3D printing has been around for several decades, but only recently have we seen the technology perfected. Regardless of detail, 3D printers are capable of creating some of the most intricate designs imaginable. All it takes is the imagination to design, and your vision will be made a reality in mere minutes. However, this technology’s adoption into the culinary world surprised many. Michelin-ranked chefs, known for their mastery of fine dining, took to this new technology with surprising ease. What does that mean for the future of cuisine? Can these futuristic devices enhance an already lavish dining experience?
Able to provide a level of accuracy otherwise impossible, 3D printing adds an additional level of artistry to plates where presentation is so much of the package. However, the procedure is not entirely perfected. Specialized nozzles needed to be developed in order to move the food through the printing process. And while specific designs can be crafted by the printer, it’s only able to successfully use one ingredient at a time. The technology hasn’t reached the point of printing a Thanksgiving dinner.
Many are concerned the advent of 3D printing will cheapen the dining experience. A vast majority of people enjoy the experience of fine-dining because the exclusivity, and it’s reasonable to assume that same crowd would be unhappy if their experience were reduced to pushing a button. However, food critics feel that the addition of 3D printing will only raise the bar on already outrageous expectations regarding food design and presentation. The nature of 3D printing will likely find its home in creating beautifully ornate, edible garnishes, rather than supplant main courses.
Not all chefs support this new technology. Some professionals have voiced a genuine concern that their livelihood will be made obsolete by 3D printers when the technology is perfected. What’s to stop a customer from going to a store, buying a cartridge of their favorite meal, and have it printed within the hour? While several years away from being able to handle such a task, the potential remains a very real possibility.