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The iPhone app I saw at WWDC but still can't show you: Bon App


I guess you could say I'm an armchair foodie. Strangely enough, once I started working at home I rarely got the chance to cook a proper meal. It doesn't help that my kids have typical kid palates, and attempts to "get fancy" with the ingredients are met with wrinkled noses and frowning faces. So when I see an app that looks like it'll make my cooking life simpler and better I'm very, very excited.

Bon App looks to do just that -- it simplifies the entire cooking process, from planning to shopping to cooking. All on the iPhone (or iPod touch). What really has me excited is the way it does this. Any blunt object can bash a nail. I mean, there's a reason Mac users have higher standards, right? I like to think we appreciate ease-of-use and quality design. Bon App has an extensive feature list, yes, but it looks darn good doing what it does, and the developer spent serious time thinking about how you interact with the app.

While I can't show you any screens (the developer was adamant that I not record video), I tell you about a few things I saw. One nice touch: when selecting a particular dish to cook, an icon of the recipe bounces down into a menu bar, indicating where to go next (shopping list, if I recall correctly). I don't remember the shopping list feature well, but the cooking features are exceptional. The app shows you a visual indication of how long each dish will take along a bar graph. This helps you plan what to cook and when. As anyone who has played Hell's Kitchen will tell you, timing is critical. You don't want hot side dishes and a cold entree. It was the first time I'd seen that on an app, and was indicative of the thought put into the app's flow.

The final pieces hadn't been put together when I had a look at the demo. The developer was still thinking through the last phase (cooking, which can be tricky, as trying to prep a meal isn't as straightforward as you might think) and tweaking the interaction. I'm also not sure how recipes get into the app. If you're looking for a desktop cooking app that syncs with the iPhone, about the best I've found so far is Avenio's MacGourmet. But I will certainly be keeping an eye out for Bon App. Even though I'm very happy with Sous Chef, the detail and design of Bon App has me wishing I could pre-order now.

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