Date: March 8, 2012

Author: mikelee

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SXSW: My Robotic Kitchen

If you’re in town or following along on Twitter the mayhem that is SXSWi, check out Will Turnage (Ratio, Bread Baking Basics) and I speak on Friday at 3:30 CST on the role of technology in the kitchen. Our dual presentation is called, “My Robotic Kitchen Planned This Dinner Party,” and you can track the conversation with the #SXcooking hashtag.

Over the years, we’ve gotten a fortune of riches from dinner parties and we think they’re straight up magic for bringing people together. Where some see a pile of groceries as simply food, we see them as the raw materials for community and great times. If you believe this, you’d think everyone should be throwing dinner parties more often. We know that’s not the case, and Will and I dissect what we think stands in people’s way: knowledge, organization, and effort. These are things that technology can solve, which is how Will and I came to meet and collaborate on this topic.

A big theme of what we cover is the notion that kitchen gadgets and today’s recipes engines don’t solve for the holistic experience of putting on a dinner party. They solve certain problems related to cooking (e.g., Slap Chop: if you can slap, you can chop) but they don’t really teach you how to think like a chef. We’re not advocating everyone needs to become a real chef to have a great party, but we think that there are smart things a home cook can take away from how a chef works that can help anyone. For instance, knowing how to multi-task multiple recipes into one single to-do list, how to approach improvisation in the kitchen, and understanding basic recipe structures instead of rote recipe learning.

All of this we cover in our talk, and I’ll post an update afterward with the slides what we learned from the crowd. Stay tuned for more, and come say hi to us if your’re down here in Austin.

Photo by Steph Goralnick