Ghost Chef is a generative conversational tool for the kitchen that allows people to collaborate with a digital version of a chef and explore new and unexpected combinations and recipes. Each 'ghost chef' is a small and curated 'intelligence' based on a single chef's identity, point of view, ingredients and combinations.
Ghost chef is a project that emerged from a 6 months residency in the food & tech accelerator Bits x Bites , helping them to look into opportunities and implications of Artificial Intelligence in the future of the kitchen. It was the developed as part of YEAST together with Lorenzo Romagnoli.
Most future visions of the kitchen tend to show cooking as an issue to solve and use intelligence as a way to automate task and bring us as far from cooking as possible. While there are many machines that already help automate and simplify the act of cooking, just a few tools are there to support the thought process of deciding what to cook and why.
How might we create a tool that would support memory, estimations and complex task of a professional or home chef? How can we enhance creativity in the kitchen beyond accessing random recipe generators? How might we create a tool to learn and evolve the knowledge of a chef? And what if we could use that to help others?
We ran experiments with 5 chefs around the world to act as if they were an artificial intelligence in software. In shared docs sessions, each of them would suggest and autocomplete recipes, food combinations and tips for cooking on based on a user's input. Out of this prototype, we created a small and curated dataset of ideas and combinations based on each of them.
We prototyped a new tool that we called Ghost Chef, a generative text editor that allows you to choose between a set of 'non-generic' intelligences based on real chefs to help you find and write new recipes and food combinations.
Ghost chef is a tool to co-write with a 'machine'. One can start typing and let the ghost-chef autocomplete and suggest combinations, switch between different ghost chefs to see how each of their digital culinary identity might change the suggestions.
With Ghost chef, we aimed at creating a tool based on 'small and curated' data, a more transparent and subtle intelligent helper, that surfaces parameters to help you control and understand better something 'smart'.