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Chef League – solving flavor problems for fun

Welcome to flavor town

Developer: Quale LLC
Price: Free
Size: 57.6 MB
Version: 1.0.6
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Chef League

There are over a million apps on the App Store, but most of the titles you’ll find in the Games category are cookie-cutter variations of each other. Even the most beautifully unique games usually fit neatly into an existing genre. Not so with Chef League, a game (if we can even call it that) that utterly defies categorization. Is it best classed as a competitive quiz game? A cooking simulator? A training program? A research experiment? One thing’s for sure: you won’t find anything else quite like it.

How much can you improve a one-star recipe using your culinary intuition?

Created by a research scientist at Harvard University, Chef League uses an AI trained by scanning over a million recipe reviews to gamify the delicate art of cooking. Players can compete in “flavor challenges” to prove their culinary worth on the battlefield of food. Players are given a flawed dish to improve with the addition of a single ingredient, and the app uses expertise from top chefs (along with a complex algorithm) to provide expert picks. Users can vote on the winner to see how your intuition matches up to the professionals!

How would you improve this dish with just a single addition?

If competitive cooking isn’t your bag, there are plenty of single-player ingredient challenges to test your mettle. We all know that sugar is sweet and citrus is sour, but could you accurately quantify the exact bitterness of a basil leaf or the fat content of a cauliflower floret? These challenges are best compared to musical training apps that gradually teach you to identify notes and scales by ear; answer enough of them, learn from your mistakes, and you’ll better understand the concept of umami flavor by the end of it.

Players vote on the best answers

Our main criticism of the app is that there is too much going on, and too many layers to the interface. You have to register an account to play, you have to keep track of virtual currency to keep your virtual pantry topped up with ingredients, and you need to understand the various layers of abstraction involved in the challenges. It’s a little overwhelming, and despite all the content it’s something that will probably only appeal to a certain type of player.

Score highly enough and you’ll enter the online leaderboards

It’s crazy that this game even exists – a competitive cooking simulator run by an AI chef – but we’re glad it does. Chef League is free to download and play, though you may need to spend a few bucks to top up your virtual “clams” if you’re not so good at refreshing a tuna streak or enhancing an omelet.