Mar 1, 2016 | By Tess

Nearly half a century ago, the sight of a microwave oven in someone’s kitchen would have been shocking—a countertop oven that can heat up food in a matter of minutes using electromagnetic radiation? Unheard of! Now, microwaves are a mainstay in most households, which makes us wonder if food 3D printers will have a similar fate. While not yet present in the average kitchen, 3D food printers, such as Natural Machine’s Foodini 3D printer, have been having a big impact in the world of high end dining, as Michelin starred chefs are using the technology to take their dishes to the next level.

Paco Perez, a revered chef who has won Michelin stars for several of his restaurants including La Enoteca at the Hotel of Arts in Barcelona, has been using the Foodini 3D printer to enhance his food presentation. As pictured below, Perez has used the food 3D printer to create a stunning flowery design on one of his plates out of a seafood puree, which will complement a range of other tastes, from caviar, to fresh sea-urchin, to a carrot foam. The dish, called Sea Coral, is meant to recall the sea floor and its rich colors and textures.

The coral inspired design created by the Foodini 3D printer, would be impossible, or at the very least very difficult to achieve by hand, and the possibilities offered by the new technology have excited Perez, as well as many other high-end chefs. “It's very interesting what today's technology is contributing to gastronomy" says Perez. "Creativity is shaped by what technology can do”.

What some people may not realize about the food 3D printer, and what Natural Machines is trying to convey through their collaboration with many chefs and restaurants, is that the Foodini 3D printer uses fresh ingredients. Essentially, the food 3D printer works by inserting reusable stainless steel capsules filled with whatever puree, or 3D printable food you want. From there, you simply choose your desired recipe or design either from its onboard touchscreen or from a connected device and the machine gets working. The Foodini is also marketed as being able to create from many types of foods, from seafood purees, to mashed potatoes, even to chocolate, and can print designs up to several centimetres in height.

While for the moment the Foodini 3D printer seems to be the most popular in a number of high-end restaurant kitchens, Natural Machines co-founder Lynette Kucsma believes that they have the potential to become mainstream. She explains, “As people see it coming into restaurants and…start becoming familiar with eating 3D printed food and knowing that it’s made with fresh, real ingredients, that’s when the mind change starts to happen.”

The Barcelona based food 3D printer startup also foresees more advancements to their Foodini 3D printer that could give it a greater appeal to the general public, namely the ability to cook the food as it’s being printed. While professional chefs with a number of various cooking tools might be less inclined to use a food 3D printer that can also cook, that added feature could be a big draw for regular consumers.

Perez, who was asked about the food 3D printer’s risk of inhibiting creativity, suggests that the recent technology is but another step in kitchen advancements. “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.”

Who knows, perhaps one day in the near future everyone will have a food 3D printer in their kitchen, nestled in next to their coffee maker and blender. In the meantime however, we will continue to admire the delicious and eye catching food creations that professional chefs are creating with the growing technology.




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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