The dust has settled and another SXSW is in the books. If you’ve been following along along, you may have known that I presented this year with Will Turnage something called, “My Robotic Kitchen Planned this Dinner Party.” The talk outlined how technology in the kitchen needs to be used to analyze the holistic cooking experience rather than just focusing in isolation on a few discrete tasks. We had a great turnout and a receptive crowd, and you can listen to a full audio recording of the talk and see the slides embedded below from Slideshare.
In the talk, we demoed a rough prototype of a dinner planning app we built as a proof of concept. The app empowers a dinner party planner to customize, scale, and shop for a menu, then organize all of the required steps into one master to-do list. The central inspiration for what Will and I created is essentially a digitized version of the professional chef’s mind, where flexibility and adaptation are the hallmarks of the cooking approach…
We think that this approach represents a different way of looking at cooking instruction from what you typically find out there today. For instance, anyone can easily discover 3 recipes on any recipe site, but each of those recipes still exist in their own silo. The roast chicken recipe has no idea its being cooked with the roasted brussels sprouts and a side and apple pie for dessert. You still need to make your own mental leap to unify the steps of these dishes into one single to-do list and have a meal that’s efficiently prepared and well timed. Someone who’s an experienced cook or professional chef naturally knows how to get all three of these things onto the table with minimal drama, but for most people, this kind of thing presents a challenge. Herein lies one of the gaps in showing you how to plan and execute a dinner party and we think there’s real value in figuring this and many other problems out with technology.
There’s much more to be done, and the playing field is wide open for where this can go. At the end of the day, I believe that great things happen when you cook for those you care about. Knowing that, I wish everyone could cook more for the people in their lives and have the same great experience I’ve had doing the same. To the extent that I can help lower the barriers to cooking through technology, content, and inspiration, I will, and this is just the start.
Take a look/listen to the presentation and let me know what you think. Would this approach be valuable to you? Leave us a note in the comments.
Presentation photos by Steph Goralnick