Can VR Cooking Games Really Teach You How to Cook?
The process of preparing and cooking food has usually been handed down and has continued to evolve over the years. Well prepared and cooked delicious food is not something that comes ready to eat immediately unless of course, you are eating from a can or a pack bought from a grocery or a supermarket. No, yummy chow takes some time (in one way or another) to prepare, cook and serve.
With the food technology, we have today, something as simple as basic cooking requires certain steps using cooking equipment to get done. The ability to cook and thus feed oneself (and others) is a must that every person should know even in it's the simplest form like heating, boiling, frying or toasting. One usually learns about such stuff from one's elders as the knowledge is handed down. However, if one wants to learn how to cook professionally or at a higher level beyond what one's immediate elders can teach, or simply has the need to learn a certain recipe, one can either learn it by enrolling in a cooking class or by learning to do it oneself.
Learning how to cook can be costly. Experimentation with food preparation is usually a trial and error affair until one learns how to properly do it. Excellence is a result of practice and cooking is no exception to the rule. The old and popular adage "Cooking is an Art, Eating is a Pleasure" holds very true as to why there are connoisseurs and food critics who have the experience to taste and rate cooking on how it was poorly or perfectly done. To achieve a modicum amount of cooking excellence short of a gourmet chef, a lot of practice and ruined dishes are likely to occur in the process though usually there is always someone willing to be a guinea pig taster for such attempts and actually eat it. Even your pet may thank you for it in case no one can really bear it.
With the VR technology, we have today, one can actually learn how to cook at least in theory and probably end up knowledgeable enough to be able to pull it off in the real world. Virtual Reality provides an experience that no current media can (with probably the exception of AR to some extent). With a VR headset on, one is enclosed in a near-real simulated world that can be interacted with and playing or doing a cooking simulation gives the user the impression of really doing it. The advantage, no food is wasted. One can keep on practicing while learning the steps from a virtual tutor (like that pesky robot in Job Simulator) and gain experience doing it, something that cannot be achieved by just reading a book or watching a cooking video.
Cooking games in VR is usually not only educational but fun as well. An example is The Cooking Game VR which is hilariously challenging and fun. The game trains one to be a cook in a fast-food joint. Although there seem to be three items on the menu, namely burgers, hotdogs and fries, the frying process and food preparations are very much detailed and have to be done in a specified amount of time. The game itself is cute and humorous as one tries to fill up the orders on a busy day while the customers and the funny (but cute) looking waitress wait on. Failing to satisfy these two will end up in you losing the game.
Job Simulator is, of course, another source of food preparation simulation with its Gourmet Chef option. It's probably the simplest cooking simulator in VR with the bot instructing you with what to do with the food. Also, the game is lenient when it comes to the time as the objective is to learn your way around in its little space of a kitchen. The game will let you experience using current modern-day cooking equipment from a stove to an oven as you cook different meals to be served.
Another good example is Puppy Chef Academy. This one, however, is not only just a cooking simulator but an anime school adventure as well. There is a storyline where you get to play a culinary cat student enrolling in a school populated by dogs (though all in anime human form). You get to interact with the other students and the teaching staff and of course learn to cook dishes like an Egg Omelet, Lasagna and a wide array of recipes from all over the world.
All these VR cooking games (and others as well) are objective-based and there is no way one will walk away from the gameplay without learning at least a thing or two about preparing food. A common issue however in VR is the handling of objects which can get really clumsy when food, pans, plates, cups, utensils, spatulas and the like become the necessity of the game. Players are usually prone to dropping things in VR and, in worst cases, have to use their virtual hands to place and take food out of the cooking pan which really brings the realism down.
Regardless as to whether one can really learn how to cook using VR is a definite Yes. Cooking in VR is one step down from actually doing it in real life. The experience alone leaves a much stronger impression on the player as one goes about the physical movements of actually cooking which delivers an experience that can easily be remembered and put to good use when one actually finds oneself in the kitchen and having to cook... for real.