Jul 11, 2016 | By Alec

Remember byFlow? Back in April, this team of Dutch 3D printed food innovators became the first in the world to open up a pop-up restaurant serving 3D printed food. Called Food Ink, it served six lucky guests a 3D printed five course meal during the 3D Food Printing Conference in Venlo, the Netherlands. To follow up on that success, Food Ink has been working hard to go on a world tour that reaches the world’s biggest culinary hotspots, and the next date has just been announced. Food Ink will set up outside The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London from 25 to 27 July, where a nine-course 3D printed dinner will be served.

It’s an amazing initiative that proves that food 3D printing is much more viable than often thought. At the core of the byFlow initiative is their impressive Focus 3D printer. The startup is owned by brother and sister Nina and Floris Hoff, their father Frits and friend Jeanine Hendriks. As Nina previously revealed, their pop-up restaurant proves that food 3D printing definitely has a future in exclusive restaurants for its ability to make fun, diverse and tasty dishes. But food 3D printers are far more than a culinary gimmick too, she added. “Food 3D printing has significant practical advantages,” she argued. “For instance for people who have difficulty chewing or swallowing their food.”

However, much of Food Ink’s success will also rely on the expertise of Spanish chef Mateo Blanch of Michelin-starred restaurant La Boscana in Bellvis, Spain. Blanch prepared the meals in Venlo and will also be travelling to London for this extraordinary event. There, he will be 3D print the dishes live with help from an international team of cooks, artists and technologists, including other Michelin-starred elBulli veteran Joel Castanye, with whom Blanch runs La Boscana.

So what kinds of food can be expected? While no full menu is obviously available now, the Focus 3D printer works best with paste-like ingredients, such as hummus, chocolate mousse, smashed peas, dough and a variety of cheeses. All are loaded into cartridges and extruded into layered structures. Various cooking techniques – such as baking – can be applied afterwards. Among others, air caviar, fish and chips, Caesar’s flower of life, mystic prawns, steak tartars, love bites and 3D Boscana can be expected in London.

And to complete the experience, much of the restaurant itself – including tables, chairs and lamps – will also be 3D printed. All were designed by Zaha Hadid-protégé and architect Arthur Mamou-Mani, using open-source Grasshopper plug-in Silkworm. Incidentally, these 3D printed stools are also available as a Kickstarter reward to backers of an architectural project for Burning Man. The utensils used during the meals have been designed by Polish artist Iwona Lisiecka, while a team of filmmakers will provide a visual show and music during dinner.

But as this is such a high-tech concept, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than in a normal kitchen. Also involved are startups 3D Samba, 3DChef, and London’s 3DFP Ventures, while businessmen Antony Dobrzensky and Marcio Barradas played a crucial role in developing the concept. “Our goal is to work with the best designers and chefs to create nutritious, delicious and healthy food and an amazing multi-sensory experience,” Dobrzensky explained. “With the pop-up, we want to announce to the world that this concept is now viable, get people excited and hopefully grow the concept into a scalable business. It’s a much better way than sitting in a boardroom in a suit making a boring pitch.”

Indeed, the tour is in fact little more than a very ambitious sales pitch. As Dobrezensky explained, their upcoming trips to Berlin, Dubai, Seoul, Rome, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Sydney and Reykjavik are all intended to draw attention from investors and prominent figures in the culinary industry. Hopefully, it will enable them to create a viable brand and a chain of permanent Food Ink restaurants. “We’re all aware that the amount of technology around us and the speed with which it changes is accelerating,” Dobrzensky said. “It’s very exciting and empowering but also a bit disorienting and alarming for a number of people. We want to create a positive environment to get people thinking about some of the difficult issues we’ll have to navigate in order to sustainably move into the future.”

And why shouldn’t it work? Ice bars and dark dining venues that overload the senses are also a huge hit, and Food Ink simply takes things into a more technological direction. “The restaurant design is intended to show the present and the future blurring and dissolving in our midst, just as science fiction and reality often blurs. We’re trying to provide, quite literally, a taste of the future,” Dobrezensky said. “The technology is still first generation and given the speed of development I’ve seen, in about four years this type of 3D printing will be everywhere. ”

But if you’re in Britain and getting an appetite for 3D printed food, we’ve got some bad news. The London event is fully booked already, so you might have to travel around the world for a 3D printed snack. For more information on the follow-up events, keep an eye on the byFlow website.

Updated on Jul 15, 2016:

Food Ink's official World Premiere takes place this July 25-26-27 at 8 Dray Walk in Shoreditch, in the heart of London's creative and high-tech epicentre.

On Tuesday 26 July and Wednesday 27 July from 2 PM - 6 PM, Food Ink is open to the public to come sample 3D-printed snacks, get hands-on with our 3D-printers and 3D-pens, relax on their 3D-printed furniture, and explore exciting futuristic environment.

On Monday 25 July, Tuesday 26 July, and Wednesday 27 July, Food Ink will host an exclusive gathering of 10 dinner guests who will join their 3D-printed dinner table at 7:30 PM to share a futuristic gourmet experience.

VIP guests will be treated to a one-of-a-kind, nine-course, multi-sensory food experience with wine pairings, prepared by master chefs Joel Castanye and Mateu Blanch, and produced via live real-time 3D-printing right in front of all guests' eyes. The Food Ink VIP Launch is also livestreamed online to the world.

A limited number of tickets to the VIP Launch of Food Ink will be made available for 250 GBP starting at 9 AM (GMT) on Friday 15 July here.



 

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