Computational Creativity for Computer Generated Cooking Recipes

Computational creativity applies technology to assist humans in thinking outside the box and expanding their exploration boundaries. It has many potential applications, like music, visual art, story generation and now cooking and restauration too. IBM researchers have built a system to support chefs on creating new incredible recipes, with ingredients that have never putted together before.


Today, a significant portion of a food services or manufacturers’ business is focused on generating new ingredient combinations and finding new flavors that will be a commercial success. Data is the secret ingredient in these companies’ quest to perfect a new recipe.

Humans have trouble in remembering and thinking with large dataset and large number of possibilities. If you think on all the possible ingredients in the world to put together for food there are over 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 possibilities. That where the power of machines comes in.

Work with the system begins with design the dish. The chef selects the key ingredient that that he finds interesting or intriguing, chooses cousin (American, Italian, French, ..) and dish type (stuffed, baked, soup, …) and then spins the wheel to see what comes out. The system will start to think about which ingredients will go well together; it starts looking original recipes and comes up with thousands of new ideas, predicting which ones are the most surprising and pleasant. It models the chemistry of the food and human perception to predict if the new recipe will be a favorite food or not. The chef now can choose the new recipe to try.

This platform shares some of the underlying cognitive principles found in Watson so that the system can reason about flavor the same way a person uses their palate.

IBM is collaborating with the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) of New York and its team of world-class chefs to codify culinary knowledge into mathematical terms a computer can understand, and provide feedback on the system’s suggested recipes. IBM and the ICE team taste tested a variety of computer generated recipes, like Caymanian Plantain Dessert, Creole Shrimp Dumpling and Swiss-Thai Asparagus Quiche.

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