Fu Ture Food 3D printed food in your future
MacLeod taught himself computer assisted design (CAD)
to create computer images that the ChefJet Pro then prints out,
often hundreds or thousands of times, placing 2D layer upon
2D layer to create a 3D image.
“With the ChefJet Pro, you are working with powders exclu-
sively,” he says. “Because you are using multiple powdered ingre-
dients, you have to account for varying particle sizes. You also
have to judge hygroscopicity (how well an item absorbs and repels
water), as well as fluid rate rheology (how readily a powder moves
in the machine itself). There is a lot to consider.”
A mixture of alcohol and surfactants seals the completed work
and is also added to each layer after it is printed out to bind the layers.
To create an open-topped wasabi egg as a centerpiece for beef tartare,
MacLeod created a vinaigrette designed to avoid disintegrating the
beef, which is 90% water. Using neither oil nor vinegar, he fashioned
a wasabi “vinaigrette” containing eight calculated and controlled
ingredients. The taste of traditional wasabi steak tartare arose
when the vinaigrette was stirred into the beef after the egg was
tapped tableside. MacLeod also created a mini pumpkin-shaped
truffle filled with pumpkin caramel ganache, which was realized
partly by hand and partly by the 3D printer technology.
As most recipes deal with many materials and parameters,
3D food printing is complex. “The properties of butter can
change with temperature, and there are 50 kinds,” Lipson says.
“With so much experimentation and so many variables, 3D
food printing transcends printing a simple plastic spoon.”
collaboration is the name of the game
At the 2015 opening of 3D Systems Culinary Lab in Los
Angeles, Mei Lin, that year’s “Top Chef” winner, created a passion
fruit dessert. Working in collaboration with 3D Systems lead food
designer William Hu, she built a flavor profile using freeze-dried
passion fruit, after which the 3D printer built up her design
with instructions from the computer. Red, yellow and blue food
coloring was dispensed from four cartridges that work like
those in traditional color printers. The only other ingredients in
the 3D printed passion flower were water and sugar.
The dessert also included freeze-dried strawberry powder,
caramelized banana creme anglaise, bee pollen crumble, toasted
yogurt, and slices of banana and strawberries. Guests used
spoons to shatter the passion flowers, melding flavors and textures
with the other ingredients.
The work was an inspired collaboration between Lin and
Hu, as well as the result of Lin’s savvy integration of 3D food
printing and artisanal craft.
“No chefs were hands-on with the machines,” Lin says.
“They cost a lot of money, and we wouldn’t want to mess around
and possibly break something.”
printing with pastes and gels
“The new personal chef will be a 3D printer in your kitchen,
one that’s hooked up to the Internet to await text message or email
instructions about your next meal,” Lipson and Kurman wrote
Foodini, a 3D printer produced by Natural Machines, Barcelona,
Spain, uses fresh pastes placed in empty canisters, so dishes are both
ToP riGh T: a 3d cloche tops a more traditionally prepared dessert.
bo TTom leFT, ToP To bo TTom: lemon meringue crown taart—almond dacquoise
base, tart lemon curd filling, 3d printed sugar meringue crown and a raspberry
reduction sauce—on a circuit board placemat at the world’s first 3d printing
conference held in venlo, the Netherlands, in april. mei lin’s passion fruit dessert
was served at the 2015 opening of 3d systems Culinary lab in los angeles.