You Must Try Zest, a Culinary Duolingo

There is an entire industry helping people learn how to cook for themselves. Think Hello Fresh and Blue Apron sets with step-by-step instructions to help everyone make a great dinner. However, you don’t need to spend a decent amount of money on other people’s products to learn how to cook. If you’re looking for something a little less complicated, consider Zest – basically the Duolingo of cooking.

What is Zest?

As you may know, Duolingo is an app designed to make learning languages ​​easier. A bright, simple user interface guides you through what you need to learn in each lesson, with options for both free and paid clients. Zest follows the same philosophy; however, instead of learning languages, he teaches you everything about food.

Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll be greeted with a friendly tiled user interface: first, a large “Recommended Lesson” (mine was a “Fundamentals of Cooking” lesson called “Tastes”). Below you’ll see “More” Lessons, including topics such as Fats and Acids, Pots and Pans, Ovens, and Extract and Brew.

Clicking on one of these will give you an overview of the lesson, including your current progress (which will be 0% if you just click on the lesson), an Instagram-style highlights section for quick access to different parts of the lesson, the number of recipes that you will learn and a complete description of what you will do.

For each lesson, you will see a step-by-step video. The videos themselves seem a bit homegrown, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They are still full of good information on the topic under discussion.

Maybe Zest will teach me how to cook?

You can check the recipes related to your lesson at any time. For example, the “Tastes” lesson focuses on such dishes as “Pasta with fresh tomato sauce and capers”, “aloo gobi with raita and naan”, and “spicy cod with sweet pepper and lemon”. If you like a recipe, you can add it to your account’s “Menu” for quick access to your favorites at any time. These recipes are prepared by two ” expert chefs ” according to Zest, so in theory they should be pretty solid.

Recipes also have a handy structure, including the ability to specify how many people you are cooking for (the number of ingredients varies depending on your size). The rest looks like a normal recipe at first, except for one difference: every time there is a slightly complex action, such as finely diced shallots, there will be an opportunity to watch a video walkthrough of the task.

That’s the whole experience, in my opinion: you don’t have to stumble across YouTube to learn how to chop basil leaves in the middle of cooking. You will have handy video examples to help you with your cooking. The recipes are also thoughtful and use the same ingredients so you don’t have to buy a whole jar of sour cream for one dish.

I also love the little things, like optional sauce recipes: they call iconic condiments by other names, like Cane Drop Sauce and Non-McDonald’s Special Sauce, but they’ll help you make something you might not have thought of creating. on one’s own.

Zest is clearly a passionate project. The app looks great, the videos are helpful: it looks like an app made by people who want to teach people how to cook. While the free app is a little limited (the $9.99/month option includes all the tutorials and recipes, plus new meals every week), it’s enough to make a few meals yourself. Unfortunately, the app is currently only available for iOS, but Android users are out of luck: you can enter your email address on the Zest website to get the free recipes you get from the app, including all videos.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *