IBM today presented in Madrid a ‘cognitive menu’ created by the technological system Chef Watson. According to the US multinational, this is the first time that a technological system creates a gastronomic menu, a result of applying IBM Watson’s cognitive computing to the culinary field.
To study how cognitive technology – systems that are not programmed, but understand natural language and learning – could function in areas with a large component of creativity, IBM researchers looked at the art of cooking. And from that experimentation was born Chef Watson.
The system has been trained with 10,000 already existing recipes, which contain about 2,000 different ingredients and can be classified according to 300 types of dish – from a stew, a hamburger, a cocktail, an empanada or paella – and according to at least 140 different options , From gastronomic cultures (African, Asian, Indian, etc.), dietary needs (without lactose, vegetarian, vegan, etc.) until relevant dates (Christmas, birthday, etc.). With this, Chef Watson allows more than 16 billion different combinations.
Thousands of combinations
Thanks to his technology of understanding natural language, Chef Watson has understood and analyzed the texts of those 10,000 recipes and found different patterns in all of them. That is, what combinations of ingredients are more frequent and under what styles of dishes or what ingredients are the most common depending on the types of kitchens, etc. For example, Chef Watson knows that a stew always entails a simmer. To all this information is added the knowledge that has, thanks to sophisticated algorithms, about pairing of flavors and about psychology about what people like or do not like.
Combining all this knowledge Chef Watson is able to create new and amazing recipes. For example, talking about creative pairings, he has recently created a cocktail of champagne and milk, two ingredients that may seem a priori that do not mix well but that the application has managed to combine properly.
“Chef Watson is a discovery and advice tool. It helps us boost our creativity, give us ideas to discover new combinations and surprising flavors, but it can also contribute to improving the quality of life of people with dietary problems and hospitals and schools to plan their menus more efficiently, “says Elisa Martín Garijo, director of Innovation and Technology at IBM Spain.
During the presentation, the cooks of The Kitchen Club were in charge of cooking the ‘cognitive menu’.
More than a cookbook
Chef Watson is much more than a cookbook. It is a tool to inspire our creativity and look for unusual combinations of flavors. Chef Watson’s cognitive creativity offers unprecedented opportunities for kitchen professionals not only to create different and exciting dishes but also to develop recipes that solve common problems related to our food: from how to make certain dishes taking into account food allergies , To propose healthier dishes according to dietary restrictions or nutritional information. And all this according to the specific culinary tastes, gastronomic cultures in different countries, etc.
Chef Watson can be used very simply both in a domestic setting and to help chefs in their research process on new recipes. You can also help hospitals, schools or facilities that feed large groups of people to plan menus based on their dietary needs, health conditions or, simply, their tastes.
Chef Watson is an application open to everyone. We only have to request the creation of new recipes based on some simple parameters: the main ingredient we want to use, the type of dish we are looking for (dessert, main, drink, etc.), our preferred style (oriental, western, Etc.) or even dietary requirements (lactose free, gluten free, vegetarian, etc.). With that information Chef Watson proposes unique and healthy combinations of ingredients and flavors that the cook can interpret and prepare to his taste.
P. Nuñez. (March 8th, 2016). Recovered from: https://www-03.ibm.com/press/es/es/pressrelease/49310.wss