all), but we love that street vendors get some foodie love, too. (Austin eaters will be glad to know ‘Top Chef: Texas‘ winner Paul Qui hasn’t gone all high brow and still finds the best beef tacos at Tacodeli – a local chain.) Otherwise users can search by dish, restaurant, or whatever’s closest and there’s a “plan it” button to save dishes to your wish list of culinary delights.
While suggestions from the the pro chefs form the app’s backbone, its most recent update boosted the social possibilities, which make it far more useful. For instance, now you and other foodies can rate, comment on, and review the same dishes the chefs have selected. And, in a nod to today’s unwaveringly popular new social hobby, there’s even a way for regular users to upload their own food porn. Regular users are restricted, however, from uploading new dishes (only chefs can do that). While that certainly limits some of the app’s social content, it also makes it far more manageable and keeps it from devolving into a grating personal essay contest like Yelp, Foodspotting, and its ilk. And unlike other rating apps, Chefs Feed is strictly about the food – no rants about waitstaff or stained curtains or ruined birthday parties. Now, that’s delicious. [Free; chefsfeed.com]