Imagine this: You’re in one of the best restaurants in your city, you’ve ordered the special, and your server’s just set your plate down before you. Not only is it delicious–we’re assuming you did your research before shelling out all that dough–but it brings a tear to your eye even before you take your first bite. That’s because what you’re looking at is not just a beautiful plating (like the ones you see on Top Chef), but an actual masterpiece. And here’s the biggest surprise: Your dinner was printed. A new piece on the BBC discusses exactly how technology–specifically the ability to print three-dimensionally–is changing the way that chefs are looking at the future of food. There are two main reasons why machines like the Foodini, which can do amazing things with ingredients from caviar to mashed potatoes, are poised to take over the world of fine dining, and they boil down to this: they allow chefs to customize dishes, creating things they’d never be able to crank out by hand, and they make standardization easier, ensuring that every diner who places an order gets the same exquisite dish.
Chefs from all over the world are interested in the new technology, especially if it helps them print “100 tree-shaped breadsticks” without having to form each one by hand, but what’s most exciting is that while the current machines are able to turn fresh ingredients (which are already ready) into beautiful presentations, future innovations will allow computers like the Foodini to be programmed to cook the food, as well.
From The BBC:
[Natural Machines Co-Founder] Ms Kucsma says that there’s an additional feature that could transform the appeal of these products: the ability to cook. She says that the existing Foodini machine “can heat the individual food capsules to do things like keeping chocolate at a good melting point” – but for future models they are working to add the capacity to cook. Market research suggests that this could really help the products to become mainstream.
All that already sounds pretty amazing, but consider this: The Foodini is also internet-capable, meaning that a) recipes can be downloaded and transferred via the internet and b) soon the robots will rise up against us and control our food supply and. Personally, the latter’s a little more worrying than the former, but isn’t eating something cooked by a printer novel enough that you’d forego your rights as a human when our overlords take over?
The only thing in the Foodini’s way is the argument that all of this printing and downloading could stifle creativity, but Paco Perez, a world-renowned chef, has an answer for that type of criticism:
“In its day, traditional food was the avant garde. The people who cooked it would use a blender, or a microwave, an oven, a heat lamp…You see, tradition is innovation – and always has been. In moving forwards, technology will always be present.”
How soon before one of these comes to a restaurant near you? Or better yet: How soon can we start getting them off the TV?