As the UK’s longest established independent cookery school, Tante Marie Culinary Academy has developed an internationally-acclaimed reputation for excellence, with its Diploma students running successful food businesses around the world.
Tante Marie is always looking for new ways to add value for its students, both while they are at the Academy, and as they take their new-found skills out into the world. Now, in order to support their students and alumni at every stage of their journey, Tante Marie Culinary Academy has launched an exclusive app that will give them access to their relevant recipes and learning resources from their mobile devices, anywhere in the world.
Whipping up a storm
Traditionally, Diploma graduates have taken away their hefty 650-page recipe files, which they have continued to use as the basis for menus long after they have earned their qualifications. But as chefs have spread their wings and headed to the four corners of the globe, from top restaurants in New York, to exclusive yachts sailing the Mediterranean, and ski resorts high in the mountains, the bulky lever-arch folders have become cumbersome.
To get round this issue, and to keep pace with an increasingly digital world, Tante Marie wanted to offer its graduates the option of continuous mobile access to the same recipe back-catalogue, along with updates, without the need to keep carrying their physical folders around. Andrew Maxwell, the Academy’s managing director explained: “We wanted students to be able to access the content from anywhere, whether on or offline.’
To confirm this was something that graduates would be interested in, Tante Marie Culinary Academy sent out a survey to 1,000 former students. Within three days, 300 people had replied with a resounding ‘Yes’, saying that they thought the proposition was ‘fantastic’.
These days, unless your aim is to produce a beautiful coffee table cookbook, you’re better off investing in the digital alternative. – Andrew Maxwell, MD, Tante Marie Culinary Academy
The proof is in the pudding
Following the positive feedback to the proposition, and based on the huge success of an earlier operation systems project in 2015, contacting DCSL Software to then build this new app was the natural next step for Tante Marie. DCSL Software developed the app to run rapidly and efficiently on both iOS and Android mobile platform, and ensured the product would allow students to download and access recipes without an internet connection.
The app went live in December 2017, to the delight of Tante Marie Culinary Academy students and graduates which have been steadily subscribing and downloading their recipe folders. Mr Maxwell said he has been astounded by the tide of enthusiastic feedback that has come flooding in, without any prompting.
“Close to 40% of those who have already downloaded the app have emailed us with their praise for it, calling it a ‘masterpiece’ among other accolades,” he says. “We’re the first among culinary schools and colleges to offer this form of mobile app, and this gives us an advantage. These days, unless your aim is to produce a beautiful coffee table cookbook, you’re better off investing in the digital alternative. This is about moving with the times. It will also open doors, as we take the business more global, as the app has no geographic borders. It will keep us connected to our graduates, and provide a foundation for growth.”
In the oven
Whilst currently the app provides the recipes selected by Tante Marie, the academy are looking to introduce the ability for students to add their own notes to the recipes digitally, removing the need for any physical binders during classes. “Each 650-page folder costs £35 to print, an expense we could potentially phase out in due course,” Mr Maxwell said. “We also like the idea of encouraging students to take and upload pictures of their dishes, which is something else we will work towards.
The Academy is also considering the possibility of creating international versions of its recipes, and although the app is only currently available to students and alumni, this new Tante Marie app may soon be found within the wider market.