You’ve probably heard of 3D printing. But how about 3D printing food? How does it work? What can you make? How does it taste? Well, you’re about to find out…
3D printing technology has wowed people for years but can you imagine sitting down to a meal in a restaurant of entirely 3D printed food? byFlow, a company that makes portable 3D printers, has joined forces with Food Ink and 3D Samba to open the first 3D food printing popup restaurant. And it sounds incredible!
The First 3D Food Printer
The Dutch company byFlow is famous for their multi-material and foldable 3D printer.
Aside from the common plastic materials often used in 3D printers it can also print with bio-rubber, wood, bronze, glass, clay, ceramic and silicon. But further to this, the byFlow printer can print edible materials like chocolate, hummus, meat, goat cheese, pizza dough, and all sorts of other delicious ingredients.
How Does 3D Printing Food Work?
To print food, edible ingredients must first be made into a paste. This is then put into a syringe-like container (called an extruder) which is plugged into the printer – a bit like the ink cartridge in your printer at home.
The process of 3D printing (also called additive manufacturing) creates a 3D object by building up thousands of very thin layers of the “ink” which then fuse together to form a solid object. Think of each layer as being a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the completed object.
The blueprints for the object are first designed using 3D modelling software and then loaded into the printer on an SD card or USB stick. If you’re not already a skilled 3D modeller, you can search one of the many online libraries of 3D printing models for something that takes your fancy.
So, armed with the knowledge of how 3D printing works, what kind of food can be produced by these marvellous machines?
3D Printing Food at Food Ink. Popup Restaurant
I’ve seen a couple of edible experiments in 3D printing before. These often produced intricate chocolate or sugar sweets in complex geometric designs which were very visually impressive, but not what I’d call a substantial meal. But it seems the technology has progressed and now it’s possible to print an entire restaurant: not just the food but the plates, cutlery, chairs, vases, art and lighting too!
Fook Ink. is a specially designed, one of a kind 3D food printing popup restaurant. The 3D-pop-up was hosted by byFlow in collaboration with Food Ink and 3D Samba. The first stop on a worldwide tour for Food Ink. was in Venlo, Netherlands at the 3D Food Printing Conference. A select few guests had the opportunity to sample the latest creations in printed food through a five course tasting menu.
Dishes included Air Caviar, Fish and Chips, Caesar’s Flower of Life, Mystic Prawns, Steak TARTRIS, Love Bites and 3D Boscana.
The Food Ink. travelling restaurant will soon be bringing the byFlow printer to cities around the world including London, Dubai, Seoul, Rome, Paris, Las Vegas, Toronto, Berlin, Singapore and beyond.
Billed as “print-out pop-ups,” the unique dinner series will serve as a platform for a conversation about the future of sustainable food, nutrition, and health, and it will powerfully demonstrate how emerging technologies are rapidly changing and challenging the way we eat, create, share and live. These are values we share here at The Food Rush and we’ll be keeping a close eye on this fascinating series of events.
Images provided by byFlow.