Monday, April 20, 2009 | 3 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
On TLC’s Take Home Chef Australian chef and cutie pie Curtis Stone accosts strangers in the grocery store then offers to up his culinary services and his bankroll if they’ll let him come home with them and take over their kitchen for a night. If only there were one of him in every grocery store.
Now, a Las Vegas chef is offering up the same scrumptious skills minus the television cameras and awkward small talk. Chef Marco Porceddu of Ago at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino wants to come to your kitchen and cook you dinner, well, virtually, of course.
Sardinia, Italy native, award-winning chef and founder of Clearpoint Restaurant Solutions consulting firm, Porceddu has released iEats ($5.99), an iPhone application that brings his fresh, sophisticated recipes and beautiful platings to private kitchens in Las Vegas and beyond.
“He’s a James Beard recognized chef, and he loves what he does and has a great passion for it,” said Clearpoint’s Catherine Bingue of the culinary brains behind iEats. “[Porceddu] set out to do a cookbook, which is still in the works, and we thought, why not an iPhone app also?”
The first installment of iEats focuses on appetizers and features 25 different recipes for dishes like jumbo scallops with red lentils, stuffed olives and Jack Daniel’s butternut squash soup. Each recipe is rated according to difficulty, prep time and cook time and is listed with suggested wine pairings and displayed alongside a beautiful, professional-quality photo, taken by Chef Porceddu himself.
Functioning like a mobile cookbook, the application translates the cooking philosophies Porceddu learned as a young man in his father’s restaurant in Italy for home cooks of all levels, allowing them to produce restaurant-quality, Italian-influenced appetizers without leaving the house.
“The theory is less is more. If you put too many ingredients, it looks like a pile of stuff on a plate,” he explained.
Porceddu stresses fresh ingredients and simplicity on his menu at Ago, and wants to teach you to do the same. “I don’t use cream. I don’t use vinegar; it’s just technique. I love fish, rice, fresh pasta. … [At Ago] we even do chocolate pasta.”
While the chef doesn’t expect you to roll out your own cocoa fettuccine, he does hope iEats users will learn from the application and use it to create something special for their families and friends.
“You got to take pleasure in putting it on the plate, pleasure in cooking it, pleasure in tasting it.”
“The idea is you’re going to have access to a professional that’s very passionate and loves to teach,” said Bingue, adding that she and Porceddu are already at work on updates that will add instructional video and blogging to the iEats app and its corresponding Web site, iEats.tv, as well as new editions concentrating on pasta and salads.
“It’s your own personal chef in your pocket,” she continued. Well, virtually, of course.