Prof. Ganesh Bagler’s work on Computation Gastronomy has the culinary world a-buzz. We were really excited to have Dr Bagler share his work with us at the first Food Forward India event in Mumbai in 2019 October.
Computational Gastronomy is the emerging data science that blends food with artificial intelligence. Prof. Bagler is working on understanding this unique culinary fingerprints or world cuisine and how they intersect with taste, health and nutrition.
Ingredients and flavour molecules really make up the base culinary structure of any cuisine and Indian cuisine is filled with negative food pairings that make the food and dishes absolutely delicious and unique.
Negative is really a positive!
Negative food pairing is not a negative thing at all! When ingredients are put together it’s called a food pairing. In most cuisines where ingredients share similar flavour compounds it is considered a positive food pairing. In the case of cuisines across India foods are unlikely to share similar flavour compounds. Thus resulting in a negative food pairing. The spotlight here was on the spices, where Dr. Bagler and co realised spice was the key elements here, the different blends and flavours making the cuisine unique.
Since spices in India have a strong place especially in traditional medicine, a conclusion was made that the evolution of Indian cuisine that was driven by medicinal beliefs (spices) has left a strong impact on how Indian food and cuisine has evolved.
What does the future taste like?
What’s really exciting is that with this research we could even predict the future course of the cuisine and target current food issues like nutrition -- obesity & malnutrition and culinary confidence -- the inability or low motivation to be able to cook one’s own food.
Using post factor analysis, could we even re-write history and bring lesser-known cuisines into focus by understanding culinary evolution? Could we even bring in these subcultural narratives?
“Patterns that can uniquely identify who you are,” says Prof. Baglers and his work envisions to transform food in India and the world through this data-forward research.
“What about Andaaz, isn’t that what Indian cuisine is about?” many ask. Andaaz, refers to guessing and using one’s intuition, culinary skill and expertise to balance and create perfect tastes and flavours.
Cooking is an art and a science and understanding where data meets intuition to discover, preserve and create delicious food could be the main challenge. But could this symbiosis also be the way forward?