Chicago chef invents edible menu

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Sunday, February 13, 2005 Cordon-bleu chef Homaru Cantu has announced a technique which allows him to create dishes made of edible, inkjet printed paper. Cantu, a head chef at the Moto restaurant in Chicago, has modified an ink-jet printer with the help of computer specialists from local firm Deep Labs and loaded it with cartridges containing concoctions of fruit and vegetables. Using this modified printer Cantu then prints onto edible sheets of soybean and potato starch tasty images downloaded from the web.

“You can make an ink-jet printer do just about anything,” says Cantu. Once the items have been printed they are dipped into a powder made of soy sauce, sugar and vegetables before then being further processed by frying, freezing, or baking them.

Cantu has applied the technique to the printing of menus so that diners can further flavor their soups by ripping up the menu and adding it to the dish.

He hopes that his idea may find its way into popular media. “Just imagine going through a magazine and looking at an ad for pizza. You wonder what it tastes like, so you rip a page out and eat it,” says the chef who is working at perfecting the flavors and has applied for a patent on the technique.

Cantu also has plans for further culinary innovations. He plans to cook steak using a handheld laser that will sear the inside of the steak well done whilst leaving the outside medium rare. He also plans to use the laser to produce bread baked from the inside out thus producing a crust on the inside.

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