IBM’s Watson Has Turned Chef and Launched a Cooking App

Check out the tamarind cabbage slaw that Fast Company made from Watson's recipe suggestion.

Watson, the artificial intelligence created by IBM, has added more to his resume than just beating contestants on Jeopardy. Watson is now a master chef after “learning” thousands of recipes from Bon Appétit, and creating endless unique recipes via its new Chef Watson smartphone app. The tecnology originally premiered at this year's SXSW festival. Watson, to demonstrate its recently-acquired cooking prowess, has also come out with a BBQ sauce, specifically a Bengali Butternut BBQ Sauce made with squash, white wine, dates, Thai chilies, and tamarind. Most of almost-endless recipes offered on the Chef Watson’s app are unique combinations of flavors that make you go, “huh, I never thought about that,” like a Spanish paella mixed with an Indian curry.

“We remix recipes, substitute things, do all kinds of other modifications and generate millions of new ideas for recipes," Lav Varshney, a computer scientist at IBM told NPR. "The second step is to take those millions of ideas and find the best ones. To do that we try to predict what humans will find flavorful, based on some basic ideas from chemistry and psychology."

So how does the app work? Chef Watson asks you for ingredients you would like to use, the type of dish you would like to make (chowder? Sandwich? Something grilled?), and the styles you would like to try (Italian? Asian Fusion? Provencal?). Then Watson will pull up a list of 100 recipes for you, listed in order from “classic” to “experimental” with step-by-step instructions.

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi