Thursday, February 03, 2005

Eat It

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of foods with edible containers, e.g., clam chowder bread bowls, tacos, etc. For a long time it's been my dream to open a restaurant where people would sit down at tables and be able to eat everything that gets placed on that table — the food, the napkins, the utensils made of pretzels. I'm still trying to figure out how we'd serve people drinks, wavering between the idea of shooting it into their mouths with a gun or just using glasses made of sugar or ice. I was going to call the restaurant "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing" (though I still need to get clearance from the Alka Selzer people).

Anyway, now I fear this guy is beating me to the punch. He has a restaurant in New York where you can eat the menus!

He has some other cool ideas as well:

Mr. Cantu is experimenting with liquid nitrogen, helium and superconductors to make foods levitate. And while many chefs speak of buying new ovens or refrigerators, he wants to invest in a three-dimensional printer to make physical prototypes of his inventions, which he now painstakingly builds by hand. The 3-D printer could function as a cooking device, creating silicone molds for pill-sized dishes flavored, say, like watermelon, bacon and eggs or even beef Bourguignon, he said, and he could also make edible molds out of cornstarch.

He also plans to buy a class IV laser to create dishes that are "impossible through conventional means." (A class IV laser, the highest grade under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's classification system, projects high-powered beams and is typically used for surgery or welding.)

Mr. Cantu said he might use the laser to burn a hole through a piece of sashimi tuna, cooking the fish thoroughly inside but leaving its exterior raw. He said he would also use the laser to create "inside out" bread, where the crust is baked inside the loaf and the doughy part is the outer surface. "We'll be the first restaurant on planet Earth to use a class IV laser to cook food," he said with a grin.

He is testing a hand-held ion-particle gun, which he said is for levitating food. So far he has zapped only salt and sugar, but envisions one day making whole meals float before awestruck diners.