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Find out what happened when ChatGPT cooked dinner for TOM PARKER BOWLES

by Elijah
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Find out what happened when ChatGPT cooked dinner for TOM PARKER BOWLES

As a professional chef, I haven’t yet had much reason to engage with the big AI scare.

Can I see Wall-E at the grills, flipping sirloins? No. Can I imagine a near future in which I hand a guinea fowl to a robot-chef powered by artificial intelligence and receive an impeccably plucked and eviscerated carcass in my section? Negative, chef.

However, I suppose AI could generate completely original dish ideas, even if a human chef is still needed to execute them. After all, what he lacks in palate he must surely make up for by having most of every published chef’s work at his fingertips.

I’m told the way to make the free ChatGPT AI tool work for you is to ask it the right question. In an attempt to think of something that will really impress Tom, I start with: “Okay, Chef.” Give me a custom-made dish, never made before.

The AI ​​starts out timid and rather sickly: ice cream tacos, sweet chocolate tarts. It seems to be aimed at the experimental teen market.

He pushed him. More extravagant! Come on! Think big!’ Now it’s starting to get adventurous (although still more sugar-based), but the results are often alarming creations of exotic meats with sweets. An example of this: kangaroo cassoulet with bacon and bubble gum. (Read on to find out what Tom thought of that idea.)

The results are alarming creations of exotic meats with sweets

I persist. ChatGPT now seems to have hit upon the formula of uniting cuisines and then adding something it knows will be a controversial ingredient: specializing in meats, seafood and exotic sweets.

At this point in the exercise, I feel like I’m dealing with an overcaffeinated Ainsley Harriott: ‘Behold and delight in the serenade of chai chocolate scallops!’ declares the GPT chef.

‘A creation that promises an elegant dance with an exotic flavor that captivates the senses!’ Everything seems less MasterChef, more bushtucker test.

I realize that what I should do (for the sake of my human brothers and sisters in the kitchen) is to dismiss Chef GPT’s efforts out of hand. ‘Okay, everyone. There is no danger of AI taking over this sector of the service industry. The uprising is over, we won. Nothing to see here.’

But part of me wants to give this bionic new kid a chance, so I persevere and ultimately settle on three dishes that, I very much hope, with a few tweaks and substitutions, will impress my critic.

Welcome, Mr. Parker Bowles, to Robo House, the world’s first cyber dining club.

the recipes

Watermelon Wasabi Wonton Wonders

AI said Combine diced watermelon and wasabi cream cheese, wrap the mixture in delicate wonton wrappers, and fry until golden brown to perfection. Serve with a drizzle of honey-soy reduction and garnish with cilantro microgreens. This fusion of heat, sweetness and crunch creates a flavor sensation that dances on your palate.

Alasdair said I found that it was very difficult to get the flavor of the watermelon when frying it with wasabi cream cheese. Instead, I cooked the fruit in the honey-soy reduction to achieve a subtle but clearer presence among those dominant flavors.

Pork belly with maple, miso, mango, tango

AI said Marinate pork belly in a fusion of maple syrup and miso, slow roast to perfection, and serve on a bed of coconut-infused quinoa. Top each slice with fresh mango salsa and finish with a ginger-lime reduction. This bold dance of sweet, salty and tropical notes promises a great flavor show on your palate.

Alasdair said I was sure it would be palatable if interpreted the right way, as all the flavors add up. I slowly cooked the belly in miso for ten hours and then dried the skin for an extra crispy crunch. I put mango salsa between the belly and the skin almost like a millefeuille and added maple glazed rainbow carrots.

Tango tiramisu with turmeric

AI said Layer turmeric-spiced sponge cake and chai-infused mascarpone, creating a vibrant tiramisu. Garnish with a sprinkle of crushed pistachios and then drizzle with a chai caramel reduction. This unique fusion of Italian and Indian flavors promises a dance of warmth and richness in every heavenly bite.

Alasdair said I was intrigued by this fusion of Italian and Indian and wanted to see how the crazy colors collided. So I changed the flavor instructions, putting turmeric in the mascarpone and chai in the base, and pistachio where chocolate would normally be in the Italian classic.

Tom’s Verdict

“In the area where gastronomy meets the avant-garde, a new culinary luminary has emerged that invites us to participate in an expedition through unexplored territories of virtual flavor.” Yes I know. It’s not Nabokov. And he sure isn’t modest either. But that’s what you get when you ask ChatGPT, the infamous “AI language model,” to write you an introduction to an article about a real-life chef, Alasdair Gill, asking the same AI program to create a “fully customized menu” that has never been seen before. Welcome, dear reader, to the culinary metaverse.

So basically, I hear you cry, Gill is asking a computer program to go through every recipe on the Internet, select a few without proper accreditation, mash them all up, and come up with something we actually want to eat?

On the contrary, growls my brilliant cyberchef friend.

“The ingenious fusion of cutting-edge technology and epicurean creativity takes place in the realm of ChatGPT,” he continues, somewhat irritated, “where each recipe is not simply a set of instructions but a culinary work, a testament to the machine’s ability to synthesize diverse influences into a harmonious gastronomic composition.’

Oh. Good. Because when computers start to be smarter than humans, it always ends very well. Like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the terminator. And Yul Brynner in Westworld and, well, everyone in The Matrix.

But until my MacBook starts deboning quail, sipping cooking brandy, and shouting “Service!”, I won’t be suffering too many sleepless nights.

Although I suppose small bits can become huge bytes.

But Gill, an exceptionally talented young chef who trained at The River Cafe, is the perfect flesh-and-blood Virgil to guide me through this digital, and often completely deranged, Divine Comedy.

Gill actually uses ChatGPT, not for inspiration, but to create an instant shopping list when you enter your own recipes, “which is actually very useful.” However, this is different. “I started by asking ChatGPT for personalized, totally unique recipes,” Gill says with a smile as we sit in her west London kitchen.

“But then I started putting pressure on him.” The result? Enter ‘the carnival cassoulet of cosmic sweets!’ This recipe, according to ChatGPT, “incorporates pieces of bubblegum-infused bacon into a slow-cooked cassoulet with exotic meats like kangaroo and alligator, served on a cloud of bubblegum-scented cotton candy.”

It is, our ever-serious AI scribe notes, with an unusual understatement, “an unconventional dish” with a “carnival of flavors that takes your taste buds on a wild ride.” A wild ride straight to the bathroom.

It also evokes a few other savory crackers: the ‘coconut curry croissant carnival’ (A AI loves an alliteration), where a completely innocent croissant is filled with, yes, you guessed it, red curry paste-infused chocolate ganache Thai. And a ‘chai-chocolate scallop serenade’ where vile things are done to blameless scallops, and we are promised an ‘elegant dance of exotic flavors that captivates the senses.’ Not so much the wildest shores of gastronomy as the cliffs of a culinary cliché gone mad.

Fortunately, Gill has mercy. “I didn’t want to put you through a psychedelic test,” she says. “So I picked three AI recipes that are a little less crazy.”

Watermelon Wasabi Wonton Wonders

This is where diced watermelon and wasabi cream cheese are wrapped in wonton wrappers and lightly fried to a perfect golden brown. It may not be a “flavor sensation that dances on your palate,” but it’s actually completely respectable, the kind of delicate canapé dreamed up by high-end caterers for trendy parties where no one eats. The wonton shell is crispy and the fresh, wasabi-scented filling is greatly improved by the substitution of goat cheese.

Pork belly with maple, miso, mango, tango

The pork is marinated in a “fusion of maple syrup and miso” before being “slow roasted to perfection” and “topped” with fresh mango salsa. This “bold dance of sweet, salty and tropical notes promises a great flavor spectacle on the palate.” Hmm.

Not exactly, but once Gill has tweaked and improved, the dish is perfectly edible. I’ve eaten much worse in restaurants that should know much better.

Tango tiramisu with turmeric

This “unique fusion of Italian and Indian flavors that promises a dance of warmth and richness in every heavenly bite” sounds like hell. But it’s easily the best of them all. The chai flavor is mild but noticeable, and the turmeric adds its idiosyncratic yellow warmth to the mascarpone. A topping of crushed pistachios provides a welcome crunch. It’s also attractive. Even Gill likes this one: “With a little work, this could be really cool.”

And that’s the trick. AI and ChatGPT can track millions of recipes in moments. But his own creations – a kind of strange morsel, Frankenstein’s monster – lack context, cultural knowledge, nuance, experience and taste.

In short, that important human touch. Because it’s not the computer program that makes them fun, but the skill of Alasdair Gill. The rise of machines may be imminent. But for now we live to cook another day.

Image editor: Stephanie Belingard.

Grooming: Nadira V Persaud using Lab Series

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