Florian Pinel

Can computers be creative?

Meet Chef Watson. Aimed at adventurous cooks, Chef Watson is a cognitive computing application revolutionizing how people combine ingredients to create unique dishes with novel flavors.

Even the best chefs build flavor profiles with only two or three ingredients at a time. After sifting through one quintillion ingredient combinations, Chef Watson considers thousands simultaneously. As a cognitive system, it learns from human expertise and extends what people can do on their own. Chef Watson read 10,000 recipes from the chefs at Bon Appétit to understand how ingredients are used in cuisines and dishes and, for example, what makes a soup different from a burrito. Then, it added an understanding of food chemistry and the psychology of people’s taste likes and dislikes. With as little as one user-selected ingredient, Chef Watson can suggest a totally unique flavor profile, measurements, and preparation steps for a dish.

Florian Pinel is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the IBM Watson Group. He received a M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from Ecole Centrale de Paris in France, and a Culinary Arts diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. Before joining the Watson Group, Florian worked at the IBM Watson Research Center for fifteen years, focusing on Business Process Management, IT Services Management, and Software as a Service. He's currently the lead engineer for IBM Chef Watson (www.ibmchefwatson.com), an application that uses machine learning and natural language processing to demonstrate computational creativity and suggest original recipe ideas. He also writes a blog about Eastern European cuisine, Food Perestroika (www.foodperestroika.com).

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