All I Want For Christmas Is Some 3-D Food

3-D printers—they’re not just for making cool plastic things anymore. They’re for making dinner!

That’s right 3-D food. Consider it the hospitality wave of the future that’s already lapping on some shores. Just take some pureed raw chicken, add in some vitamins, minerals, and veggies, and print out this liquefied form into any shape you can imagine. Then just pop in the oven to cook! That’s what the innovative culinary company Food Inc. from London, England, has been up to these days as it showcases this new way of cooking on a restaurant world tour.

Making meals that are unique in tech-savvy preparation paves the way not only for limitless possibilities but adheres to the current trend of sustainability in the kitchen, with a marketable, social-media-driven twist. In this cool way of preparing dishes, 3-D-printed food start out as a paste, and chefs can control the ingredients and design. Some chefs choose to focus on locally sourced foods with added nutritional elements to make this new endeavor mesh the old with the new.

Take the company Natural Machines of Barcelona, Spain, who has placed its Foodini 3D printer in several Spanish restaurants. Instead of slapping a side of broccoli on a plate, the printer can pump out an edible statue of a dinosaur, making eating veggies more desirable to kids. Or it can create a delicious, nutritious piece of art, say a snowflake-patterned pancake, with beet puree and gluten-free paste.

Want to a see the future of food in action? Check out this video from Columbia University in New York.

We’re looking forward to seeing more 3-D printers pop up at various restaurants in the hospitality industry, and we may not only order from the menu in our hands, but we may eat it, too.