But is it Low Carb?

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by FOB, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. FOB

    FOB Guest

    February 3, 2005
    When the Sous-Chef Is an Inkjet


    HOMARO CANTU'S maki look a lot like the sushi rolls served at other upscale
    restaurants: pristine, coin-size disks stuffed with lumps of fresh crab and
    rice and wrapped in shiny nori. They also taste like sushi, deliciously
    fishy and seaweedy.

    But the sushi made by Mr. Cantu, the 28-year-old executive chef at Moto in
    Chicago, often contains no fish. It is prepared on a Canon i560 inkjet
    printer rather than a cutting board. He prints images of maki on pieces of
    edible paper made of soybeans and cornstarch, using organic, food-based inks
    of his own concoction. He then flavors the back of the paper, which is
    ordinarily used to put images onto birthday cakes, with powdered soy and
    seaweed seasonings.

    At least two or three food items made of paper are likely to be included in
    a meal at Moto, which might include 10 or more tasting courses. Even the
    menu is edible; diners crunch it up into a bowl of gazpacho, creating Mr.
    Cantu's version of alphabet soup.

    Sometimes he seasons the menus to taste like the main courses. Recently, he
    used dehydrated squash and sour cream powders to match a soup entree. He
    also prepares edible photographs flavored to fit a theme: an image of a cow,
    for example, might taste like filet mignon.

    "We can create any sort of flavor on a printed image that we set our minds
    to," Mr. Cantu said. The connections need not stop with things ordinarily
    thought of as food. "What does M. C. Escher's 'Relativity' painting taste
    like? That's where we go next."

    Food critics have cheered, comparing Mr. Cantu to Salvador Dali and Willy
    Wonka for his peculiarly playful style of cooking. More precisely, he is a
    chef in the Buck Rogers tradition, blazing a trail to a space-age culinary

    Mr. Cantu wants to use technology to change the way people perceive (and
    eat) food, and he uses Moto as his laboratory. "Gastronomy has to catch up
    to the evolution in technology," he said. "And we're helping that process

    Tucked among warehouses and lofts in the Chicago meatpacking district, Moto
    attracts a trend-conscious crowd. Some guests leave scratching their heads;
    others walk away spellbound by a glimpse of Mr. Cantu's vision of the future
    of food.

    William Mericle, 41, described recent meal at Moto as "dinner theater on
    your plate." He did not care for all 20 small dishes he sampled, but he said
    he liked most of them. He found Mr. Cantu's imagination appealing. "He's
    mad-scientist-meets-gourmet-chef," he said. "Like Christopher Lloyd from
    'Back to the Future,' if he were more interested in food than time travel."

    Mr. Cantu believes that restaurant-goers, particularly diners who are
    willing to spend $240 per person for a meal (the cost of a 20-course tasting
    menu with wine at Moto) are often disappointed by conventional dining
    experiences. "They're sick and tired of steak and eggs," he said. "They're
    tired of just going to a restaurant, having food placed on the table, having
    it cleared, and there's no more mental input into it other than the basic
    needs of a caveman, just eat and nourish."

    At Moto, he said, "there's so much more we can do."

    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.

    The son of a fabricating engineer, Mr. Cantu got his start as a science
    geek. "From a very young age, I liked to take apart things," said Mr. Cantu,
    who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. "All of my Christmas gifts would wind
    up in a million pieces. I actually recall taking apart my dad's lawnmower
    three times to understand how combustible engines work."

    When he was 12, he took a job as a cook and busboy, mainly to earn money for
    remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters that he then took apart. But the
    restaurant business rubbed off on Mr. Cantu, and after high school he
    attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, Ore. A series of
    jobs followed, nearly 50 in all, Mr. Cantu said. He worked as a stagiaire,
    or intern, in some of the top kitchens around the country, eventually
    talking his way into a job at Charlie Trotter's, a well-known restaurant in
    Chicago. He became a sous-chef there before opening Moto last year.

    Mr. Cantu has filed applications for patents on more than 30 inventions,
    including a cooking box that steams fish. The tiny opaque box, about three
    inches square, is made of a superinsulating polymer. Mr. Cantu heats the box
    to 350 degrees in an oven and places a raw piece of Pacific sea bass inside
    it. A server then delivers it to diners, who can watch the fish cook.

    Assisting Mr. Cantu with what he calls his " 'Star Wars' stuff" is DeepLabs,
    a small Chicago product-development and design consultancy. Mr. Cantu meets
    weekly with the crew of aerospace and mechanical engineers, programmers and
    product designers at DeepLabs for brainstorming sessions.

    "I tell them I want to make food float, I want to make it disappear, I want
    to make it reappear, I want to make the utensils edible, I want to make the
    plates, the table, the chairs edible," Mr. Cantu said, "I ask them, what do
    I need to do that?"

    Ryan Alexander, an industrial graphic designer at DeepLabs, said he and his
    colleagues at the company, which has designed more conventional products for
    Motorola and Home Depot, are enthusiastic about Mr. Cantu: "We don't say
    no," he said.

    Using engineering, graphics and animation software, DeepLabs designers have
    begun to turn Mr. Cantu's dreams into realties.

    They have created mockups of his all-in-one utensil, a combination fork,
    knife and spoon, as well as utensils with pressurized handles that release
    aromatic vapors. The latest prototype is a utensil with a disposable,
    self-heating silicone handle that can be filled with liquefied or pureed
    foods. A carbon-dioxide-based charge heats the food (soup, for example), and
    the diner squeezes the handle to release it onto a spoon. Mr. Cantu
    envisions many applications for such a utensil, from military meals to

    Mr. Cantu said his experiments and kitchen inventions could one day
    revolutionize how, where and what we eat. "This will tap into something," he
    said. "Maybe a mission to Mars, I don't know. Maybe we're going to find a
    way to grow something in a temperature that liquid nitrogen operates at.
    Then we could grow food on Pluto. There are possibilities to this that we
    can't fathom yet. And to not do it is far more consequential than just to
    say, hey, we're going to stick with our steak and eggs today."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  2. Bunky42

    Bunky42 Guest

    JC Der Koenig wrote:
    > Condoleezza Rice isn't low carb.
  3. Ada Ma

    Ada Ma Guest

    I didn't read to the end - but I have an image in my mind where the entire
    restaurant is inkjet printed and the whole restaurant got gobbled down by the
    diners and I just got a bit scare to think any further...

    FOB wrote:

    > February 3, 2005
    > When the Sous-Chef Is an Inkjet
  4. That's why you're still fat.

    You take stupid to a new level. -- MFW

    "Graphic Queen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Tue, 08 Feb 2005 01:57:44 GMT, "JC Der Koenig"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Rice isn't low carb.

    > Neither are you and that is why you are going bye bye in my kill file.
  5. That's why you're still fat.

    You take stupid to a new level. -- MFW

    "Graphic Queen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Tue, 08 Feb 2005 01:57:44 GMT, "JC Der Koenig"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Rice isn't low carb.

    > Neither are you and that is why you are going bye bye in my kill file.
  6. That's why you're still fat.

    You take stupid to a new level. -- MFW

    "Graphic Queen" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Tue, 08 Feb 2005 01:57:44 GMT, "JC Der Koenig"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>Rice isn't low carb.

    > Neither are you and that is why you are going bye bye in my kill file.
  7. Moon Shooter

    Moon Shooter Guest

    Once(20+ years ago) I ask my professor;
    Why is rice 2/15? (protein 2, carb 15)
    Why do you ask?
    There are so many different rices such as Brown rice, Sweet Rice, Formosa
    Because it is easier for us to compute. When we put them together for one day
    diet, all the difference of foods will cancel each other out HOPEFULLY :)
  8. LCman

    LCman Guest

    Mmmmm, Paper.