Let’s face it. We Northwestern students are pretty much stuck in perpetual midterm madness. It’s unfortunate that we become so entrenched in work when Chicago laps at our lakeside campus, tempting us to abandon our studies to play. So when the trip is actually made, it should be maximized. Trekking to Chicago for food is no exception. Fortunately, there’s an app that ensures that when you deal with the ‘L’ for 45 minutes, you’ll end up enjoying at least one stellar meal.
Chef’s Feed app for iPhones, created by brothers Steve and Jared Rivera, is the solution. The idea behind Chef’s Feed is that the best restaurant recommendations come from the chefs themselves. Over 50 of Chicago’s best chefs, including Stephanie Izard, Graham Elliot and Paul Kahan, list their favorite dishes in the Chicago area (that aren’t at one of their own restaurants). A few chefs even list a couple Evanston staples in their favorites: James Beard award nominee Bruce Sherman professes his love for Edzo’s and Graham Elliot praises Lou Malnati’s.
The first version of the app was simple but served as a fantastic guide. The building blocks of Chef’s Feed from the initial version are as follows. Users filter their dish search by chef, restaurant, cuisine, price range and neighborhood, and if you need a tasty bite in the spur of the moment, the “Feed Me Now” widget lists dishes in order of proximity to your current location. The dishes cover all price ranges and all areas of Chicago. So whether you want to splurge or stay frugal, and whether you want to surround yourself with hipsters in Logan Square, foodies in West Loop or tourists on Michigan Avenue, you’re good to go.
For version 2.0, the app incorporates new elements to create more of a foodie social network. The first thing the user will notice is the newsfeed. Chefs can now post updates, with the most recent updates (most of which along with pictures) on top. Also, in a Twitter-esque manner, users can follow their favorite chefs or even their friends to see where their friends are eating. In theory, this seems great. The potential problem is that there aren’t enough users of the app to realistically use it as a social networking hub. The app tries to hook users up with their fellow Facebook friends that use the app, but that is pointless if none of your friends use it. Having said that, even though I don’t use any of the social networking features, the app still serves as my go-to food guide.
Go get the free download, and next time you’re scouring for a dining destination, ask yourself, whom do you trust with your dining dollars? Random Yelp reviewers or chefs and their peers that actually prepare the food?