Caramelized Launches Tim Mälzer-Backed Recipe App

By Conor Rushby |

For those of us without the Midas touch in the kitchen, cookery books are a vital ingredient when it comes to rustling up tasty dishes. But there are also drawbacks – bolognese stains covering up vital information, or the infuriating search for that one recipe that came out so well six months ago. But now there is Caramelized, a new app from the Hamburg-based startup of the same name which aims to become the iTunes for cooks.

Hot on the heels of its launch last Friday, the product is being showcased at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week with a little help from German celebrity chef Tim Mälzer. It boasts a database of recipes from several cookbooks, and tools to make cooking a meal a little easier.

Using the iPad app, you can keep all your favourite recipes at your fingertips, ad it makes the act of cooking simpler and more efficient. You can use several different recipes at the same time, for example, and there are in-built timer and portion calculator functions.

For co-founder John Grøtting, Caramelized represents the future of cookery. “To me it’s very much like what iTunes did for music – once you ripped the CDs it was like ‘I’m not going to buy CDs any more.’ It’s the same with cookbooks and with cookery apps. You can centralise everything in one place.”

He said the aim was to make Caramelized as “seductive” as a book, with neat images of the finished meal. Recipes are sourced from a range of titles but the digital versions are standardised to fit into the Caramaelized format. Tim added: “This is a long process, almost like when you get a novel and make a movie out of it.”

Escaping Stress Through Cookery

Current publications are provided by Random House Germany – including titles from Tim Mälzer – as well as from Moroccan, Chilean, and Norwegian cookbooks. In English and in German, the app itself is free while the user pays for the cookbooks, with 40 percent of the price going to Caramelized. The cost of the books ranges from €4.99 to €49, but users can also buy individual recipes for €0.79.

Tim Mälzer will be showing off Caramelized at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Saturday, and will join fellow celeb chefs like Jamie Oliver in pushing a cookery app. Other competitors include the likes of Great British Chefs Recipes, which showcases the best of the UK’s culinary scene.

But they all suffer from the inability to upload your own tried and trusted recipes, although John suggested such a feature may be added in the future. In the meantime, the app is more aimed at hard-working people looking to relax through cookery and parents wanting something quick and easy for the kids.

To that end, John is optimistic that Caramelized’s features will help it see off the challenge of its rivals: “You can scale up the number of people you’re preparing  for, timers allow you to keep on top of things, while tabs let you multi-task,” he added: “The real innovation happens in Hamburg.”

Currently only available for iPad, Caramelized is looking at other devices, while John says the next step is creating a service where app users can buy the ingredients for a specific recipe and have them delivered – a neat addition if a trip to the shop is what puts you off donning your apron.