Food and Tech: Use the Nabaztag, Save the World?

CNET Article: For Chicago Chef, It's Prepare, Print, Serve

Photo: Homaro Cantu/Moto

A friend of mine sent me this recent article on Homaro Cantu and Moto. I've already expressed my rather mixed feelings on the whole molecular gastronomy concept, but I have to admit, the photos that went along with this article made my little graphic designer's heart go pitter-pat.

It's also interesting to me that this is a CNET article. It's starts off with the standard Moto fare: edible paper, liquid nitrogen, lasers, blah, blah, blah. If you're a foodie, I'm sure you've heard it all before. But this is a story targeted at geeks, not foodies, and it goes on to highlight the technologies that Cantu has implemented. His kitchen is paperless; he uses a proprietary software system that he coded himself to track profits and losses, and his staff utilizes a voice-activated, 60-inch screen projection system for their prep lists. He also uses a Nabaztag for his email. I own a Nabaztag (named Fiverito, a gift from the same friend who sent me the article), and I'm not really convinced that it's functional enough for use in professional setting, but I think it's really cool just on principal. I wonder if Cantu uses Twitter...

Cantu also talks a lot about sustainability. He states that he doesn't "create technologies just to create novel technologies. I create because I see a need or gap that needs to be filled at the social or retail level." I don't entirely buy that multi-purpose utensils, edible ads and robotic bunnies that read email are going to save the world, but I suppose that any idea that intends to move our society in a more eco-friendly direction is a positive.

Molecular gastronomy is definitely interesting, but I thought the following was a very telling statement. When asked what he eats at home, Cantu replied, "My wife banned me from the kitchen. She does all the cooking. I do simple things, like a bagel with cream cheese. I do eat normal food. Pizza and a glass of beer—that to me is a perfect meal." And so it is. Cantu names Marie's Pizzaria and Lounge as the best pizza in Chicago. I'll have to check that out.