Two local women create 'Audio Chef' app for personal digital devices
BELLOWS FALLS -- A simple miscommunication between Alexis Mullen and her mother more than a year ago has blossomed into a software program that has been downloaded 500 times in the past two-and-a-half weeks.
Mullen, 32, told her mom she had downloaded a cookbook onto to her own iPhone. But that's not the way her mother understood it.
"She thought I meant an audiobook and that I would listen to it in the car or something," Mullen recalled. "And she thought it sounded like it would be boring to listen to a cookbook as an audiobook. And the idea came out of that."
Mullen then teamed up with friend Ailyn Hoey and the two got a mutual friend to do some graphic design work and then hired a developer to help create Audio Chef -- an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch app that enables someone to listen and cook along with narrated instructions to prepare a complete meal. She said anyone who has downloaded the app can press "Play," and follow step-by-step directions from her and Hoey. Mullen explained that once the app is adopted there is no need to measure or prepare ingredients ahead of time or to try to avoid losing your spot in a physical cookbook.
Mullen and Hoey are waitresses at Popolo restaurant in downtown Bellows Falls.
"We're just two women living in southern Vermont, where the job market isn't too great, and we were trying to think of innovative ways to provide for our families," Mullen said, adding that she and Hoey each have husbands and 2-year-old children.
Four recordings are available with the free app. The rest of Mullen and Hoey's "30 Favorite Meals" collection -- a month's worth of their favorite go-to meals -- is then available for 99 cents (in-app purchase). According to Mullen, the meals are wholesome and delicious and take 15 minutes to an hour to prepare. They include both vegetarian and meat dishes and many of the meals can be prepared gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free.
Hoey, who lives in Westminster West, she and Mullen each came up with 15 of their favorite recipes and each produced 15 of the audio recordings. She said the focus is now on promoting their app.
"I didn't really know what to expect, but I have been happy with some of the reviews we have gotten (on various websites)," said Hoey, 40.
The app's features also include a built-in timer, written instructions for those who wish to bypass the audio function, photographs of each meal and a search function to find meals and ingredients by category.
A few meals from the "30 Favorite Meals" collection include almond-crusted salmon with mango salsa, jasmine rice and asparagus as well as Polenta "pizza" with pesto and a tomato cucumber salad. Mullen and Hoey's next collection of recipes, "30 Easy World Meals," which is set to be available soon, consists of a month's worth of authentic international flavors that can be made with ease. New collections will continue to be made available.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.