Cognitive computing applied to gastronomy: Chef Watson- IBM


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In our previous article entitled “Flavour pairing as a competitive tool. Now available for everyone, professionals and foodies”, we mentioned that there was a recipe creation tool from IBM called Chef Watson, which is currently available online as a beta version.
In this article, we talk to Florian Pinel, lead engineer for the project, about cognitive computing applied to gastronomy and Chef Watson as a tool for discovery.

In the case of cuisine it is being used to inspire chefs, home cooks and the food industry to develop recipes and products as a new way of supporting their creativity, but this same technology has the potential to be applied to many other domains where discovery is key such as pharmaceutical research new product design, etc.
Chef Watson is not a recipe search engine, despite the fact that is just as simple for the user to use. It is a complex cognitive computing tool with flavour pairing algorithms that designs customised recipes in accordance with the parameters you set, such as the products you want to use. It is therefore a tool that helps to enhance and complement the cognitive skills of the user: more ideas, new recipes, suggestions for new ingredients…
If you’re allergic to a certain product, you’re on a diet or you don’t like a particular food, you can also instruct the tool to avoid it; you can also preselect the techniques used or the style of cooking. You can “play” with the parameters and discover new combinations and recipes which you can decide whether or not to follow.
At the moment, the tool works with the recipe database of the Bon Appétit website, so the recipes are designed from the perspective of North American culinary culture. However, the tool is able to combine the aromatic profile of up to nine ingredients, something that traditional books on flavour pairing have been unable to do, as we need the help of mathematical algorithms.
As this tool is based on cognitive computing, the goal that Florian Pinel and his team have for the future is that, depending on how you use your Chef Watson, it will become more customised as you give it feedback and it learns about your tastes – or, why not?, those of your customers.
For now, we can try out a beta version of this tool on the website We look forward to hearing about its new developments.


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