Big Data is entering the kitchen, forging novel recipes and helping reduce food waste.

Consumers can now rely upon Chef Watson to help ‘wow’ their dinner party guests with unique creations, and clear out their fridges and pantries by rustling up exotic dishes. Big Data is proving to be evermore pervasive and versatile by the day.

So, fancy a beef burrito accented with chocolate and edamame? How about a Vietnamese apple kebab?

IBM’s Watson is a supercomputer which entered the public spotlight when it won jeopardy in 2011, taking home the $1 million prize. One of Watson’s most distinct features is its ability carry out natural language processing. In other words, Watson is able to process unstructured data and extract information from passages of written text in a variety of languages.

IBM Watson researchers have partnered up with Bon Appetit magazine to release the Chef Watson cloud portal. Upon entering inputs, such as ingredients, type of food, and style, users are presented with a list comprising a range of different dish permutations.

In addition to scanning thousands of recipes online, in order to build a relationship map of ingredients, quantities and preparation techniques, Chef Watson has been programmed to understand ‘hedonic psychophysics’.

In short, the employed algorithms are able to determine the roles played by the various ingredients in dishes based on their chemical compositions and versatilities. This framework means that Chef Watson is able to predict which ingredient combinations will resonate well with the average consumer’s palate. In addition, users are able to modify recipes to better suit their tastes by choosing from a list of psychophysically similar ingredients.

So what do you think of replacing clam juice with dashi?

The advent of Chef Watson has significant implications for reducing food waste. Consumers around the world will no longer have to scratch their heads upon open the fridge and discovering they have nothing but cabbage, garlic, scallions, mayonnaise and flour. As the Internet of Things continues to integrate into everyday life, Chef Watson can cooperate with smart fridges to minimize the amount of food thrown in the bin.

Who knows, we may soon find ourselves in a restaurant, being shown to our table by a robot waiter, presented with a menu consisting of dishes conceived by Chef Watson, and served meals prepared entirely by machines.