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Cognitive computing for cooks


Bon Appétit has launched a new cooking app with IBM cognitive computing technology. The Watson-powered app includes knowledge acquired from training Watson to understand 10,000 recipes from the Bon Appétit database, in addition to how ingredients are used in different dishes and cooking styles.

Over the past year, IBM and Bon Appétit have evolved the Chef Watson cognitive cooking app’s design based on how users wanted to collaborate with Chef Watson as part of their creative process. People can discover new flavor profiles with as little as one ingredient. Based on a user’s input of one ingredient, for example, the app suggests three other ingredients that it predicts go well together. It then suggests dish ideas, ingredient amounts and preparation steps that serve as a starting point for the cook.

Stacey C. Rivera, digital director of Bon Appétit, says, “We’ve been impressed by the creative ideas users have discovered so far—to see not only what dishes they were making, but what common food problems they were solving with the help of Watson. From cutting out gluten to limiting the amount of waste in their kitchen, the Chef Watson app proves: If you give cooks a tool to help them be creative in the kitchen, they will be.”

In the beta, the app was used by several thousand home cooks who helped to expand Watson’s knowledge in a variety of ways, including sharing feedback on recipes and how best to interact with the app. The beta participants also discovered new uses for the tool including how to create tasty meals that exclude or substitute key ingredients based on health or dietary choices, reduce food waste by creating dishes around unused ingredients, exploit local or seasonal ingredients to maximize a sustainable farm to table concept, and even teach children about creativity and healthy eating.

(Image courtesy of ShutterStock.com)


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