What does the future recipe book look like?
Year: 2021 - present
Collab w/ Jennu Hu, Yifu Liu, Ferdinand Kohle
Skills/contribution: concept generation, UX design, programming language design, research, future foresight
Awards: Finalist - Distributed Design Future Thinking Award
#food programming #environment #future of food

In this project, I contributed my expertise in future forecasting and computer science to create a programming language for the future of more sustainable and healthy cooking. I worked closely with our small team of interaction designers and scientists.

Most of this project cannot be shared publicly at this time, so please reach out if you're interested in finding out more about the future of Meal Engine (see contact page).

problem / mission
Currently, finding a recipe that is healthy, sustainable, and easy to make fo the individual person is extremely difficult. First you go online to search for what you want to cook, then you find it is in imperial units rather than metric, it contains ingredients you cannot eat, and most of the text is exposition rather than instruction.

This is a problem, as accessibility to cooking is a key indicator of a nation’s health. Cooking at home makes you physically and mentally healthier, and has the potential to be much more sustainable in the long run.

Therefore, we made it the goal of Meal Engine to provide a way of quickly and find, modify and cook recipes that fit the needs of the user, all in one package.

food programming with “EGlang”
To solve the problem of automatically adapting a recipe to a user’s needs, I began by creating a backend language, that would allow complex and intutitive user interaction to take place. I called it EGlang (Enhanced Gastronomy Language), based upon object-oriented and visual programming language logic
With EGlang, the entire complexity of cooking could be distilled down to just 3 classes: HEAT, SHAPE and FLAVOUR.

This was essentially a wireframe for how the computer and eventually user would interpret complex food recipes in a new efficient way.

I created this language based upon similar logic to classes in C++ that I was already familiar with. This was a prototype for the UX that I would go on to help create with my teammates.

user interface
In creating a user interface, we relied on “flows” that would represent a recipe, in a programmatic way, allowing quick substitution of ingredients when needed.

Initially we were constrained to the interface of a tablet device, so the layout was designed to be familiar and intuitive on the fluid plane of a digital screen.

In the future, the system would be adaptable to almost any other hardware interface, as the logic is easily parsed for both humans and computers.

summary (contact for more details)
The project is ongoing as we transition into making it into a consumer product. The current system integrates with AI and food databases for flavour pairings, sustainability data and e-commerce, with more being experimented with.

Parts of this process cannot be shared publicly at this time, so please reach out if you’re curious for more details.

b a c k t o t o p