Ah, the Robot Chef - who doesn't want the Chef of the Future?
(Spyce automatic robot kitchen)
Seven autonomously swirling cooking pots — what the restaurant calls a “never-before-seen robotic kitchen” — hum behind the counter at Spyce, which opened Thursday in the city’s downtown.
Push a touch-screen menu to purchase a $7.50 meal called “Hearth.” A blend of Brussels sprouts, quinoa, kale and sweet potatoes tumbles from hoppers and into one of the pots. The pot heats the food using magnetic induction, then tips to dunk the cooked meal into a bowl. Water jets up to rinse it off before a new order begins.
Founded by four former MIT classmates who partnered with Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud, the restaurant has hired people to do the trickier prep work — parboiling rice, rinsing and chopping vegetables, cutting meat and reducing sauces in an off-site commissary kitchen. It also employs a handful of people for customer service and to garnish the robot-cooked blends with fresh toppings.
Um, I'd rather not do the prep work...
As Technovelgy readers might guess, I'm totally ready for robotic chefs of all kinds. I'm not alone; this is a century-old idea, at least. Consider the Electric-Automatic Household Robot Cook, from Elizabeth Bellamy's 1899 story Ely's Automatic Housemaid:
The return mail brought me a reply stating that two Electric-Automatic Household Beneficent Geniuses had been shipped me by express. The letter enclosed a pamphlet that gave a more particular account of the E. A. H. B. G. than the circulars contained. My friend’s invention was shaped in the likeness of the human figure, with body, head, arms, legs, hands and feet. It was clad in waterproof cloth, with a hood of the same to protect the head, and was shod with felt. The trunk contained the wheels and springs, and in the head was fixed the electric battery. The face, of bisque, was described as possessing “a very natural and pleasing expression.”
I opened the oblong box, where lay the automatons side by side, their hands placidly folded upon their waterproof breasts, and their eyes looking placidly expectant from under their waterproof hoods.
“Now, which is Bridget, and which is Juliana — which the cook, and which the housemaid?” This distinction was made clear by dial-plates and indicators, set conspicuously between the shoulders, an opening being cut in the waterproof for that purpose. The housemaid’s dial-plate was stamped around the circumference with the words: Bed, Broom, Duster, Door-bell, Dining-room Service, Parlor Service, etc. In like manner, the cook’s dial-plate bore the words that pertained to her department...
(Read more about the Electric-Automatic Household Robot Cook )
Compare to the robot chef from Anthony Boucher's 1943 story Robinc, the robot cook from Lester del Rey's 1938 Helen O'Loy and to the automated restaurant from Edgar Rice Burrough's 1912 Princess of Mars.
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