Panna: A Must-Have App for Foodies

Avid amateur chefs (read: yuppies with a spatula and foodie lexicon, myself included) have long been awaiting the culinary app that combines real chefs, killer recipes and the ability to make said recipes in their home kitchens. The Kickstarter-funded (hey, Kickstarter actually worked!) app Panna is basically an epicurean’s dream iPad app. Seriously.

Read on after the jump for the lip smackin’ low-down.

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Basics

Okay, so in layman’s terms, Panna is subscription-based, bi-monthly cooking magazine for your iPad, which translates to a video-based cooking magazine featuring awesome and famous chefs.

Setup is super easy: basically, you download and you’re done. You can also connect Panna to your Twitter and Facebook accounts if you want to make sharing easy.

The Breakdown

Every two months a new issue is released on Panna. Every issue will contain about a dozen recipes, each with a (roughly) 10-minute video of a super awesome chef such as Michael Tusk, Anita Lo, Jonathan Waxman and Rick Bayless showing you how to make one of their killer recipes in their own home kitchen. Every one of these issues has a table of contents featuring eight sections: Cooking for Company, The Weeknight Supper, The Fresh Ingredient, The Master Class, Chef’s Favorite, Panna Recommends, The Classic and Chef’s Take On.

Each issue features around a dozen recipes by top chefs.

Each issue features around a dozen recipes by top chefs.

When you first open Panna, the main screen will feature all of the current issues (as of this review, there have only been two issues: Winter Indulgence and Effortless Thanksgiving.) All of the sections of the app are accessible by tapping the associated tab at the top of the screen. The app can be divided up into Issues, Our Chefs, All Recipes and Panna TV.

When you select an issue, you can browse around and choose which dish or meal you want to try your hand at. After selecting a recipe, a new screen will open featuring the video intro of the recipe. As long as you have a pretty decent Wi-Fi connection, the video will automatically start playing. You can also push the video to stream through AirPlay if you have an Apple TV. You can tap anywhere on the video screen to pause (and then play) the video. The features for navigating the video are reverse 10 seconds, play/pause, fast forward 30 seconds and maximize the video screen. Under the introduction video screen, the featured chef offers up their inspiration for the dish.

Each recipe features the prep time, portion size and preparation time.

Each recipe features the prep time, portion size and preparation time.

Key facts just under the video are the prep time, total time and the amount of portions for the recipe. There is also an easily tappable ingredients and recipe tab which, when tapped, will scroll the screen down to the text coinciding with the tab.

Panna makes it really easy to send shopping lists. Sa-weet!

Panna makes it really easy to send shopping lists. Sa-weet!

One of the features that I love is the ability to email a shopping list for the recipe. Simply tap the email recipe tab and a new window will pop up with the ingredients ready to be emailed off to whomever you have designated to do the shopping (um, hey honey, can you pick up some things for me at the store?)

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see each step of the recipe with a tappable play button corresponding to each step.

All of the videos can be streamed over Wi-Fi or they can be downloaded (takes up a substantial amount of space) to be viewed offline.

Oh, hey, Chef Jonathan Waxman!

Oh, hey, Chef Jonathan Waxman!

Our Chefs tab opens up a new page featuring all of Panna’s chefs. When you tap on a Chef a new page will open up featuring a brief written bio and bio video. Under the bio video, all of the Chef’s recipes are featured (in alphabetical order, no less). All of the Chef’s restaurants and cookbooks are also shown, which when you tap, will open up the associated website in new page. And last but not least, all of the Panna issues that the Chef was featured in will also show up at the bottom of the Our Chefs page.

Holy cow, look at all these amazing recipes!

Holy cow, look at all these amazing recipes!

When you tap All Recipes, a new page will open with (you guessed it!) all of the Panna recipes. You can filter the recipes by meal, chef, cuisine, ingredient and prep time. There are also filters in the sub head that allow you to filter the recipes by the ones that you have purchased, your favorites and the recipes whose videos you have downloaded.

Welcome to Panna TV.

Welcome to Panna TV.

And finally, the Panna TV feature is basically like a TV cooking show. When you tap this tab a new page will open up and one of the recipes will start playing. You can tap the bottom left or bottom right of the video screen to go to the next recipe and if you come across a recipe that you are interested in cooking, you can tap the top right Cook tab to open up the recipe page.

Pricing

This app is free, but the recipes are not. Actually, I lied — in each issue there is one free recipe, but to view the rest of the recipes you must purchase the issue. Each issue is available for in-app purchase and costs $4.99, and you can also by a full year’s subscription (6 issues) for $14.99.

Last Thoughts

What I really like about this app is the user-friendly interface and, well, I think the UI is pretty. That’s right, I said it, Panna is damn pretty. I really enjoyed that when you are watching the videos of a recipe, the video will pause after each step is completed rather than making you try to hurriedly wipe your gummy hands on an apron so you can pause the video before you forget whatever step it was that you just watched. The ease with which you can email ingredient lists is also pretty clever, however, I wish that you can group together multiple ingredient lists in one email. All in all, Panna is a clever cooking app that I’ve really enjoyed using and I’m very interested to see how the app progresses.


Summary

A video cooking magazine featuring famous chefs.

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