Summerville Couple’s iPhone App Helps Home Cooks Create Hands-Free Recipes | Food
Yese just got home from the grocery store with the ingredients to make the basil pesto pasta recipe you found online.
When chopping onions and garlic, scrolling through the ingredient list and instructions on your phone at the same time, your screen becomes wet and sticky – a problem that persists throughout the cooking process.
This scene is surely familiar to home cooks living in the digital age.
Natalie Tannous and Brent McCarthy want to reverse this process with Mykaa hands-free, voice-activated iPhone app that helps home cooks develop their own recipes.
The impetus for the business stems from the frustrations the couple experienced trying to recreate dishes they ate while traveling.
“When you actually try to prepare the dish and record the steps you do, writing it down fails,” Tannous said. “All those little things that make the recipe delicious in the end, you kinda forget about them.”
Myka, short for My Kitchen Assistant, can help, the couple said.
Here’s how the iPhone app works:
After opening the app, place your phone on the counter and say something like “Hey Myka, create a new recipe” to start your recipe session. As you build your recipe, record your steps – if you miss a step, just let the app know and its AI technology will modify the recipe.
Once complete, the new recipe will be placed in a digital cookbook catalog with recipes that Myka can read back to the user when prompted.
“She extracts the ingredient and the amount, then waits to move on,” McCarthy said. “You really shouldn’t have to look at your phone to figure out what’s going on.”
Myka was officially launched on April 30, 2021 and currently has around 350 users. Despite the modest numbers, Tannous and McCarthy remain optimistic about the app’s future, saying they’ve finally found developers who can fully execute on their vision.
“I think the biggest challenge we’ve encountered is the outsourcing of work and the language barrier,” Tannous said. “Now we are very happy with our team that we have.”
Tannous said she enjoys using the app to tweak traditional Middle Eastern recipes she learned from her Jordanian-born mother. The ability to leave notes for Myka to recite helps when adding new ingredients or making last-minute changes to a recipe, she said.
Going forward, the couple want to improve the artificial intelligence aspect of the app to make Myka more intuitive and conversational.
“That’s our primary focus, and it’s something our developers work on daily,” McCarthy said.
In addition to this and Myka’s growing popularity, Tannous and McCarthy hope to create a social platform where professional and amateur cooks can follow others and upload their digital cookbooks.
The Myka app currently offers around 40 recipes for users to choose from, three of which are pre-loaded. Available in the iPhone App Store, Myka costs $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year and comes with a seven-day free trial.
The app is currently only available for iPhone users, but the company plans to expand to Androids in the near future.