I consider myself a fan of Food Network, which is why I'm disappointed to report that the channel's new app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, called In The Kitchen, is overpriced and under-performing.
At first taste, In The Kitchen looks to be a useful recipe app — foodnetwork.com is, after all, often a destination of choice for home cooks, and this app brings the site into native iDevice format. I found the search function — what would be the most-used part of the app — to be lacking. There are some commonly searched terms provided to you, but the only filtering option is by chef, so you miss out on the many narrowing options provided on the regular web site. The results appear in seemingly random order, and considering there are more than 100 lasagna recipes, that can waste a lot of time. You can add favorite recipes to your recipe box to avoid the search in the future, but an account is required.
Once you find a recipe you're interested in, you'll see information and details, such as number of reviews, serving size and prep time. Sadly, you can't read reviews in app (one of the web site's most useful features), and the serving information is often cut off — perhaps because the app was mostly designed to function on iPad. Ingredients are found in one tab, and can be added to your in-app shopping list individually or as a recipe, but directions are listed separately. If you don't fully prepare your mise en place, expect a lot of flipping between the tabs, as the directions do not include ingredient measurements. I was also disappointed that no video instructions are included.
I was happy to see that In The Kitchen offered an in-recipe timer — until I used it. The timer's shortest duration is one minute, and its single-beep alert is so quiet I didn't hear it go off on my first test. I did appreciate In The Kitchen's unit converter, but that alone isn't worth dropping $2.
The mobile version of foodnetwork.com might not be as flashy as its app, but I found it to be much more user-friendly.