The new personal chef will be a 3D printer in your kitchen, one that’s hooked up to the Internet to await text messages or email instructions about your next meal.
When I talk about 3D printing food, people’s reaction is usually amusement blended with a tiny bit of revulsion. There’s something about squeezing raw food stuffs through a print head that in many people’s minds, is a bit, well, freakish. Interesting, certainly. But just too grotesquely processed.
Yet, food printing gets people excited. Once, outside a hotel in Washington, DC, the hotel’s taxi stand manager saw me struggling to carry a boxy, unwieldy Fab@home printer. He abandoned his taxi stand and bounded over, but not to get me a taxi. He wanted a closer look at the 3D printer.
“I saw that thing on CNN!” the man shouted, pointing to the printer. “Are you the guy that was doing the food printing?” he asked. I confirmed that yes indeed, this machine and I were indeed the same duo that he had seen on TV. The man examined the Fab@home I was carrying and as he hailed the taxi, excitedly continued. “My wife and I watched that show, and she wants to get one of these. She’s got a bunch of ideas for making Angry Bird cookies. And my brother-in-law – he should probably print himself some broccoli…”
Later that week at a conference of hotel executives, I gave a presentation about food printing. The conference’s theme was “What Lies Ahead in the Hospitality Industry?” Throughout the day, a few dozen hotel ...