Introducing Mobile Skillet


A couple of years ago, after teaching my 20-something son to cook, I became obsessed with the idea of writing a cookbook for young adults. I wanted to get them hooked on home cooking because it’s healthier for their waistlines, their wallets, and the planet. To size up my prospects, I ran the idea by a pal of mine who knew culinary publishing from the inside.

My friend said that mobile computing was changing the world and that I should do the project as an iPhone app. (Android didn’t exist yet.) At the time, I didn’t own a smart phone, and I had never seen an app. But—as soon as he said it-I knew he was right. I assembled a powerhouse team and started working on Trufflehead, a cooking app for iPhone and iPad.

When Trufflehead launched last summer, it entered a market dominated by big-name chefs with big money. I was flying solo—without a corporate machine behind me and without a safety net. As the development costs for Trufflehead grew, I began to appreciate why so few people like me had ventured into app creation: They simply couldn’t afford it. If that barrier could be overcome, many more members of the culinary arts community could launch their own cooking apps and reach a growing audience of young cooks who lived on mobile devices.

My team and I began to envision a Trufflehead-based program that could be used to produce cooking apps more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before. We called it Mobile Skillet, and it’s now a reality. Our website, , launched last week.

Mobile Skillet offers a personalizeable “blank slate” format that can be licensed to talented chefs, cookbook authors, and food bloggers for a fraction of the cost of doing an app from scratch. Instead of $50,000 to $100,000, Mobile Skillet apps run $5,000 to $15,000. That roughly equals the cost of a self-published book—without the additional hassles and expense of shipping, warehousing, and distribution.

The Mobile Skillet platform channels Trufflehead’s user-friendly structure and value-added functionality. We know it’s a good model because its features (including a smart shopping list and photo upload capability) landed it on Apple’s New and Noteworthy, Top 25 Lifestyle, and What’s Hot iPhone app lists in January 2012.

Unlike the existing competition, Mobile Skillet isn’t a “walled garden” system that stamps out bland, look-alike, do-nothing apps. Our apps are individualized via an array of lay-outs and palettes. They offer shopping lists, hyperlinked glossaries, and the capacity for community-building and email. Every single one has an independent, searchable identity on iTunes, with a unique icon and a distinctive page celebrating the author’s contribution.

Trufflehead took 2 years to complete, and—as those who monitored my progress know—they were frought with perils. Unscrupulous, incompetent developers were everywhere. It was a miracle that I ended up in good hands and that Trufflehead was successful. Now I’m using my experience to help others achieve the same outcome without the hard knocks.

If you are curious about the process, I hope you’ll visit . If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected] .

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