As the personal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, it’s Wilson Rothman’s job to write about the technology that impacts consumers in their everyday life. Whether e-readers, Macbooks, or new mobile phones, if it’s a popular consumer platform, chances are Rothman has covered it.
But there’s one type of technology that is particularly near and dear to his heart: cooking. That’s because the former NBC News tech and science editor is a dedicated home cook, a hobby that can be traced all the way back to his childhood when his grandmother would whip together amazing meals for large family gatherings despite a busy schedule as a performer.
“I was born thinking about food and how to make food,” said Rothman in an interview at the Smart Kitchen Summit. “I attribute that to my Sicilian grandmother, who was an opera singer but managed to come home and cook elaborate meals for like a hundred people.”
One of the reasons Rothman loves cooking is it taps into his creative side.
“I liken it (cooking) to music. When you think about music and putting together songs and playing with people, you have to get everything right, but you have to know what you’re getting into even before you start. With cooking, that same creative gene kicks in with me where I know where it’s going to look like at the end, I know where I’m at to begin with, but what happens in the middle is anyone’s guess.”
For someone as dedicated to both the craft of cooking and technology as Rothman, one concern is how much these new advances could potentially automate the act of cooking. After all, can one stay true to the craft of cooking if the robots are doing it all?
Rothman says that one can embrace progress by trying to understand the science behind cooking as a way to become a better cook.
“What a lot of the technology products are doing are applying that knowledge (of science), because while I may be able to pore over a book by Harold McGee, but other people don’t want to do that and it’s not fair they are denied their steak because they didn’t read a 900 page book.”
“The science, what happens when bread is baking, what happens when the steak hits the pan, once you know that, you can achieve quite a bit with some very rudimentary equipment.”
To find out more about how Wilson Rothman sees the impact of technology on cooking and the kitchen, watch the video above!