Boston's latest culinary hot-spot takes the concept of fast and fresh in a whole new direction with robot-prepared meals in three minutes or less.
Conceptualized and created by a handful of robotics engineers from MIT, Spyce bills itself as “the world’s first restaurant featuring a robotic kitchen that cooks complex meals.”
“Once you place your order, we have an ingredient delivery system that collects them from the fridge,” 26-year-old co-founder Michael Farid explained to the Sun Journal. “The ingredients are portioned into the correct sizes and then delivered to a robotic wok, where they are tumbled at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The ingredients are cooked and seared. And once the process is complete, the woks tilt downward and put food into a bowl. And then they’re ready to be garnished and served.”
The team of tech geniuses have partnered with Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud to ensure their meals are delicious, surprising and cost-effective.
According to the Spyce website, the robotic concept is more than just a gimmick. It is a way for the founders to offer wholesome, creative food combinations at an price point the general public can afford.
Using colorful touch-screens, patrons customize their own meals in a variety of flavor combinations and themes such as Latin, Thai, Mediterranean and Hearth.
Each compostable bowl of veggies, grains, meats and spices costs $7.50.
Although the restaurant's concept eliminates the need for traditional chefs, the founders of Spyce are quick to point out that human staff are still a necessity.
Employees include “guides” who greet customers upon entering the restaurant and assist them with the ordering process; food preppers who work overnight to ensure everything is ready for the next day; and “garde mangers” (French for “keeper of the food”) who add finishing touches to the bowls like pumpkin seeds, cilantro and crumbled goat cheese before they reach the customers.
According to Farid, the robots lower operating costs and enhance the dining experience, but are not intended to replace it.
“Our restaurant is really efficient because people focus on what people are good at, but the robot handles the high volume tasks – like the cooking and washing – that robots are good at,” he said. “At the end of the day, our product is not a technology product – it’s an experience and a delicious meal.”
H/T to the Sun Journal