The IBM Watson supercomputer has now become a chef, using recipes to create new dishes with rather unusual results in the new Chef Watson app.
Chef Watson is a web-based and mobile app that allows users to suggest ingredients, and then see what options IBM Watson comes up with. Working with Bon Appetit magazine for the last 11 months and beta testing the app with some willing cooks, it is now live for the public to try out too.
There is also a book out called Cognitive Cooking With Watson, which documents the journey of how IBM research scientists decided to build a cooking computer system and team up with professional cooks from the Institute of Culinary Education, who taught the computer how to cook.
To that end, IBM Watson was fed hundreds of thousands of recipes, together with cultural preferences and vast databases of information about the chemical breakdown of different types of food.
As IBM Watson is a supercomputer, it learns as it goes along and has to be taught what tastes good and what doesn't, so professional chefs have given feedback on Watson's proposed ingredients and offered recipe improvements.
For the most part, if you're stuck for food you can find innovative recipes that differ slightly from existing dishes but still taste great, and the app has many really good ideas for vegetarian versions of popular dishes.
Of course, Chef Watson is still learning however, so it can still come up with some rather strange ideas for what people should like to eat when you put in ingredients.
Here's a list of some of the strangest recipes we've found in the app, without deliberately suggesting strange ingredient combinations:
Chicken Daiquiri cocktail – White wine, simple syrup, chicken, serrano chili, apple juice, orange juice, kumquat, gala apple, granny smith apple
Banana Fettuccine – White wine, fettuccine, onion, olive oil, chile de arbol, cream cheese, blackberry, banana, thyme
Strawberry Fricassee – Tofu, white wine, carrot, yam, potato, negro chillies, butter, strawberry, lovage, fish stock, pancetta, cardamom, salt
Shitake Mushroom Ice Pop – Honey, lemon zest, shiitake mushroom, lime juice, lime, white pepper, gruyere
Baltic Apple Pie – Apple, granulated sugar, egg, active dry yeast, pork, olive oil, vegetable oil, apple juice, coarse salt
Chinese Five Spice Powder Cake – Light brown sugar, syrup, egg, baking soda, baking powder, orange zest, hazelnut, radish, butter, flour, burrata, vegetable oil spray, Chinese five-space powder, sesame seed, coffee cream
Goat Cheese Tiramisu – Water, granulated sugar, beer, ladyfingers, egg yolk, egg white, date, mozzarella, mascarpone, goat cheese, unsweetened chocolate, green tea, espresso, sumac, kosher salt, heavy cream
Jellyfish Cassoulet – Pork sausage, black bean, breadcrumbs, jellyfish, olive oil, soy sauce, bacon, vegetable broth, cumin, black pepper, lemon peel, potato, artichoke, onion, poblano pepper, basil, chervil, rosemary, sage, bourbon
Strawberry Curry – Mussel, brown sugar, chicken broth, strawberry, chanterelle, bacon, milk, bean sprouts, chive, curry paste, asparagus, peanut oil