Top Chef Judges' Table Review
iPhone App
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Top Chef Judges' Table Review

Our Review by Jennifer Allen on January 25th, 2012
Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: UNDERWHELMING
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Critique restaurant food like the Top Chef Judges. Pity that it's not more enjoyable.

Developer: NBC Universal
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

When an app is free, it feels a little unfair to complain that it's pointless. That's what happens within minutes of using Top Chef Judges’ Table, though.

The app, based on the TV show Top Chef, encourages its users to take photos of meals they have while out then rate them according to their presentation and taste. This information then becomes viewable to all as a form of restaurant recommendation service.

It doesn't really work that well, however. Upon loading the app, the user has to create an account with some fairly strict password requirements. For a more vital or privacy conscious service, I'd understand it but it feels unwelcoming here especially as I felt more concerned about enabling location services without any explanation as to why it was vital to even browse anyone else's ratings.

Actually getting involved takes seconds. Upload a photo of a dish then participate in a brief summing up of how the food tasted and appeared. A quote from the Top Chef judges can then be added, as well as the location of the restaurant. Foursquare integration is also included. Unfortunately, the first time I submitted an entry, the app crashed which was far from encouraging.

Browsing other people's submissions is easy to do, but it's not very exciting. With limited room to deviate from Top Chef Judges’ Table's layout, it's not always easy to get a full grasp of someone's opinion. Only the food can be rated also, so if the service is dire, there's no way of letting people know. The limited number of users also means that a huge amount of the world is uncatered for, ruining any point behind sharing experiences.

The more dishes are submitted by the user, the more their judge rank goes up and the app considers them increasingly important. It's just not enjoyable enough to persevere though. Even as a repository to store photos of pleasant dining experiences, it feels underwhelming obtuse.

Stick with an app that focuses on reviewing restaurants rather than one that tries to turn the experience into a game. It'll be much more satisfying.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Top Chef Judges’ Table screenshot 1 Top Chef Judges’ Table screenshot 2 Top Chef Judges’ Table screenshot 3 Top Chef Judges’ Table screenshot 4 Top Chef Judges’ Table screenshot 5
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