Picture yourself in the year 2017; you've just finished dinning at a five star restaurant. Your meal is cooked to perfection. Naturally, you want to give your regards to the chef. Your server looks at you confused, explaining there is no chef, no cook—your meal was made by a pair of robotic arms.
It sounds like a crazy science fiction gimmick, but creator Moley Roberts says that the robotic chef will be ready by 2017. Roberts also says that “users will be able to select one of 2,000 dishes from their phone and the robotic hands in the automated kitchen will make it.”
When finished, this marvel of technology is reportedly able to “even teach us how to become better cooks,” says Roberts. However, as always, with progress comes fear—he fears of job losses in kitchens, and even the effacement of the fine art of cuisine. Yet some believe that these robotic chefs can do more good than we ever imagined.
“Anyone who's worried about this is really making a big deal about nothing,” comments Heather Gill. Gill has been a kitchen superior at a Montana’s for over a year handling budgetary issues, labor concerns and many other legal concerns a restaurant tends to have. She explains that she's always looking for new ways to help, but anyone who would have concerns over automatic kitchens or robotic chefs has zero fears.
Gill mentions that the P.R. nightmare alone could close a business down if they replaced an entire kitchen staff with robots. She states that any successful company involving a kitchen would be interested in Roberts' invention but those that fear robots replacing them in the workforce are just being overly concerned about nothing. “Not to mention the cost alone to buy multiple robots and maintain these devices would cause most places to go bankrupt in a few months” says Gill.
She does mention that if restaurants like hers were to purchase this “iron chef”, it would mainly be done as a side show to attract customers. “Really it would be more of a gimmick than anything else, similar to those smart tables a few years back.” She stresses these robot chefs appear to be more of a marvel of robotics than cooking advancement.
A Canadian Naval officer can shed some light on some of the issue as well. Willum Weinberger is a member of The Canadian Navy and has spent the last four years as a cook at the Canadian Forces Base Halifax (CFBH). He can attest that a pair of robotic hands could be a big help. “It would be really helpful for prep work or even doing last minute stuff, but ultimately I don't think I'm going to be replaced anytime soon” says Weinberger.
Weinberger also has the benefit of years of sailing around the globe providing aid to those in need and clearing out local restaurants on the side. He comments that, often times on shore leave, larger group of naval offices will quite literally eat everything in stock at a local bar or tavern; a robotic cook could be of help there too. “As a cook for the navy, I know these guys can put a lot away, so I can fully see the benefit an extra pair of hands could have when we come in as a group.”
As for the loss of the art of cooking he explains that his travels across the globe have shown him that people love to cook, and no machine will take that away. He mentions that all over Europe there is access to technology that makes cooking easier, but many places still do things the old fashioned way no matter what. “It's just a matter of tradition to do things a certain way and no machine can take that from them or us” says Weinberger.
Weinberger does stress that, in theory, these robots could do a lot of good all over the world. He explains his theory with personal experience. When he and the navy provide aid to areas in need, clean and easily accessible food and water can make all the difference. Perhaps these robotic chefs could be the answer if they became affordable.
“It seems to be that the people who could benefit from this the most won't get it, but from now to 2017 a lot can change. Here's hoping those who truly need this will get it.”
In theory, these robots could do a lot of good all over the world. He explains his theory with personal experience. When he and the navy provide aid to areas in need, clean and easily accessible food and water can make all the difference. Perhaps these robotic chefs could be the answer if they became affordable.