Dining Goes Digital With a Mash-Up of IBM’s Watson and Bon Appetit

The food magazine and supercomputer team up to collaborate with chefs on new dishes and flavors.

watson bon appetitIBM’s Watson supercomputer and food magazine Bon Appetit have joined forces to create an app — “Chef Watson with Bon Appetit,” currently in beta — that finds new ways to mix and match foods based on 9,000 Bon Appetit recipes. Essentially, Watson consumed the recipe data and can now manipulate it into new flavors and concoctions.

“To come up with these creatively crafted cuisines, Watson uses Bon Appetit’s insights about ingredient pairings, cooking styles, and dishes and then mixes that with food chemistry, the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, and regional and ethnic tastes,” reports CNET. “The idea is to help people discover new and flavorful recipes that are fine-tuned to make taste buds happy.”

Something like fennel-spiced baby back pork with a tangy apple-mustard sauce. Good grief. Sounds delish.

It’s a really creative way to bring together technology, IBM’s brand, and a topic that people feel passionate and positive about — eating.

The idea got its start when IBM teamed up with the Institute of Culinary Education at SXSW, debuting its “cognitive cooking collaboration” that resulted in some new food truck dishes and a sit-down dinner.

The thinking there as in the Bon Appetit app is not to replace the hands-on elements of cooking, but rather to help cooks generate new plates. For someone who genuinely enjoys this sort of thing, it could very well open up new gastronomical worlds that a chef hadn’t even thought of before.

Slate goes into a lot more detail about the ways in which Watson crunches the data to spit out its culinary goodness. But the long and short of it is this is a pretty nifty idea that promises to create a lot of excitement among Bon Appetit readers and draw in a brand new group of IBM fans that may not have given the computer company much thought previously.

And it’s opening up doors with the media too. Below, here are IBM’s Steve Abrams and Bon Appetit’s Adam Rapoport talking up the app on Morning Joe.