The chef robot will not take your
job. Not if you don’t let it.
By Stafford DeCambra, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC
When I began as a chef in
the 1970s, the exciting tech
arriving in the kitchen was the
vertical mixer and the Buffalo
Chopper. They certainly made
work easier, but you don’t see
them much anymore. That is the
nature of new tech. It eventually
becomes obsolete, replaced by
something more efficient.
Earlier this year I saw a
piece of equipment that can
steam, microwave and grill in
one unit and the resulting meal
was flawless. Combitherms
are routine in commercial kitchens. In Boston there’s a near-fully
automated restaurant, Spyce, dreamed up by MIT students and
backed by chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller. Cutting edge and
culinary has always been a natural pairing.
Faster and cheaper robots are coming but I believe, with the right
mindset, chefs will never be obsolete. We have to keep up. Think of
tech as a new trend, one you master and then adapt for your own use.
There will always be something “new” in our world, be it a technique,
ingredient, or as we are seeing now, artificial intelligence (AI).
Our defense is our knowledge, based on our own life experiences
and the art of serving real humans real food. Can a robot make a perfect
hollandaise? Maybe. But could a robot improvise a menu when kiwis
are delivered instead of kumquats? Can a robot adapt a dish to suit
a finicky - but favorite - customer? Can a robot keep a kitchen staff
engaged day after day? We are the creative force in the kitchen and
robots, for all of their uses, are not renowned for creativity.
Perhaps we won’t need to personally supervise every dish in the
not-so-distant future but think of the freedom this can provide you.
What will you do with this extra time?
As always, the future is what you make it.
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