iPad App Review

Panna: The Best Digital Cooking Magazine I've Seen So Far

Image Credit: The Kitchn | Kitchn

Panna is a brand new bi-monthly digital cooking magazine that comes to your iPad through a free app and it is, quite frankly, amazing. In my opinion, app-based cooking media has so far been clunky and too derivative of print media. Panna founder David Ellner, on the other hand, created a video-based cooking magazine that takes full advantage of up-to-the-minute technology to give the kind of hands-on instruction that's often needed to make a recipe truly useful. Read on for more on how Panna works and for why I think this magazine is so terrific.

Panna works through a free iPad app you can get from the online Apple Store (an Android version is in the works for spring of 2013). You can then either purchase a single issue of Panna for $4.99 or a year's subscription of 6 issues for $14.99. (This is an introductory price. After December 31, individual issues will be $5.99 each, and a full year's subscription will be $24.95.) There are no ads on this app, so your subscription pays for the content.

Each issue contains 13 recipes with accompanying 10-minute videos from well known chefs such as Rick Bayless, Anita Lo, Nancy Silverton and Jonathan Waxman. These are step-by-step, detailed videos that walk you though each and every aspect of the recipe. Many of the videos were shot in the chef's own kitchen, so these are truly recipes for the home cook. You can view the videos in two ways, either straight through on Panna TV or broken down to correspond to each step of the printed recipe. The videos are available to stream (streaming means your memory won't get taken up by storing large video files) or you can choose to download them to watch offline.

Each issue will have eight sections. Cooking for Company is a complete meal from start to finish: entree, sides and dessert. The Weeknight Supper is a recipe that can be made in under 30 minutes without a lot of prep work. The Fresh Ingredient focuses on a vegetable or fruit, like cauliflower or apples, that you can find at any supermarket. The Master Class is a more challenging and technique-driven recipe that the chefs walk you though step by step. Chef's Favorite is each chef's go-to recipe from their home kitchens and restaurants. Panna Recommends is a favorite from the Panna kitchen. The Classic is the quintessential recipe with the chef's own personal twist. Chef's Take On... highlights each chef's personality through a dish that they're passionate about. All recipes are easily searched for by name, chef, issue, meal or keyword.

The magazine is designed to come into the kitchen with you, so that you can follow along. (Simply cover your iPad with a large plastic bag or prop it up on a stand if you're worried about mess and spills.) Pausing and restarting the video is easily accomplished by tapping anywhere on the screen and a one-touch scrub will allow you to rewind 20 seconds. The videos are very high quality and give the feeling that you are being taught by the chefs one-on-one.

Other highlights:
• Recipes can easily be switched from imperial to metric.
• There's a mise en place for each recipe, with explanation of ingredients.
• Miss browsing through a magazine before buying it? Without paying anything, you can watch a short preview of every recipe as well as one complete recipe video.
• You will be able to stream or download recipes from any individual issues you've purchased or for any of the issues you've received while a subscriber, even if you've stopped subscribing. In other words, the content is yours to keep forever.
• In addition to the chef's mentioned above, upcoming issues will include Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirscheimer of Canal House, Seamus Mullen of Boqueria, and Michael Tusk of Quince. Also, developer David Ellner is working on additional features, such as being to make notations on the recipes and the ability to scale up recipes if you want to feed a crowd.

I don't own an iPad but this might be the push I need to take the leap. At the current price of $14.99 for a year's worth of quality recipes taught by some of the best chef's in the county, I'd say you should definitely give Panna a try. It would make a fantastic gift, too.

Check it out:
Panna Website
Panna App in iTunes
Sample 45 second preview of Rick Bayless' Enchilada Suiza

Related: Free Online Cooking Classes from the Modernist Cuisine Team

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.

(Image: Panna)