2011 was the year of the food app. Cooking applications for nearly every style were created and with the emergence of tablet devices these cookbooks, recipe guides and general "how to" food apps became increasingly popular.
Apps like The Great British Chefs and Jamie Oliver's recipe collection took top spot for downloads in the Apple App store. At times in 2011 it was hard to avoid the huge array of food applications and not to notice the convergence of technology and food. But just how much has this relationship changed our food landscape?
Dining has taken on a whole new style with the development of products like Foodspotting. A new website and application that allows users to tag and highlight great dishes they've eaten and share them with the world. Using the app a person can feasibly find the best pizza in Rome, the best baguette in Paris or even the best steak and ale pie in London. A huge development in the way people find and discover new places to eat.
For the first time ever, in 2011 someone decided to catalogue the rise of modernist cooking. A modernist bible of sorts documenting molecular reactions, spherified foods, immersion cooking - techniques applied in modernist kitchens around the world. A style of cooking made popular by the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià. The book, Modernist Cuisine, covers six volumes and is the first attempt to document the many ideas, styles and tastes of modernist food - a difficult task proven by the fact the first volume had over 600 mistakes - but priced at more than 600$, the book is proof of a growing interest into these new and futuristic ways of cooking.
As well as documenting modernist food, the book laid out scientific explanations as to how and why certain reactions take place in food. With that in mind FDL examined some of our own ingredients with a scientific eye. Eggs and sauces were first into the FDL test kitchen - a real eye opening time as we discovered the scientific tips and tricks for making great mayonnaise or cooking the perfect soft boiled egg. A tip? It takes over 50 minutes.
With all this technology, science and food combining - it was of no surprise that some of Silicon Valley's biggest players got in on the act. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, made his pledge to only eat meat reared and killed by himself - a statement straight from left-field when thinking about the usual geeky diet of fizzy soda and soggy pizza. And with the launch of his biography, we learnt about the strange dietary habits of the former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.
This strong convergence of food and technology is certainly having an effect on our eating habits. We are at a time in history where the pairing of food and technology is growing and our increasing appetite for tech in our life means this merging and crossover will only continue. We now have the 'open food' movement - a cultural group of suppliers, producers and consumers intent on creating a sustainable and transparent food chain - something only made possible through heavy use of technology.
In 2011 technology empowered consumers and changed the way they think about food. It's obvious that we've come a very long way since the days of using a joystick to help Mario crush mushrooms and Pac Man chase his tasty treats, in fact, the term 'virtual food hunting' now carries a whole new meaning.