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Food Inspiration Magazine

The taste of software

28 July 2015    Lisa Janssen    IBM Watson digitalization

Man versus machine

A chef that is made out of electronic data instead of flesh and blood, but at the same time a chef that can come up with its own unique recipes. Meet Chef Watson. A computer program designed to help chefs create and discover original, unique recipes by using flavour based algorithms.


From classical to experimental

Chef Watson was built by the people at IBM and works based on cognitive technology. The software is filled with recipes and summaries of different cooking styles like Italian, Chinese or Peruvian, along with descriptions of ingredients, data on human preferences and a plethora of scientific, chemical and neurological data. Watson uses this mass of data to create new recipes. Enter a list of preferences and Chef Watson will provide you with a hundred recipes ranging from easy-to-prepare classics to otherworldly, unique experiments.

Cognitive Cookbook

IBM has invested a billion dollars in improving Chef Watson. The newest version also takes into account allergies, dietary prescriptions and religious guidelines. A Cookbook of Chef Watson’s recipes has been published, and IBM is working on Chef Watson’s baby brother Watson Health with which they hope to use Watson’s analytical prowess to improve healthcare.

Pros and cons

Biggest pro: Chef Watson can devise taste combinations and food pairings no human would ever think of.

Biggest con: A chef no longer has to be creative when a computer can do it for him.
 

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