In Their Own Words: Our Favorite Up-and-Comers’ Favorite Apps

No matter what industry you work in, smartphone apps always find a way of creeping in. Which is why, when we asked five up-and-comers for our Oct/Nov print issue what their favorite apps are, the verdict became clear:  when you like what you do, you app what you do. Choosing apps that closely relate to and help with their work – from crosswords to meterology – here are these jetsetters’ favorite apps, in their own words.

Michael White: chef/co-owner of Italian culinary empire Altamarea
A native Midwesterner, chef Michael White has shocked and excited the culinary scene worldwide with his continually-expanding Italian empire: Altamarea Group. As co-owner, White’s brand of elegant and soulful Italian food can be found in Hong Kong, New Jersey, and New York, and has garnered multiple Michelin stars. Some of his restaurants include Osteria Morini, Marea, and Ai Fiori . Last month, the chef presented an array of his signature dishes at Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival.

Michael says:
“I love the app Chef’s Feed. It’s an app dedicated to databasing what the nation’s best chefs like to eat at their favorite restaurants. It’s almost like Yelp, but with the advice of well-known chefs. It comes with an interactive map where you can find out where your favorite chef likes to eat in relation to where you are at any given moment. So cool.”

Solomon Choi: founder and CEO of 16 Handles
As the entrepreneur behind frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles, Solomon Choi is responsible for putting customization in a cup and making it delicious. Choi’s company brings 16 rotating flavors of yogurt and over 40 toppings to the masses, all of which the customers put together themselves. Thanks to his past experience working for his parent’s restaurant franchise in California, as well as at restaurant startup, Choi handles 16 Handles’ expansion with ease; with 26 locations throughout the East Coast, and 10 stores in development, the franchise is becoming one tasty phenomenon.

Solomon says:
TripIt helps me manage my business and personal travel itineraries, as well as view all air, hotel, and car rental reservations from my iPhone. I’m also able to my friends’ or associates’ travel plans once we’re linked. Business owners know that time is money, and efficiency translates to more money earned; thankfully, TripIt gets the job done in a snap.”

Fiona Staples: Canadian comic book artist
Known both for her covers, which earned her a 2011 Joe Shuster Award, and her interior artwork, Fiona Staples has drawn everything from horror to superheroes. She’s illustrated for such series as Mystery Society and the Eisner-nominated North 40, and covers for Superman/Batman, DV8, and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. She’s currently collaborating on Image Comics’ fantasy epic SAGA. Last month, Staples was a featured guest for the entirety of New York Comic Con.

Fiona says:
“My favorite is the New York Times crossword app! I like doing the crossword every day without needing a newspaper subscription. I’m a bit addicted to crosswords and other puzzle games, and do them whenever I have a bit of time to fill. It’s a nice way to take a quick break from drawing while keeping my mind engaged, rather than getting sucked into watching T.V. for an hour!”

Terry Casey: New York-based DJ and event promoter
Terry Casey can be found all across the city and the state, spinning music and planning events at his resident spots Hotel Chantelle and The Montauk Beach House. He’s worked alongside such legends as Paul Oakenfold, Mark Ronson, and BlackBook’s very own Steve Lewis.

Terry says:
RadarScope is a meteorology app DJ Paul Sevigny showed me when he was spinning at The Montauk Beach House. It shows the weather and where  the clouds are coming from and where they’re going. It helps us when programming the outdoor pool parties at the Beach House.”

James Ruff: New York-based singer-songwriter/producer
James Ruff hits the stage two-fold, as both a solo artist and the front man for New York-based band The Rouge Royale. Known for its energizing and eclectic sound, the band has performed on CNN at the 2011 United Nations concert, at such beloved rock joints as The Bitter End, and as one of the more frequent acts for Avenue A Soundcheck. With three solo albums under his belt, and the band’s debut EP this month, Ruff is an artist in his prime.

James says:
“I always reach for the iPhone’s highly underrated native app: Voice Memos. With a click of the “record” button, it captures in a moment every musical  idea I’ve had brewing for days. As a songwriter who composes melody strictly by recording and listening back to my ideas, this app is my best friend and most valuable tool. Every pre-production aspect of The Rouge Royale’s upcoming  EP was aided by this simple little gem.”

Graphic Cooking: Q&A With Amanda Cohen

When chef and owner Amanda Cohen opened the tiny, orange-colored Dirt Candy in the East Village in 2008, she was going for something new. “Vegetables are the candy from the earth,” she has been known to say about her legume- and fruit-focused vegetarian restaurant. Now, after a stint on Iron Chef and countless rave reviews, Cohen finished the restaurant’s first cookbook, which comes out. Naturally, she had to do that a little differently, too, and instead of the normal cookbook style, hers is a graphic novel with drawings by Ryan Dunlavey. It’s a little bit like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but with food. I tracked Cohen down to find out a little bit more about her cookbook vision.

What made you decide to go the graphic novel route?
I’ve worked for several restaurants where we were barely open before the owners were writing a cookbook. I always thought to myself, “Why?” There are already thousands of them out there, why make more unless you’re doing something really different? Then, when Dirt Candy was about two years old, people started poking, “Cookbook? Cookbook? Cookbook?” I didn’t want to do it, but one day I was walking down the street having a fight with my husband and one of us said, “We might as well do something stupid, like a comic book cookbook.” And both of us stopped fighting and realized that’s it.

How did you pick the artist?
It was tough. We started out working with a different artist, but she lived really far away and it was hard to get the reference right. So, we sadly parted ways. I had seen Ryan’s Action Philosophers and so my husband and I were looking for someone like Ryan Dunlavey. Well, why not try Ryan Dunlavey? We had his email, bought him lunch, exploited his weaknesses to ensnare him in a terrible contract, and got to work. We really wanted someone who could do non-fiction comics, and who had a funny style with a lot of energy. That’s practically Ryan’s middle name—Ryan “Funny Style with a Lot of Energy” Dunlavey.

Through the illustrations, you make cooking look easy. Do you think it is?
I think cooking’s easy when you demystify it. That’s the hard part, because an entire industry has grown up around making cooking look magical and complicated. But once you rip away the baloney, you realize it’s a skill like any other. The more you learn to think about it logically, and the more you practice, the easier it gets.

What’s the hardest vegetable to work with?
Any vegetable that is better known for its texture than its taste is going to give you trouble, like eggplant. Everyone thinks of it as charred and smoky and creamy, but that’s not its taste, that’s its texture and the preparation.

Since you opened, do you think people have gotten used to your concept?
I’ve been really lucky since people have been on board with Dirt Candy almost from the beginning. I think by keeping it focused on the food and nothing else, I’ve been able to reach a lot of people. It’s also a numbers game, there are thousands of seafood restaurants out there, hundreds of steak restaurants, but Dirt Candy is the only vegetable restaurant. I don’t have much competition.

I remember how, when you opened, that was the critics just didn’t get the name Dirt Candy. Do you think that’s changed? 
People remember the name, and that’s all I’ve ever cared about. But recently, I’ve been seeing “dirt candy” as a reference to vegetables popping up more and more, from candy stores to people’s blogs. It’s slowly becoming more normal and less weird.

Do you think vegetable-focused dishes are having a renaissance? 
This is something that I keep reading about, but I’m still going to really nice restaurants and I’m still getting the same old roasted vegetable plate more often than not. A lot of the same old lazy thinking is still out there. I do think there are more people doing more creative things, but they’re in the minority. I think the difference is that the minority is getting bigger.

I noticed you had a lot of monkey appearances. Does that mean you finally got the helper monkey you wanted for Christmas?
I’m still dreaming. I think the fact that the monkey appears so often in the cookbook is me projecting my own unfulfilled desires onto the blank page. Someone should write an academic paper on it: “Bring Me Monkeys: Vegetable Chefs and the Subliminal Urge for Primate Ownership.”

Marvel-Inspired Gay Wedding Takes Place in Ohio Comic Book Store

In a bizarre twist of life imitating comic books, two men wed to coincide with the release of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men No. 51 issue. What makes #51 the lucky number, you say? Well, in that particular issue, Northstar, Marvel’s first openly gay superhero, marries his longtime boyfriend Kyle. How romantic! So what better way to celebrate this groundbreaking event in geeky history than holding a wedding, complete with an embossed comic-strip style wedding cake, at the actual store?

We’re sure those were the exact thoughts of architect Jason Welker and health care worker Scott Everhart when they made their trek up from gay-marriage unfriendly Ohio to tie the knot this Wednesday in true, dedicated fanboy fashion.

“I’ve actually read comics since I was 18,” said Everhart. “One of our first dates, actually I took him to one of our local comic shops. So he didn’t run screaming when he found out I was a geek.”

Super sweet! Props to Marvel for being so supportive of true geeky love.

“Though this is a personal thing for us, in the larger scope, we are showing our support for the community—our community—and so is a mainstream company like Marvel to put this out there to show kids that you can be different and you can be accepted for who you are,” said Everhart.