Ontologies 2018 - WhatToMake

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WhatToMake: Recipe Ontology - Ontologies Fall 2018

Primary Investigators

Forest Eckhardt - eckhaf@rpi.edu
Kevin Blissett - blissk@rpi.edu
Miao Qi - qim@rpi.edu
Yarden Ne’eman - neemay@rpi.edu


The motivation for WhatToMake came from our observation of the pains of using traditional cookbooks or even some online recipe archives to find recipes that fit a given person’s requirements. We felt that in order to make that experience better, a user should have the ability to search for a wide range of parameters such as ingredients, cook time, course type, and meal type and have recipes that fulfilled those parameters returned to them. We also saw that recipe searching was difficult if a user had some form of allergy, health concern, or dietary restriction. We wanted to create something which would help the user not only enter those restrictions but to help them find adequate substitutes for the ingredients that they have restricted in the event that was necessary. These were the driving problems that influenced our design of WhatToMake.

There exist a couple of groups of people that we feel would deeply benefit from this application. The first group of people we feel would benefit the most from WhatToMake are people that are normally reluctant to cook or find it difficult to get started with cooking because they find it difficult to find recipes that work for them. We hope that this application will give those people the information and the confidence they need to try and start cooking more for themselves. Another group of people we hope we can help out are those that are trying to get the most out of their food purchases. With the ability to search by specific ingredients, it will be easy to find a recipe that uses up all of the food that you have already purchased making sure that nothing that you bought goes to waste. Finally, we hope that this application will empower those with restrictive diets to cook meals that take their diets into consideration. Instead of having to scour the internet for recipes that do not contain certain ingredients, we hope that this application and its notion of substitution suggestions will help these users to navigate their diets in a simple and considerate way.

The culinary community is vast, and so is the opportunity for growth in WhatToMake. There is always room to add ingredients and recipes and incorporate new and common dietary restrictions. Also, we are always looking for new and trustworthy substitutions for ingredients especially when it comes to less-common ideas. If you are interested in helping to further this project, please contact us at the emails listed above.

For a demonstration of this application and the types of questions it can answer, please click here.
This project was created for the Ontology Engineering course offered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the Fall of 2018.


This work is supported by Prof. Deborah L. McGuinness, Ms. Elisa Kendall, Jim McCusker, and Rebecca Cowan for the class “Ontologies Fall 2018 ” in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). This work was conducted using the Protégé resource, which is supported by grant GM10331601 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the United States National Institutes of Health.