Of all the unbelievable things that 3D printing is capable of, 3D printed food is possibly the weirdest. It sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s real, and it’s beginning to develop as an industry, with major 3D printing companies throwing their weight into expanding its potential. Right now 3D Systems is at the forefront of the 3D printed food movement with its new 3DS Culinary Lab in Los Angeles. On October 28th, the company formally unveiled its new lab, with a grand opening featuring 3D printed food created by some of the city’s most influential chefs.
The Culinary Lab will serve as a learning center for chefs and mixologists to collaborate and experiment with 3D printing as part of their craft. They will also be the first to use 3D Systems’ not-yet-released ChefJet Pro culinary printer, which will equip the lab’s 3D printing kitchen, and the company hopes that the printer’s use in the lab will lead to further product development and innovations.
The lab also features a demonstration kitchen, courtesy of KitchenAid. In addition to being a work space, the lab will host several formal classes and events. The first, on December 8th, is entitled “3D Printed Food Fundamentals: Sweet” and will instruct attendees on how to create a pastry dish with 3D printed elements. Subsequent classes will focus on savory foods, cocktails, and other facets of 3D printed cuisine. A quarterly Chef Night, with the first taking place in March 2016, is being offered as an informal event for chefs to meet and have a few drinks (with 3D printed elements, of course) while discussing the potential uses of 3D printing in their careers.
“We are thrilled to open this amazing collaboration space to bring a new era of digital craftsmanship and technology to the culinary community,” said Liz von Hasseln, Creative Director, Culinary, for 3DS. “We’re bringing together partners and collaborators from across the food service and hospitality industries, as well as chefs, mixologists and artisans to explore the wide-open landscape for 3D printed food.”
The Culinary Lab’s grand opening set a pretty good stage for the exploration of the 3D printed food landscape, with a menu prepared by culinary stars Josiah Citrin, Mei Lin and Matthew Biancaniello. Offerings included 3D printed pumpkin waffles and French onion soup with a 3D printed onion powder cube courtesy of Citrin, as well as steak tartare with a 3D printed wasabi egg and a passionfruit dessert complete with a 3D printed passionfruit flower from Lin. Biancaniello provided cocktail selections with 3D printed garnishes.
Food itself is incredibly trendy right now, with a sizable chunk of TV programming devoted to cooking shows, cooking competitions, and celebrity chefs. Throw 3D printing into the mix, and you have the potential for a whole new angle on food as entertainment. With the 3DS Culinary Lab located in the heart of Los Angeles’ food scene, I wouldn’t be surprised if 3D printed food is the next thing to take over the Food Network. Until that happens, whet your appetite with this promotional video from 3DS:
Of course, with the recent news at 3D Systems–including this week’s surprise departure from long-time CEO and President Avi Reichental and substantial rumors surrounding facility closures–some have already called into question the longevity of the 3DS Culinary Lab. Time will tell on this one. Let us know your thoughts on this new lab in the 3D Culinary Lab forum thread on 3DPB.com.