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Modern Marvel: Robot Chefs In Boston Restaurant

Michelin Star Chef, Daniel Boulud launches seven autonomously swirling cooking pots behind the counter of Spyce in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, last Thursday, May 3, 2018.

The restaurant describes their place as a “never-before-seen robotic kitchen.” With just a push on 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, and then tips to dunk the cooked meal into a bowl. Water jets up to rinse it off before a new order begins.

Star Chef Boulud’s new venture was made possible with four robotics students, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The MIT students approached the legendary chef with an idea of creating a restaurant in which robots make the food. Impressed with the technology that the MIT team showed him, Boulud became an investor and culinary director.

The four MIT students namely Michael Farid, Brady Knight, Luke Schlueter, and Kale Rogers, came up with the idea as broke college students wanting better food for less, thinking the robots could save on costs while still allowing for customization of dishes.

Boulud also recruited the chef who would create the recipes for the machines to execute.

Chef Sam Benson, who used to work for Boulud as an executive sous chef at Café’ Boulud, is the brains behind the mix of recipes that can be customized by customers. Chef Benson has had the engineers build into the system programming that blocks specific ingredients from some bowls to make sure that the customers get what they want while ensuring them that they wouldn’t create something Chef Benson would deem incompatible and disgusting.

According to Brady Knight, co-founder and engineer of the new robot chef, “The openness of the design was something we knew we wanted from the beginning. It is kind of a show. It’s fun to see what’s going on behind the scenes. We didn’t want to hide anything because we think what we made is pretty cool.”