Cortana Skills

Earlier this month, Microsoft finally debuted its own home virtual assistant/speaker combo alongside a developer platform for third party skills. A couple years behind Echo/Alexa, it’s no surprise the new platform has lots of catching up to do when it comes to third party skills.

But let’s give credit where credit is due: Not only did Microsoft beat Apple to market with a home voice assistant, they also have a decent early slate of skills. Checking in on the Microsoft skill listing, there are a total of 55 total skills as of today, of which five are food related.

Here are the five food skills currently available for Cortana:

Food Network: Like the Alexa skill, this Cortana skill allows users to ask Cortana for a recipe for a meal made on any number of shows. Users can “ask for recipes by ingredient, course or chef. You can also search our TV schedule by show, chef and time/date to find showtimes and episode details.”

Domino’s Pizza: Pretty simple: users can order Domino’s pizza with this Cortana skill. By adding Microsoft’s voice assistant,  Domino’s is available on all three of the big home assistant platforms, including Alexa and Google Home.

Open Table: The Open Table skill is also pretty straight forward: like the popular mobile app, the Cortana Open Table skill allows you to make reservations. To get started, the user has to do a little up front work and fill in their basic contact details such as name, email, phone.

Bartender: This one is a fun but simple skill – you can ask it to give you the recipe for your favorite cocktail and it will walk you through it. This skill is made by BigOven, a Seattle based digital recipe and food content startup founded by ex-Microsofter Steve Murch.

Cook.ai: Of the five Cortana food skills, this is my favorite. While I didn’t try it on Cortana (I don’t yet have a Cortana device), I was able to give it an Alexa version of this skill a test run and liked the concept. The neat thing with Cook.ai is it combines a voice assistant with a web app at Cook.ai to walk you through a recipe. You start by first enabling the skill, then you are instructed to pair a device (I paired my Mac). The skill then takes you through a recipe step by step, showing each stage of the recipe in the web app on the paired device. You give voice commands to move from step to step. Cook.ai is also working iOS and Android apps (and I assume also Windows), though I found the web app worked just fine.