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There's An App For That...

"People Watching" is a classic old time killing mechanism. Old men would do it while the wives shopped. Younger men would do it while the wives shopped. It never failed that you could leave with a few good tales of the most recent mullet spotting.. or any number of clothing/bodily fails that I am not up to speak about in my current condition.

Now I have replaced "People Watching" with "App Hunting" and there has been no shortage of giggles. Just go to your favorite browser (or app store for more limited results) and type in a funny phrase and "APP" on the end... I think coal mining helped build this nation, but would not really expect there to be many Apps.... Well, think again LoL.

Then I realized that these are businesses on their own. But many businesses and industries are figuring out ways to make apps, bots and drones do work. And why not, no labor laws, no taxes, no wages, so many pro-business reasons to really drive this idea. So, me being me I wanted to know what could a bot/app/drone do as well as me, given the book training and so forth.

A lot really. There are machines that can cook burgers as well as any fast food cook can. There is a new "Robo-Chef" that you can program to cook your favorite dishes. I guess you label all the stock in bar/QR coded jars and the machine just goes to town. Breaking down fish is muscle memory - that's how those ladies in the markets in Asia are smokingly fast. Anything that is muscle memory can be trained I would think.

Well now I am getting as bad as my wife with sniffles and Google, M.D. (She will have cold hands and a sniffle and in 20 minutes have African pig flu and be updating her will). But now I am looking at the influences that these bots could have on the industry. Consistency would be a non issue. Forgetting to order stock - never again... program the computers. Waste from pilferage would disappear, over production would be reduced to reasonable, controllable numbers.

But then it hit me. A machine, at least not yet, cannot feel. I don't mean with fingers - but with the heart. And that is where chefs cook from. Recipes are not created by algorithms, they are created with passion and emotion. Flavor combinations are not about values assigned to certain proteins that would fit well to create a perfect data stream. Memories and emotions are what drive us to combine, apply heat, cold and textures.

All the qualities that I hate to see Hollywood overhype about chefs and how eccentric we are turn out to be the very ones that create a bubble around us in this ever expanding automation of industry. Until they can create a stream of 1s and 0s that places the user on the beaches of Fiji or New Caledonia under the stars having fish plucked from the water in front of you hours ago. What's the formula for that?

I look back on my life of food - what memories certain foods bring to the front of my mind; what significant events fill my heart with a warm smile? What other "1st" are connected to. That makes me feel great for 2 reasons. 1. It reminds me once again why have made this career choice without any regrets. And 2. it lets me know that what I don't have to worry to much about being replaced by robots or drones. Not being I am amazing. Or some super talented chef. I cannot be replaced because I am human - and there is no app for that.

Chef Adam Scott for Dalstrong



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