Pestle Uses AI to Save Recipes from Reels

Pestle, a recipe app and cooking assistant, leverages AI technology to simplify saving recipes from social media platforms without using OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Instead, the app’s latest update enables users to directly import recipes from Instagram Reels using on-device machine learning, allowing for rapid processing and saving to personal collections.

According to Pestle’s developer, Will Bishop, this feature enables “near-instant” saving of recipes discovered on Reels.

Launched in 2022, Bishop created Pestle to tackle the issue of cumbersome recipe searching online. Modern recipe websites often feature excessive ads and lengthy stories, burying the actual recipe at the bottom of the page. Bishop previously used Apple’s Notes app to save and modify recipes, but this approach lacked organization, as Notes was not designed for recipe management.

inspired Bishop to develop Pestle

This inspired Bishop to develop Pestle, an app that enables users to save web recipes by tapping the “Share” button in their iOS browser and selecting the app as the destination.

Pestle offers a range of features beyond recipe import and organization, including meal planning, shopping list creation, discovery of new recipes from creators, voice command navigation, hands-free cooking, and remote cooking with friends and family via Apple’s SharePlay feature on FaceTime.

Although saving web recipes addressed one issue, users have consistently requested the ability to save recipes from Instagram as well, according to Bishop.

He said, “I’d always pushed back at the idea, as the recipes could be written a million different ways quite literally, and the idea of parsing all that seemed like a gargantuan task. I’d seen other recipe apps tackle this challenge, but all seemingly fell back to just making a call to ChatGPT and making the user sometimes wait up to a minute to get a response.”

According to the developer, he opted not to integrate ChatGPT into Pestle due to several concerns, including prolonged processing times and apprehensions regarding OpenAI’s handling of user privacy.

Additionally, he said that relying on a third-party service for parsing recipes could lead to unpredictable downtime and a loss of control over improving response accuracy, as Pestle would be dependent on OpenAI’s updates to their model for any enhancements.

This led Bishop to explore the alternative of utilizing on-device machine learning, enabling faster processing and maintaining control over the process, eliminating dependence on third-party services.

“The slowest part of the operation is just the request to fetch the Reel’s caption; the processing itself happens in about one-tenth of a second,” he says.

To use the new feature, you can share an Instagram Reel with Pestle, similar to how you save recipes from the web. As Bishop mentions, the app also supports importing any plain-text recipe.

The updated version of Pestle is a free download on the iOS App Store. Subscribers get access to additional features, such as a section for cooking inspiration, meal planning support, shopping lists with Apple Reminders integration, and more