AI as a new source of inspiration for a new generation of pastry chefs

AI as a new source of inspiration for a new generation of pastry chefs

A delicate mousse with the flavor of mango, passion fruit and apricot, a crunchy shortbread and a hazelnut ganache… If this description of pastry is after all usual, it is in reality a real innovation. Before being real, this pastry was in fact generated by MidJourney. The recipe was the subject of a competition launched by the Institut Culinaire de Europe whose objective was to bake using images created by AI.

Generate restaurant descriptions, automate responses to customer comments… Artificial intelligence can be beneficial to restaurants for various tasks. We imagine it more as a tool to facilitate the most difficult tasks, particularly administrative ones. What if AI also helped the creativity of pastry chefs?

NO to diets, YES to WW!

Create desserts from images generated by MidJourney

If pastry chefs usually sketch out their sweet ideas in a notepad, or via their digital tablet like the Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini, we could also conceive of AI as a source of inspiration. A heresy in a world as creative as pastry? This is not so sure since even the one considered to be the greatest pastry chef in the world, namely Pierre Hermé, agreed to chair the sweet arts competition consisting of making desserts from visuals generated via the MidJourney image software.

The challenge was launched by the Institut Culinaire de Europe among its students enrolled in the Bachelor of Sweet Culinary Arts and Entrepreneurship course. Entitled Pastry Challenge 3.0, this challenge first consisted of writing a prompt to launch the basics of the recipes. For example, the competition asked “an image of a fresh circular lemon cake, inspired by a Paris-Brest and a Rubik’s Cube. Geometric and elegant cake, garnished with a generous amount of lemon zest“.

In the end, it was the circular dessert by Lucía Straulino, Maya Assefa and Karly Laurent Hatem which won the right to appear in real life in the school’s Bordeaux boutique, following a test which took place on January 29th.

The jury, made up of Pierre Hermé’s deputy chef, Arnaud Coutret, the editorial director of Gault&Millau Stéphane Bréhier, but also the journalist Stéphane Davet and the vice-world pastry champion Kyung Ran Baccon, judged that their dessert named MLK, taking the initials of the participants’ first names, came closest to the image of MidJourney. If you eat a pastry first with your eyes, the taste must also be there. The pastry chefs thus composed a recipe based on a mango, passion fruit and apricot mousse, topped with a chocolate biscuit and a hazelnut ganache, all resting on a hazelnut shortbread.