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Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson: Recipes for Innovation from IBM & the Institute of Culinary Education Hardcover – April 14, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The new book will help us think about ingredients in ways never imagined before. " - Food & Wine

"But this is far from an ordinary cookbook. " - Business Insider

"It's some good entertaining, and educational, reading for anyone who is curious about the intersection of food and science. " - Yahoo! Food

"The cookbook contains dishes that make no sense intellectually, but through Watson's flavor pairing knowledge and ICE chefs' culinary acumen, come together in surprisingly delicious and delightful ways. " - ABC News

"The end result: dishes that are equal parts unexpected, intricate, and delicious. " - Refinery29

"The resulting dishes are surprisingly innovative, taste superb. " - FOX News

"The recipe came together nicely, and the panel of taste testers (my family) liked the combination of crunchy nuts and sweet pear...overall I'd give a strong review to a chef who'll never have the pleasure of tasting one of his own creations." - MIT Technology Review

"Once again‚ though‚ Watson‚ with help from his human interpreters‚ turned out something quite impressive: an unexpected blend of flavors that wasn't in the least bit challenging. And that is evidenced by the fact that my taste testers demolished the entire batch of pastries in two days." - Tech Flags

"These colorful pages feature more than 65 original recipes exploding with irresistible new flavors." - Edible Allegheny

"From Chef Watson's first recipe ever, the Spanish almond crescent; to Portuguese lobster roll; grilled corn and nectarine salad with toasted spice vinaigrette; and Dominican coconut cake, Watson introduces home cooks and professional chefs to a whole new world of culinary possibilities." - Epicurus.com

About the Author

IBM Watson represents a new era of computing in which third party apps and systems will interact with human users more naturally, augment our knowledge with Big Data insights, and learn to improve how they assist us. Fueled by innovation from a mission to transform industries and professions, Watson is uniquely positioned at the forefront of the new era of computing, evidenced by an unmatched demonstration of what cognitive systems can bring to transform decision-making. IBM is delivering a range of cloud-based products and services to clients in industries such as banking, healthcare, insurance, retail and education.



The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) is one of the largest and most diverse culinary schools in the world. Established in 1975, ICE offers award-winning 8 to 13 month career training programs in Culinary Arts, Pastry & Baking Arts, Culinary Management and Hospitality Management – with more than 11,000 graduates and successful alumni who are leaders in the industry. ICE offers continuing education for professional development, hosts more than 600 special events, and has one of the world's largest recreational cooking, baking and wine programs with more than 25,000 students annually. In 2015, marking the school's 40th anniversary, ICE will move to a new, transformative 74,000 sq. ft. facility at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan, designed for inspiration, creativity and community. Visit us at ice.edu or join us @iceculinary to Find your culinary voice™.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149262571X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492625711
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting menus and ingredient combinations, but practically all recipes will take either a full day or multiple days to prepare. Unless you are just interested in food theory, or have ample time on your hands and are willing to go invest in strange cooking instruments for preparation of some of the stranger dishes, would suggest buying something else if the intent is to use the recipes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is great for people who love to cook and have the time to cook. It's not a book for beginners like me. For example, I picked a recipe that required ginger. I ended up adding too much ginger but I think an experienced cook would know I was adding too much ginger to the food. I haven't given up on this book and will try other food but you have to be patient and have more than an hour to cook the foods. Also, the foods and drinks that are in this book might become expensive.

Pros: Fun and mysterious foods.

Cons: Take a long time to prepare the foods. Written for more experienced cooks.
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Format: Hardcover
I had a preview version of this book from one of the IBM events I have attended a few months ago. This is a pretty standard cookbook in its format but is a very interesting conversation piece. Recipes were created by the IBM Watson "Cognitive" computer and curated by chefs at ICE. They basically go for variations on typical dishes with a dash or substitution of ingredients you would not necessary expect.

If you are an IT professional, a chef, or a philosopher this book can be a nice conversation piece about the future of machine learning over a somewhat atypical set of dinner dishes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think overall the book is great. The recipes are really interesting, the premise of the book is very clever, and I enjoyed reading through it. I'm really glad I bought it. The downside: most of the recipes require expensive equipment (e.g. sous vide) or ingredients that I don't have easy access to. It also requires some advanced techniques and some serious time investment (hours/days). This book was way out of my league. I do a ton of cooking, almost exclusively from scratch, and not just easy things like meatloaf. Still there were only a couple recipes I could consider attempting. The description: "You don't have to be a culinary genius to be a great cook" is pretty misleading. It's true that you can be a great cook without culinary genius, but this book requires you to be a culinary expert. Still enjoyed reading it though.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okay so first and foremost let's clarify, as a conversation piece and advancement of computer's understanding of intangible human experiences, this is fantastic. However, as a cookbook this is rubbish. It falls victim to the standard cookbook syndrome, only contains recipes that you may oogle on the menu of a single Michelin star restaurant but won't actually order because there is always one item that is better, more appealing, where your mouth waters in a Pavlovian fashion.
Albeit, this cookbook never insinuates it is a simple 5-ingredient book, it is just too far-fetched from home cooking. 80% of the ingredients are moderately reasonable items to stock your pantry with, but the remaining 20% are the ingredients you know you will never ever use again and have to track down in the far depths of the internet and local markets.
Overall, how this book was created is far more fascinating than any of the contents as all sense of practicality was thrown out the window but I seriously recommend this if you are purchasing it for the sake of the story behind it and as a conversation starter. If you want a good cookbook for the recipes and context of why everything in the recipes make sense, just buy the ATK book.
Just to give a bit on context as everything is relative, I am not a formally trained chef/cook but I am certainly quite comfortable in the kitchen (cooking, baking, coffees, and cocktails) even with larger and more elaborate meals.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really interesting book to read. Food / flavor combinations are really interesting. However, this book is really designed at the "chef" level. These are not your home, 30 minute meal prep recipes. Be prepared for some complex culinary work and a bit of a search for ingredients.
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Format: Hardcover
These days, it seems like every celebrity comes out with a cookbook at some point, and IBM's Watson supercomputer is no exception. The newly released Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson includes 65 recipes, developed with the help of what's billed as "the world’s first cognitive cooking system", and is the result of a three-year collaboration between IBM Research and chefs at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). At first the thought of eating food developed by a computer was not appetizing, but the chefs at the ICE drew me in and I picked up the book.

Central to the concept was the concept of food pairings. The book has some entertaining reading about the development of Computer Watson into a real chef. Watson looks at chemicals and not ingredients. Watson looks at how the actual chemicals control taste and how one food pairs with another. For example, a main taste chemical of tomatoes is shared with strawberries (who knew?), so it's entirely possible to make bruschetta with strawberries. By analyzing these pairings, Chef Watson came up with things like plum pancetta cider. Other recipes include Spanish Almond Crescent, Creole Shrimp-Lamb Dumplings, Italian-Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Hoof-and-Honey Ale. It was a fascinating read and surprisingly the food is really good. I had a great time trying out the unusual recipes.

Supposedly the dishes were produced by Watson's ability to extract facts from millions of pages of literature and draw relationships between them. This allowed the computer to produce a database of recipes, dish types, cooking styles, human psychology, and taste preferences, along with feedback and oversight from chefs and diners, and from that, to create new dishes.
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