Have you ever looked at the decorations on a wedding cake or dessert and wondered how long they took a baker to create? Now there's an increasing chance that fancy filigree was created by a 3D printer instead.
Mary Lee Chin is a registered dietitian. She said more and more chefs are using 3D printers in their kitchens to make beautiful and meticulous designs they couldn't do by hand.
"Chefs are making incredible intricate shapes of their foods using sugar or chocolate or other paste type applications," said Chin.
A 3D printer called the Foodini by Natural Machines is being used around the world in high-end restaurants, creating edible masterpieces. Even the famous candy store, Dylann’s Candy Bar in New York City is using 3D printers to make candy.
Currently, 3D food printers use liquid or powdered food material as the printing medium. Take the Pancake Bot for example. It’s the first at home 3D printer capable of printing pancakes by automatically dispensing batter directly on the griddle.
Slim Geransar with Pancake Bot says kids love it. “Biggest is when the pancake bot actually flips it and that's when the final design is revealed. And just their face and you can see how happy they are because they know they are the ones who designed that in the software themselves," said Geransar.
While pancakes and chocolates are delicious, Mary Lee Chin believes the future of 3D food printing will be creating delicious healthy food out of nutritious creatures we would never think about eating.
"There's a group that advocated eating insects for high protein content most of us would not find that very palatable. But if we can grind insects into a powder and put it in a cookie or some other food product and it's made through a 3d food printer it might be more tempting to eat it," said Chin.
Before that happens, 3D food printers and their creations are still expensive.
"3D printing when that first came out people were blown away. The price for a standard 3d printer was about $10,000,” said Geransar. But he says that price is coming down and right now there are some 3D printers for about $1,000.
Perhaps the final question is, does the pure awe go away when you find out a 3D food printer was behind an intricate creation you thought was hand-made?