Yeah, I'm kind of surprised. I passed by a demo of What's Cooking? Jamie Oliver at Atari's booth and I was overcome by curiosity. How abhorrent would a licensed celebrity-chef training game be? The answer, it would seem, is "not very abhorrent." I couldn't really figure out what to do that well, but not because the interface was bad -- What's Cooking is a hardcore cooking training game. Also pictures of Jamie Oliver show up from time to time, just to remind you that it's his game.

Imagine (in a non-dirty way) if Cooking Mama and Cooking Guide had a baby. What's Cooking teaches real-life recipes, and then has players simulate their preparation with touch-controlled actions. Without holding your hand, at all. I actually couldn't get past the initial steps of my first recipe, because the thing is so deep. To make a sugar paste (the first step), you have to first get a bowl out of your inventory of kitchen implements, then pour some sugar into the bowl, then mix it with a wooden spoon. To heat something up, you have to move it (via a 'stove' icon) to the stove area of the kitchen, then turn on the heat, and stir it around. The game doesn't really tell you when you're done, or even when you've failed. You just cook, like in real life. You could really learn how to cook by playing this.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.