If there’s one thing the internet, and popular culture in general, has shown us over the last few years (other than porn and cats) it’s that people are more interested in food and recipes than ever before. Obviously curiosity and desire for new recipes and ways of eating are as old as time itself but with the current era of connectivity and technological innovation, we’re able to find, share and experience food in ways like never before. Look at just three of the biggest social media platforms in the world, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr – food is one of the main drawcards to the services. There are more than 250 million photos tagges with #food on Instagram alone and that’s only scratching the surface. What this means for Bots, is a whole fresh category to tap into and of course, many developers are already onto it.
It used to be the case that when we wanted a recipe, we looked in a cookbook. That progressed to searching online and then transformed into looking on social media accounts or browsing relevant hashtags. Bots take this to the next level by offering the ability to chat, respond and provide you with (hopefully) the perfect answers and the perfect recipe. There are almost countless Bots ready to provide you with recipes and suggestions of where to eat (especially on Telegram), so we’ve taken a look at a whole lot of them to make it easier for you to choose which one you might like to try. In fact, we’ve actually cut out most of the options and nailed it down to the few that are actually worth trying. Without further ado, here are our favourite recipe bots, in no particular order.
When searching for recipe Bots, the first thing you’ll notice is that some are concerned with specifically giving you the recipe you’re looking for, and others are more focussed on helping you make healthy choices. Forksy is one of the latter. Available on Kik, Facebook Messenger and Telegram, Forksy is all about encouraging you to change unhealthy eating habits. It proudly dubs itself “the first chatbot in the world who helps people eat healthy.” So how does it achieve this? You tell it your eating habits with a text and it will give you advice and insight into how to make better choices on the go. Oh, don’t expect this Bot to be nice about it, in fact, it says itself “expect no mercy for eating unhealthy food.” So, for healthy recipes – give it a go!
Available for Facebook Messenger, this Bot does exactly what its name indicates; it provides you with dinner ideas. Self described as “a smart recipes Bot in Facebook Messenger [Dinner Ideas] will always help you cook something delicious. Well, that sounds good. It works in two ways. You can either send it the name of at least one ingredient (convenient if you want to cook specifically with what you have in your house) or the name of a dish that you want to cook. Once it’s got keywords to play with, it’ll send you back relevant, usable recipes to get you started. You can also subscribe to receive recipes on the basis of your choosing. Also if you don’t have the ingredients for a given recipe, the Bot will add them to a shopping list for you.
This Bot is equipped with an avatar depicting a stereotypical Italian chef, you know this means business. MyCookBot is designed to do one thing and one thing only, provide you with recipes in a fast and easy to access manner. In fact, it’s one line description “Bot to search for recipes by name or ingredients” sums it up in a very matter of fact way. It does exactly this. Like dinner ideas but for Telegram, tell it the name of an ingredient you’ve got or are particularly keen to cook with and it will send recipe ideas back in return. You can also give it a specific recipe and it will provide you with options. It’s the little helper between you and your noms.
We all know that there are a litany of diets floating around these days and for better or worse, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy or simply to find exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you’re paleo, gluten free, low carb, vegan or vegetarian, TasefulBot’s goal is to get you a meal that not only meets your requirements, but tastes good too. Currently optimised for the US, you provide it with a city or zipcode and it will find appropriate restaurants in the area that cater to your preferences. You can also search based on cuisine, specific dishes, meal types (breakfast, lunch, dinner, date night, quick bites etc.) and with over 252 thousand restaurants in the database, it’s worth checking out next time, if you’re using Facebook Messenger or Kik, and you want to try somewhere new.
Keeping its database of more than 100,000 recipes no secret, this Telegram Bot launched in May is another option for recipe searching. It really just comes down to which interface you like most and which Bot gives you the best results. The categories ChefBot advertises the most heavily are breakfast and brunch, main dishes side dishes, BBQ and grilling, healthy recipes, salad ideas, world cousins (we’re not clear on exactly what that is, but probably international recipes, as it does have a lot of those) and desserts. We all need desserts, after all.
Where is another Bot ready to give you restaurants recommendations but the key difference between it and Tasteful is that the goal is to find you and appropriate place to get a meal or drink quickly, as opposed to focussing on very specific preferences. Both have a time and a place, but if you’re in a rush Where is worth trying. You can even use emojis to communicate with it. Send it the sushi emoji and it will tell you places you can grab sushi nearby, with images to scroll through and see which takes your fancy the most.
Summary: There are plenty of recipe and food recommendation Bots out there but these are the pick of the bunch at this stage. They have the most refined systems and largest databases and are able to give you quick, useful answers.