By Florian Pinel
IBM Watson, the same cognitive computing system that has been put to work in healthcare, insurance, and retail, and which debuted the world’s first cognitive cooking food truck at SXSW last year, will soon be coming to your kitchen counter in the form of a new cookbook put together by IBM and The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE).
The cookbook is a result of IBM’s two-year collaboration with culinary partner, ICE, to pair the recipe expertise of world-class chefs with the cognitive power of Watson to generate never-before-seen recipes, many of which will be included in the cookbook, available April 14.
On the evening of January 20, ICE hosted a private preview dinner with press and influencers, where we served a sampling of some of our best creations, the recipes to which will be available in the new cookbook. The dinner featured eight tasting courses, including two Watson-inspired cocktails.
Each course was introduced by ICE chefs who discussed the experience of working with Watson, as well as the evolution of each recipe. The Hoof-n-Honey Ale Cocktail, for example, was a particularly interesting combination as Watson suggested combining an IPA, burgundy wine (which the mixologists turned into a foam) and veal stock.
The point behind this cookbook effort is not simply to inspire people with recipes that will wow dinner guests with unusual ingredient combinations. It’s also been a journey to discover the versatility of cognitive computing, and more specifically, what are the “ingredients” needed to generate new innovations and ideas.
Through Watson, IBM demonstrated how a computer could understand and reason across vast amounts of data to provide experts with evidence-based answers. As part of our continued research we wanted to know if Watson could help us come up with brand new knowledge and answers. Going from making inferences about the world to generating new ideas is what led us to begin collaborating with professional chefs at ICE, to develop strategies to implement computational creativity in the culinary arts, and we are now using these lessons for other domains where innovation, discovery and design are necessary.
Starting in the food domain, we showed how Watson could ingest vast amounts of culinary data; understand content and flavor profiles; analyze incredibly large numbers of ingredient combinations; summarize their meaning and discover their underpinning relationships; in this case, unique and tasteful ingredient pairings. Our chef partners then provided feedback on the system’s ingredient choices, delivering creative recipes that translated into flavorful dishes and ultimately showing the possibilities of human and machine collaboration. Austrian Chocolate Burrito anyone? How about a Vietnamese Apple Kebab to pique your culinary curiosity and taste buds? To test out some of the first recipes that the Chef Watson and ICE collaboration has cooked up so far, visit: IBM/Cognitive Cooking
In the future, we hope to be able to incorporate this breakthrough computational creativity into cognitive-based apps that can help foodies truly customize their recipes based on lifestyle and preferences, such as finding creative, tasty ways to work around dietary restrictions, for example.
Until then, we are excited to bring our collection of brand new, never-before-seen recipes created by IBM Watson and the world-class chefs of ICE to culinary enthusiasts everywhere on April 14. Be one of the first to gain access to a whole new world of innovative ingredient pairings and get a taste of what cognitive computing can do for you.
Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: Recipes for Innovation from IBM & the Institute of Culinary Education is available for pre-order via Amazon here.