August 28, 2022
While the evolution of 3D printing found its start in the early 2000s, the era of printing food has only just begun. With the spreading of such new technologies comes unique challenges, unexplored frontiers and new potential to be unlocked. Materials such as chocolate and cheese have become “staple foods” for food printing, but what happens when we leverage a more carbon-friendly, protein-packed ingredient?
At Bangkok Design Week 2022, FabCafe Bangkok partnered with Exofood Thailand to curate an unforgettable gourmet meal that utilized 3D printing, parametric design (an algorithmic-based design methodology), and a variety of insects as material. Continue reading to learn more about the insect menu experience known as, Inno.Ento.Food.
Check out other FabCafe Bangkok projects featured at Bangkok Design Week:
The Inno.Ento.Food project included both a collaborative menu and chef experience which addressed multiple issues both the edible insect industry and the food 3D printing industry are currently facing. First and foremost, the project aimed at engineering an appetizing dish lineup that could be enjoyed even by people who do not feel comfortable consuming insects. Secondly, it also explored how to preserve the nutritional quality and flavor of the ingredients, which are often lost when subjected to the heat of the 3D printer.
By expanding the culinary applications of insects with more modern and stylish techniques, FabCafe Bangkok aims to support the circular food ecosystem while increasing affordable, tasty and healthy meal alternatives available to all.
FabCafe and Exofood presented the Inno.Ento.Food project, which delivered and gathered feedback on a four-course insect meal featuring two starters, a main course, and a dessert. Thapakorn “Chef Pong” Shinawasi was invited to co-create the menu to ensure each dish was up to the highest gastronomic standards, while FabCafe’s Samustpon Tanapant and Jetsada Wondwancharoen applied parametric design and digital fabrication tools to craft visually appealing plates and pleasant textures that earned praise from guests of Bangkok Design Week 2022.
The four-course menu, from left to right:
- Starter, ruang pueng oan yang bai toey (roasted pandan honeycomb).
- Starter, yam salad kai mod daeng (sour and spicy ant eggs salad).
- Main course, khao na mangda sam jee (rice field, giant water bug and three insects).
- Dessert, kati ice cream (coconut-flavored thai ice-cream made with palm weevils).
Throughout the 2-hour experience, participants were given time to leisurely enjoy each course, take photos, and share their impressions with the creative team. Their valuable feedback will help further refine each recipe and explore novel insect foods that appeal to a wider audience.
Apart from the four-course meal, FabCafe Bangkok is also working with Exofood to develop crackers from grinded insect powder mixed with water and rice. Through a trial-and-error process, the team is investigating new ways to preserve the protein content and other nutritional elements of the base ingredients. The team has designed cracker structures inspired by each insect’s wing patterns and is currently taking on the challenge of 3D-printing the flavor to obtain a healthy, mouth-watering alternative to regular crackers.
Exofood first started farming insects as a way to close the cycle of their organic farm: they can be consumed as food by either animals or humans, used as a natural pest control for cultivation fields, and even turned into non-chemical fertilizer. Insects are not only high in nutrients, they also require less feed, water, energy, and land, and generate substantially lower environmental pollutants.
FabCafe Bangkok reached out to Exofood because the team has long been interested in parametric design and digital tools applied to improved food ecosystems and food experiences. Furthermore, even though insects have been an integral part of Thailand’s gastronomy for a long time, their popularity is at an historic low because the general population has come to associate them with unhygienic practices. Through this ongoing collaboration, FabCafe Bangkok aims to honor local food culture, expand the horizons of food design and contribute to eco-friendly food processing and consumption systems.
What can we do for you?
Contact us if you…
- Are a chef or food business owner interested in experimenting with 3D food printing.
- Are a food supplier with materials or ingredients you want to turn into 3D printing materials.
- Are interested in exploring new ways to apply 3D cold printing to food, like printing ice-cream or other cold recipes.
- Wish to develop food-related products or services prototypes and test them together with the FabCafe community.
Project client: Exofood Thailand
Sponsor: Green Water
Project time: December 2021 – February, 2022
Members: Kalaya Kovidvisith (FabCafe Bangkok director), Samustpon Tanapant (FabCafe Bangkok, parametric design), Jetsada Wondwancharoen (FabCafe Bangkok, parametric design), Athivach Pongsattasin (Exofood Thailand), Chonticha Sujitalom (Exofood Thailand), Charee Boonyavinij (Exofood Thailand), Aviruth Thawansakvudhi, (Exofood Thailand), Thapakorn Shinawasi (Head Chef), Rojjanapol Limsumungkongul (Operating Chef), Trenat Boonyavinij (Sous Chef), Fakram Buasai (Food Fabrication) Dittapong Chutichaiwirath (Photographer).
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