The new Great British Chefs website is a fine beast, and rightfully proud of its pedigree. In its provision of recipes to us, its viewers, hungry for the secrets of professional kitchens, this is a swish, photogenic and powerful animal with celebrity stars in its eyes.
This website, a new and improved senior partner to the Great British Chefs apps for iPhone and iPad, holds recipes from some of the country’s most lauded chefs, including Marcus Wareing and Nathan Outlaw. Recipes include: warm salad of Alresford wood pigeon with caramelised walnuts and beetroot compote, loin of rabbit with fettuccine, prosciutto and roasted hazelnuts or bavarois of butternut squash with quince sorbet and poached blackberries.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the website itself is its finesse. Compared to some of its recipe encyclopaedia rivals, the layout is intuitive and very navigable and, importantly, the categories displayed on its recipe page makes Great British Chefs more of a digital cookbook than a list of recipes. Rather than relying on you knowing the ingredient you want to use or dish you want to cook, a quick click around will probably send your cooking in a new direction.
The search function is very responsive – a poor one is probably the aspect of recipes sites I get most frustrated with. If you have enough time and inclination to conjure up a dinner party menu from the recipes provided, this website will significantly reduce the time you spend blog-hopping and tab-hopping. The cooking mode will certainly reduced the number of grease-streaked laptops in this country.
The photography is also beautifully enticing and ample. And again, Great British Chefs has managed to lift itself from the sea of online recipe collections through the consistency of the images across all recipe pages, as well as their quality. Here you do not find the work of a relatively expensive camera pointing at a home counter-top, but magazine-worthy shots.
The how-to videos and the chef and restaurant profiles add another element of difference in comparison to other sites by emphasising the celebrity provenance of the recipes. Another exciting aspect is the promised addition of new content, and presumably this will be along seasonal lines. I noticed that Christmas recipes from Great British Chefs are now available on the app but not on the website, but perhaps that is coming next month.
This is the online recipe collection to which all others should be aspiring. Hard work and thoughtfulness have produced a website that shows how near the format can get to rivalling cook books.