May 01, 2009

When chef David Bull, an F&W Best New Chef 2003 and executive chef at Bolla in Dallas’s iconic Stoneleigh Hotel, told me he was working on a cookbook a few months ago, I told him to make sure he sent me a copy. This cookbook, however, was not going to be a traditional, tangible, get the pages dirty, dog-ear your favorite recipe type cookbook. Chef Bull was launching an online cookbook, which debuted last week, called Bull’s Eye On Food. Instead of going to Barnes & Noble, people sign up here and pay $34.94 for an annual subscription. A user name and password let you access 80 recipes, plus loads of other information that gets continuously updated throughout the year. I got to give it a test run this week and spent hours on the interactive site, which includes much more than just recipes. I loved the one-click grocery list (which you can then send to your PDA) and the video-demo segments. There’s a glossary for esoteric ingredients. You can search by recipe title, recipe type, “with” or “without” certain ingredients, difficulty level (ranging from one through five), lifestyle (e.g., vegetarian) and cooking method. Cooking tips and wine pairings are also built into the site, as is a fantastic party-planner tool that lets you customize place cards and design e-vites. I won’t be giving up my hard copy of Joy of Cooking anytime soon, but I do wonder if we won’t start seeing more of these eco-friendly, web-based cookbooks in the future.
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