Take one big, bad, legendary computer, a social network and a team of adventurous chefs, then mix them up inside a food truck. Serve up the results to a line of curious, hungry festival-goers eager to sample the world’s first man-machine fusion food.
It's called "cognitive cooking" and here is how it works: Twitter users employing the hashtag #ibmfoodtruck and voters on IBM's website pick a familiar dish like kebabs or fish and chips. Then IBM's Watson supercomputer (best known to non-techies for its appearance on the TV show "Jeopardy") creates a long list of eight or more ingredients based upon a chemical analysis of their flavor compounds. Finally, the dish is conceived, prepared and served from a food truck by a team of cooks co-led by Michael Laiskonis and James Briscione of New York City's Institute of Culinary Education.
Chelsea Wheeler is a 10-year-old girl with a passion and a plan.
"I want to have a diner," she says, sitting on her bed in her parents' house in Oxford, Connecticut.
"I'd like to make things that people think are yummy healthier, less fatty, and make it like they're being cooked for the Queen."
Chelsea loves helping her parents, Chris and Linda, prepare food for the whole family. They say she spends much of her free time watching the Food Network looking out for new recipes.
But Chelsea cannot taste the food she makes. She can eat almost no food at all. She suffers from a rare disease that has caused her intestine to fail irreversibly.
All Michael Randolph needs right now is a pair of tweezers. The small implement is a far cry from the firepower the former Marine used to pack, but he needs them to put the shredded cabbage finish on his elegant canapé of duck foie gras on toasted brioche with Dijon vinaigrette.
“Can I borrow your tweezers real quick, like for four minutes?” Randolph, a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, asks a colleague across the way from his prep station.
Time is of the essence. A full slate of lunch reservations is about to fill the dining room and Randolph has only few minutes to get his creations to the front of the kitchen. They will be the first bite eager diners take before the start of their three-course meal.
“I never really thought I’d be using tweezers in the kitchen,” blurts out Randolph, borrowed tweezers now in hand, as he delicately sets the last few cabbage shreds on the nickel-sized starters. Eight years ago, The Bocuse Restaurant’s kitchen was probably the last place he thought he’d wind up.
Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and now Food & Wine; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival. Follow him on Twitter @OzerskyTV.
Chefs are not, for the most part, happy people. Let's get that out of the way. They work long hours, they have hardly any home lives to speak of and they spend their whole day being mad at people who hate them right back.
It's a rough job. But it doesn't make it any easier when diners (in their minds, anyway) go out of their way to make them miserable. And while there are many ways diners can make chefs hate them, these five are surely near the top of the list.
Editor's note: Amelia Zatik Sawyer blogs at ChefsWidow.com and runs #teamsawyer with her husband, chef Jonathon Sawyer, their two children, plenty of animals and a slew of restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio. She'd like to clear up a few myths about dating - and marrying - a chef.
When most people learn that I am married to a chef, they automatically assume that I eat well and spend my nights alone. This is almost accurate.
When The Chef is home, he has a special talent of taking half-eaten food and turning it into a masterpiece. Due to his enormous work schedule, I only get to experience the beauty of his talent once a month.
Some also assume chefs are notorious cheaters, binge drinkers, or worse. While I have met a few chefs who have "festival girlfriends" and know more than my fair share of partying cooks, the reality of working in a real kitchen weeds out this behavior pretty quickly. Working 90-hour weeks with a hangover doesn’t cut it in a kitchen.
Editor's Note: Greg Drescher is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at The Culinary Institute of America. Drescher is also an inductee of the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. He is a speaker at the Menus of Change summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from June 10-12. The conference is hosted by The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition.
If there’s one group of people who are best positioned to reshape America’s appetites, it’s chefs.
At The Culinary Institute of America, we educate the next generation of the nation’s culinary leaders about the techniques of their craft and the principles of flavor.
Increasingly though, our students must understand that, to be successful, they must also think about the health and wellness of their patrons - and that buzzword sustainability.
The food industry is changing across many dimensions, and chefs and culinary professionals must keep pace.
Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Jason Bond is the chef at Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @jwadebond.
The day started with the Boston Marathon and a state holiday. It ended in tragedy and left residents, like me, with so many unanswered questions.
Why would someone attack an event that was about celebration, one where many of the thousands of participants were raising money for over two thousand charities? Why would they use such a ferocious method as bombs packed with ball bearings and nails?
In the span of 15 seconds, three people lost their lives. Hundreds of others, from the injured and their families to those who witnessed the blast firsthand, were cruelly ripped from the lives they'd always known and forced into a darker view of the world. The residents of Boston were shocked, sickened and even pissed off.
Most of us felt helpless, but wanted to be of use. The city and its people quickly mobilized to help each other. Boston is tight and takes care of its own.
We realized that we each help by doing what we do; medics medicate, journalists report, the police protect. As a restaurateur I did what I do, which is care for people and provide sustenance and healing.
Alessandra Bulow (@abulow on Twitter) is Food & Wine's associate digital editor.
If foraging for shamrocks and downing marshmallow-filled cereal endorsed by a cartoon leprechaun hasn’t brought you the luck of the Irish by now, then it may be time to rethink your strategy on St. Patrick’s Day. From traditional dishes like noodles that symbolize longevity to a simple ham sandwich, superstitious chefs share their picks for good fortune.
This year, the Southern Foodways Alliance celebrates women, work, and food. Today's subject is Karen Barker, who was happily co-proprietor and pastry chef of the Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina (1986–2012). Now, happily, she is not.
I grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, where there was a very strong corner-bakery culture but little actual home baking. People tended to purchase their breads and desserts rather than produce them out of cramped urban kitchens.
I was lucky that my maternal grandmother, an exception to this rule, lived upstairs. She was a Russian immigrant who barely spoke English, had no written recipes, and never used standardized measures. Bubby Fanny turned out an amazing array of Eastern European specialties and taught me that homemade sweets were a tribute to one's family and always included the ingredients of time and love.