Among the most significant technological advances of the last few decade, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, have the potential to revolutionize the restaurant industry. Already automation is making its way into fast food kitchens, where it’s taking on repetitive tasks such as flipping burgers and working the fry station.
AI, the smart technology that powers robocalls and helps forecasting models to predict the weather, may also soon play a role in the food service industry, not just by taking on simple tasks but also by dealing with higher order responsibilities like ordering food and writing menus.
OpenAI, a San Francisco-based software company that develops and deploys artificial general intelligence (AGI), recently put its GPT-3 software to the test. GPT-3 is a “third generation,” deep learning language model that draws upon information it finds anywhere on the internet to develop answers to user queries.
OpenAI put GPT-3 to the test by asking it to develop recipes based on simple language requests like “beef bourguignon” and “Mexican lasagna.” The recipes GPT-3 compiled were then prepared and evaluated by a group of volunteers. Well-known recipes developed by the likes of Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck, and Rachael Ray served as benchmarks for the evaluators.
Though GPT-3 produced some interesting results, its recipes, with one exception, were not scored as high as those developed by human chefs.
Nonetheless, the study illustrated AI’s potential to take over “higher order” tasks like menu development and recipe creation. Thus the day might not be very far off when the “product development chef” at a restaurant chain is actually a piece of AI software.
For the full report on OpenAI’s “AI vs. Famous Chef Recipes” culinary challenge, go to refluxgate.com/ai-vs-famous-chef-recipes.
Winter is a season during which restaurants have traditionally promoted game dinners. This year, given the unique circumstances under which we are all living our lives, those sorts of events aren’t easy to put together.
Delaney’s Market has developed a strategy by which the Log Cabin-Delaney Group can deliver a socially-distanced game dinner experience.
Delaney’s Market locations will be featuring a “Game Dinner at Home” this month. The four-course meal includes bison meatballs, a venison hunter’s stew, a wild pheasant turnover, and a wildberry cobbler with whipped cream.
Each take-home package is designed to serve two, and Delaney’s Market is providing a cooking video to help those receiving the package finish the meal preparation.
Contact one of the three Delaney’s Market locations – Longmeadow, Westfield, or Wilbraham – on Wednesday, Feb. 17 to order the Game Dinner package, which will be ready for pickup on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Pancake Sundaes Diner and Bakery in Westfield, a family-owned breakfast and lunch restaurant, has been turning out its own unique style of morning food since it opened in 2015.
Run by the husband-and-wife team of Frank and Shelly Baldwin, Pancake Sundaes is currently limiting its operation to Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Pandemic-constrained operating hours aren’t curbing Frank Baldwin’s creativity, however. Every weekend he puts together an inventive menu of breakfast specialties to supplement Pancake Sundaes’ basic repertoire.
Offerings can include the likes of bacon-chocolate chip pancakes, apple crisp French toast, and Baldwin’s “Dirty Philly” omelet that’s filled with shaved ribeye, sauteed onions, and fried peppers.
There’s usually an exhaustive list of eggs Benedict variations; homemade corned beef hash and crispy “Homies” are menu regulars. Each weekend’s specials can be found on Pancake Sundaes’ Facebook page, Facebook.com/pancakesundaes.
The restaurant, which is currently offering limited indoor dining as well as contactless to-go service, answers at (413) 572-6832.
Max’s Tavern at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield will be presenting its winter food and wine pairing dinner, Cabs & Slabs, on Thursday, Feb. 25.
The dinner this year is different from past such events. In addition to Napa Valley Cabernet varietals, the “Cabs” include a Washington State vintage by Canvasback Winery of Red Mountain, WA.
Max’s Tavern Chef Nathaniel Waugaman’s menu for the evening has a game dinner sensibility, featuring Wagyu beef tartare, braised wild boar shank, Denver lamb ribs, and a grilled bison strip loin.
The five-course menu will also include a chocolate raspberry mousse bar for desert.
Reservations for the dinner are available from 5:30 p.m. on through the evening. Cost to attend is $115 per person, not including tax or gratuity.
Call (413) 746-6299 for reservations.
The Munich Haus German Restaurant in Chicopee will be featuring a Valentine’s Dinner menu on Feb. 12-14.
Available as either a dine-in or a take-home option, the menu includes an appetizer, a choice of any two schnitzel or chicken entrees with side dishes and salad, and a house-made dessert (either red velvet cheesecake or a Black Forest cake heart) to share.
Upgrades are available, including a sausage sampler, salmon filet, or filet mignon option. Selected wines by the bottle are also available.
Reservations for on-premises dining are required, and take-home packages must be pre-ordered. Contact the Munich Haus German Restaurant at (413) 594-8788 for more information.
February limited-time offerings at participating Dunkin’ locations are, not surprisingly, Valentine’s Day-themed.
The chain is offering two heart-shaped donut selections – a brownie batter donut filled with brownie-flavored buttercream and a Cupid’s choice donut filled with Bavarian “kreme” and iced with pink, strawberry-flavored icing.
Featured beverages this month include a mocha macchiato and a “pink velvet” macchiato that features “red velvet” flavoring. Both drinks are available either hot or iced.
Participating McDonald’s restaurants are spicing up mid-winter by bringing back Spicy Chicken McNuggets, a menu item that was last featured in Fall 2020.
“Mighty Hot Sauce,” spicy, garlicky, and slightly sweet, will also be around for the duration of this limited time only offering.
The Spicy McNuggets feature a tempura-style coating enlivened with cayenne and chile pepper. Pricing is the same as for the chain’s regular McNuggets items.
Partners Restaurant in Feeding Hills will be hosting dinner by candlelight on Valentine’s Day weekend. For dine-in purposes Mark and Sue Tansey have put together a special prix-fixe, four-course dinner for Friday and Saturday evenings, Feb. 12 and 13. Three dinner to-go packages will also be available.
The dine-in menu, which will be available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. both evenings, includes a choice from among five entree options: braised short ribs, grilled salmon, chicken saltimbocca, ricotta ravioli, and filet mignon Oscar. Reservations are required for socially-distanced, on-premises dining.
Finish-at-home dinners include short ribs, chicken saltimbocca, or seafood casserole; sides, salad, and a dessert selection are included. Takeout orders must be placed by Thursday, Feb. 11.
More details on these special Valentine’s Day offerings can be found at the restaurant’s Facebook page, facebook.com/Partners.RestaurantCatering
Partners Restaurant answers at (413) 786-0975.
Chez Josef in Agawam is offering a delivery or pickup “date night” this year in the form of a Valentine’s Dinner for Two To-Go.
The all-inclusive, “heat @ home” package include a selection of hors d’oeuvres, a salad course, and a choice of two entrees.
Main course selections include filet mignon, parmesan chicken breast, seared sea bass, or lentil-stuffed sweet pepper. A surf and turf upgrade is also available. Dessert is part of the take-home package, as is a bottle of house wine.
In addition Chez Josef is offering individual meal selections as well as a brunch box that can be customizes to serve either two or four.
Curbside pickup is available at Chez Josef’s Agawam location; local delivery is also available. An online ordering platform is available at linktr.ee/chez2go; questions about menus, pricing, and delivery area can also be phoned in to (413) 355-5393.
Hugh Robert is a faculty member in Holyoke Community College’s hospitality and culinary arts program and has nearly 45 years of restaurant and educational experience. Robert can be reached on-line at OffTheMenuGuy@aol.com.