Meet Chef Watson

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Photo: IBM

January 3, 2016

Roll aside, Rosie — looks like the Jetsons might have found another super helper.

A new version of the “Jeopardy”-winning supercomputer Watson is here, and this time, he’s going to help you make a tasty — and healthy — dinner.

Chef Watson, built by the makers of the supercomputer that won $1 million on the game show, considers food combinations, cuisines, allergies and health concerns to create recipes to its master’s liking, according to Business Insider India.

“If you can understand what’s in an actual ingredient,” said Steven Abrams, an engineer with The Watson Group, according to NPR “so what is in butter, what’s in strawberries, what’s in chocolate. What are the key flavor compounds that give them those pleasant sensations? Then, you can make predictions about what’s going to be pleasant, what’s going to be sweet and spicy and salty and savory.”

That’s how Watson works his culinary magic. And Watson’s uses could be expanded to help those with food allergies and health concerns, in addition to considering food shortages.

“It might be that you want to improve the fat content or the calorie content,” Abrams told NPR, “and it might be that what you want to do is focus less on certain fishes that may be overfished or may be endangered and instead trade in other fishes.”

To use Watson, a chef enters the ingredients and cuisines she prefers into her computer, along with allergy and diet concerns — such as gluten-free and low salt — and Watson generates a recipe.

According to Business Insider, Watson understands what ingredients cuisines could have in common and what combination might taste best. And voila, recipes like Vietnamese apple kebab and shrimp-lamb dumplings are born.

Watson is a cognitive computing technology that, according to IBM’s Watson website, “processes information more like a human than a computer.” Watson learns languages, gathers data and gains intelligence over time. As the computer learns from both its failures and its successes, it gets smarter, and its hypotheses, like the recipes of Chef Watson, improve.

But Watson isn’t quite the humanoid the Jetsons’s Rosie is — he doesn’t exactly know when to say no. Recipes from Watson have included such disasters as Belgian bacon pudding and an Austrian chocolate burrito, according to Fusion.

If you would like to try Chef Watson, you can sign up to test the beta version online.


Business Insider India, “We Tasted Three Recipes Created By A Hot New Chef (That Isn’t

Fusion, “Chef Watson supercomputer can make Belgian bacon pudding, help with food allergies”

NPR, “I’ve Got The Ingredients. What Should I Cook? Ask IBM’s Watson”


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