CHEF iQ

Last modified
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Category

Description of App

Welcome to an ecosystem of smarter cooking with CHEF iQ®. The CHEF iQ® App is your home base for discovering new and delicious recipes, creating custom cooking settings for your favorite recipes, and plating craveable meals night after night.

Learn to cook with your CHEF iQ® smart devices, view helpful culinary how-to videos, and explore an ever-growing library of Guided Cooking recipes. The CHEF iQ® App makes it easy to discover your inner chef in the comfort of your own home, and to control and monitor the cooking process from your mobile or tablet device every step of the way.

Features:

- Pair your CHEF iQ® devices with your smart phone or tablet via simple WiFi connectivity

- Control your Smart Cooker™ anytime, anywhere and monitor progress with the Smart Bar™

- Real-time notifications from your Smart Cooker™

- Calculate and send precise cooking times, temperatures, and modes directly to your smart devices

- Choose from an ever-growing collection of delicious Guided Cooking recipes

- Follow along with step-by-step videos on every recipe

- Save and share your favorite recipes and cooking presets

- Learn cooking basics from the pros

- Search by ingredient, course, diet, and more

- Receive over-the-air firmware updates for your smart devices

Discover the smartest way of using your CHEF iQ® devices to pressure cook, slow cook, sear, sauté, and so much more with one simple app. Simply tell us what you’re cooking, and we’ll tell you how to get there.

Version

2.10.1

Free or Paid

Free

Apple Watch Support

Not Known

iOS Version

14.8

Device(s) App Was Tested On

iPhone

Accessibility Comments

Before I say anything else, I am going to say that the Bluetooth pairing of the cooker and the app will require sighted assistance. I had no problems triggering the pairing to start on the app, but a code is flashed onto the LED screen on the cooker that you need to enter into the app to finish the pairing. Once this is done, though, I'm assuming this doesn't need anything else.

The app, overall, is one of those ones where you can navigate through it fine on your own, I believe, but there are lots of quirks in the UI that you need to be patient with and have some more advanced knowledge/skill in Voice Over beyond just swiping and double tapping gestures. I've cooked one meal with it so far and have poked around most of the app. I do have sighted assistance available if things go wrong, though, so your own experience may vary on hether you think this is too big of a hurdle at setup.

NOTE: All control of the cooker appears to be through the app, beyond pressing the big (very very tactile) start buttons/knob on the front to confirm the start of a cooking cycle. The cooker itself makes beep noises at good intervals to give audio cues for a lot of things. You have to use the app to do anything, unlike Instant Pot which has manual buttons. The knob to start the cooking on this CHEF iQ pot is very tactile, though, and so is the steam release lever (the only other thing on it that you need to be sure is touched). The lid is easy to lock into place tactilely.

Overall:
* The buttons/links are mostly labeled, but they are /not/ read out as buttons by Voice Over (for the most part).
* There are a couple interactive elements that seem to be unlabeled icons, but once you know where they are you can remember where you need to swipe and double tap to activate them.
* There are a lot of random blank things you have to swipe past in the UI, which I assume are unlabeled images.
* Sometimes the swiping is erratic (not all the time) and you may have to use touch navigation (such as finding the 'Back' button on a recipe you've opened.)
* Sometimes the scrolling is a little finicky, such as on a recipe, and you may need to use the three-finger swipe ups to scroll the page down if you hit an end in the swiping.
* One time I somehow managed to get to a point where I think it was on a splash screen/image of some sort and could not figure out how to get back into the app. Turning off voice over and double tapping on the center of the screen and then turning voice over back on fixed this. This hasn't repeated, though, so not sure what that may have been.

UI, General Comments
* There are 4 "tabs" at the bottom of the page (Home, Favorites, Calculate, and More). You won't be able to tell which of these tabs you are on just by looking at the tabs themselves, but you'll know by the contents of each.
* Sometimes a "Notification" appears at the top of the Home page. Double tapping this will show notifications like firmware upgrades, I think, and notifications of your cooking having finished.
* I believe the Calculate tab lets you figure out cooking time for various types of food and you can then set the preset time/pressure things in your Favorites as custom presets (I think similar to how there were preset buttons on an Instant Pot, but these you can set yourself.)
* Favorites holdss recipes and preset cook options you've set up.
* Home lets you get to the recipes and find recipes.
* More is the normal "Help/About" section.

"Manual" Cooking
NOTE: This is super finicky to get the page to open up to do the custom/manual settings (like if you have your own recipe in which you want to set the pressure and time, etc.)
* Go to the bottom of the app where the "tabs" are (Home, Favorites, Calculate, More).
* Swipe left until you hear 'Home'.
* Swipe left once more and you will hear a blank spot. This is actually an unlabeled icon button that will open the manual cooking. Double tap on this.
* Once this is open, you can input timing ang what pressure you want and cue the cooker to 'stand by' (it will make a beep noise when it confirms the stand-by). I believe you must hit the tactile knob/button on the cooker to actually confirm it (once the lid is locked in place.
* As far as I can tell, all the options here are changeable even if they don't read out as proper controls by Voice Over. They are all labeled and seem to react to double taps.
* NOTE: If you want to close this window without starting the cooker, navigate by touch to the top of the screen or swipe all the way to the left until you focus on another unlabeled/blank spot. You have to double tap and hold and with your pointer finger and then tap the screen with your ring finger (I think it's a two-finger single tap?) It doesn't respond to the normal double tap, but this forced type of single tap works.

"Guided" Cooking Recipe Experience
I went through a very simple Macaroni and Cheese recipe on the guided mode to test out the accessibility. I made a successful meal with this without much trouble!
* Find a recipe you want to create on the "Home" tab.
* Hit the "Start Guided Cooking" at the top of the recipe.
* It prompts you to do the Prep work first and will list all the ingredients and their amounts. Do what it says and do the prep work now, as the next step will not re-list the amounts of the ingredients!
* Once you hit the button/words at the bottom of the prep list to advance to the next, it will list all of the steps of the recipe. Note that it will let you read all of the steps and there isn't any current way to have Voice Over to know what step you are currently on that I can tell, but you'll have to be vigilant and remember what you've done already.
* Once you have finished with a step, find the bottom of the page where there will be a 'next' button (if it says 'Back to Current', double tap on that and go back to the step text and then go back to the bottom again. It may not think you've done the step initially.)
* When you get to the part to close/lock the lid, it gives audible feedback when you've locked it correctly. The steam release lever also needs to be "closed", but it is a simple twist to the right (to "tight"en it) and to the left to loosen it. You can tactilely feel which one is open and closed.
* When it is time to start the cooking, you actually need to hit the big knob/button on the cooker itself to start things up/confirm. If it times out, you can hit a 'Try Again' on the app and then hit the button again. There should be a noticeable change on the app screen to "Building Steam" and you should hear the cooker start up.
* The app will have a countdown timer and will keep track of the process and what it is doing. (You may have to do touch exploration to read all the stuff here, I needed to do it that way for some reason but it aws all there.)
* The cooker takes care of everything, including releasing the steam remotely (it gives a very very audible multiple beep warning right before it releases the steam so you know to not be near it when it does.)

I've sent an email to the support to see if maybe some of the accessibility hiccups could be polished/fixed. I can definitely see myself being able to use this independently, at least with some easier recipes, but the UI definitely has its quirks and may be more accidentally accessible than intentionally so.

VoiceOver Performance

VoiceOver reads most page elements.

Button Labeling

Most buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability

There are some accessibility issues with this app, but it can still be used if you are willing to tolerate these issues and learn how to work around them.

Other Comments

As noted in the accessibility comments, the initial setup for the cooker needs sighted assistance to pair the Bluetooth, but otherwise I think the app seems usable. It is definitely very quirky to use - your mileage may vary on whether you feel it a good risk since the only way to use the cooker is through the app. I was able to use it fine to independently cook one meal so far.

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