Tyler Florence caused a a stir at last year’s Smart Kitchen Summit when he declared the recipe was dead. That remains up for debate, but Florence, a longtime star of The Food Network, did clarify his statement when he returned to the stage today for this year’s SKS North America.
“I think the smart kitchen is in that place right now where recipes are a bit antiquated,” he explained to The Spoon’s Mike Wolf. Traditional recipes are static instructions that, as Florence said onstage, in order to use, “you have to have all the items on hand or [the dish] isn’t going to work out.” As he explained, the future of the recipe will be more about cooking techniques and choosing the ingredients you want to include, creating what will ultimately be a more dynamic cooking experience. Think of it as the choose your own adventure of food. “People [have] more choices for cooking options than you have nights on planet earth,” he said.
He also highlighted a couple other areas that will be important to the evolution of the food industry in future: shopping for food and sharing your food.
Shopping for food. As the recipe evolves, grocery stores will need to think about how all the different food items on the shelves might relate to one another. To use Florence’s example, right now, there’s no apparent relationship in the store between chicken, broccoli, and Teriyaki sauce, though all three often wind up in the same dish.
In future, a “choose your own adventure” food experience in store might look like this: you use your phone to scan a QR code on a package of chicken. The app then tells you how to cook the chicken and also gives you three or four ways you might prepare it (e.g., with broccoli and Teriyaki sauce). That kind of connected, personalized experience will help consumers to understand, while they’re shopping, how disparate foods could potentially go together. Call it real-time recipes.
Sharing food. The other area Florence says is especially important to food right now is social media, which has to some degree democratized the food world. Thanks to the enormous exchange of information happening on Instagram and other sites, the food world has “a higher creativity rate than we’ve ever had.” He added that “Social media has done an absolutely amazing job of creating the best generation of chefs.” As we move forward, social will continue to be an essential part of any food business’s strategy.