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What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver

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What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver
A man is holding a knife and pushing chopped red peppers into a bowl.
Developer(s) Atari, Inc. (Atari, SA subsidiary)
Publisher(s) Atari
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
  • NA: October 21, 2008
  • EU: October 24, 2008
Genre(s) Cooking, Educational

What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver is a cooking video game for the Nintendo DS narrated by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. It was developed and published by Atari, Inc. (Atari, SA subsidiary) and released in North America on October 21, 2008, and in Europe on October 24.

The game features several recipes, each listing preparation times, ingredients and courses. In addition, What's Cooking? can be used as a shopping list to remind players what items to purchase, and it can act as a timer to count down from a specified time and make an audible sound when it is done.

The game was first revealed by Atari at the Games Convention 2008. The game was poorly received after its release; video game critics gave it an aggregated score of 49% at Metacritic. Reviewers generally agreed that presenting a cooking guide as a video game was a good idea, but they found that the game was poorly executed and mediocre as a result.


Two screens, one above the other. Above, text instructions. Below, a virtual knife is cutting a lemon.
The cooking challenge portion requires that the player cook virtual meals before the timer runs out.

What's Cooking? is an interactive cookbook and food preparation video game with recipes that each list preparation times, ingredients and courses. Recipes can be sorted by criteria such as dishes that take less than 20 minutes to prepare, or vegetarian-only meals. After opening a recipe, an ingredient list is presented. Items on the list can be earmarked and added to a shopping list as a reminder to purchase in the future. A timer option is also available, which counts down from a specified time and makes an audible sound when it is done.[1] Before doing any real cooking, a virtual representation of each step in the recipe is given on the screen that must be performed by the player. The Nintendo DS touchscreen and stylus are used to perform tasks such as whisking eggs, pouring sauces and cutting vegetables. Tutorials are also available to teach the player how to perform simple cooking preparation tasks.[1] While cooking, the Nintendo DS responds to audible commands; saying "next" into the device's microphone will move the recipe on to the next step.[2] One hundred recipes are included in the game, and players can create their own dishes in the game. Afterward, they can share them with others via Wi-Fi. In addition to the game's cooking aspects, What's Cooking? features challenges in which the player uses the stylus to chop, stir, and serve as quickly as possible.[3]


What's Cooking? was first revealed by Atari at the Games Convention 2008.[4] The game is narrated by Jamie Oliver.[2] In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, Oliver noted that he tries to make his games as "three dimensional as possible", and he wanted to "make it relevant" to the player. The developers also wanted to make the game as interactive as possible.[3]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 48.11%[7]
Metacritic 49%[8]
Review scores
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7 of 10[2]
GameZone 3.0 of 10[6]
IGN 4.9 of 10[1]
ONM 70%[5]

What's Cooking? was generally poorly received by video game critics, receiving a 49% aggregated score on Metacritic.[8] IGN's Daemon Hatfield called disguising a cooking tutorial as a video game a "pretty brilliant idea", but only as long as it was done well. He stated that both the cookbook and food preparation halves of the game were not strong enough to make the game worth purchasing. Hatfield commented that the game's controls are "terribly unintuitive, and the cookbook doesn't offer anything its physical counterpart can't for cheaper". He was also disappointed that there were no pictures to illustrate each step, and not every cooking process is explained.[1] Eurogamer's Ellie Gibson was satisfied with the number of recipes available, most of which were "pretty easy to follow". Gibson, however, preferred to see instructional videos to observe how a recipe was made before making it.[2]

In their review of the game, Official Nintendo Magazine commented that the stylus-controlled cooking tutorials are not user-friendly, and the recipe sharing is as good as it could be since players can only use ingredients and methods from recipes that they have unlocked through playing the game. They felt that the game attempts to appeal to gamers rather than aspiring chefs, concluding, "[The game has] some great recipes but the experience is marred by some fiddly cooking games."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hatfield, Daemon. "IGN: What's Cooking? Jamie Oliver Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gibson, Ellie. "Celebrity Chef Showdown: Gordon vs. Jamie Review - Page 2 // DS /// Eurogamer - Games Reviews, News and More". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  3. ^ a b "What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver interview". Official Nintendo Magazine (34): 8–9. October 2008. 
  4. ^ "Atari Turns Up the Summer Heat at Games Convention 2008". IGN. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  5. ^ a b "What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver review". Official Nintendo Magazine (37): 87. December 2008. 
  6. ^ "What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver Review - Nintendo DS". GameZone. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  7. ^ "What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver (ds: 2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  8. ^ a b "What's Cooking? with Jamie Oliver (ds: 2008): Reviews". Gamerankings. Retrieved 2011-07-11. 

External links[edit]