Chat GPTaco, Velvet Taco’s next Weekly Taco Feature, launches Wednesday—the first AI-generated taco for the Dallas-based fast casual.
Fans look forward to Velvet Taco’s rotating WTF for its unique ingredient pairings and flavor combinations. For the latest iteration, Director of Culinary Venecia Willis wanted to see what ChatGPT 4, the newest AI-powered text generator, would produce—helped along with a bit of the chef’s input.
So Willis provided the chain’s proprietary taco formula and ingredient list. "I walked down our prep line and entered the items based on the category—tortilla (corn, flour, lettuce wrap), bases, proteins and sauces," she said. "I also put restrictions on the total number of ingredients."
The result: ChatGPT came up with the Chat GPTaco. It has a “surf ‘n turf” theme, featuring flank steak, blackened shrimp, red chile aioli, chimichurri, crispy potatoes, grilled onion, queso fresco, jalapeno and cilantro on a corn tortilla. Velvet Taco set the price of $6.25—not the chatbot.
Willis ran the same set of rules through the system four times and the team tasted all four combinations it produced. "We chose the best of the four based on flavor and overall uniqueness," she said. "I did notice a trend in that the AI generator favored a few ingredients. The most obscure taco included crispy tofu, red curry coconut queso and roasted corn."
The Chat GPTaco will be displayed on billboards across Dallas and promoted on Dallas radio stations. It runs on the menu from July 12-25 at all Velvet Taco locations excluding those at food halls and colleges.
"I have a few more ideas on how I would like to use AI in the future and menu development is definitely part of that," Willis added.
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