Ever been told to stop playing with your food? Designer Minsu Kim actually encourages it with her “Living Food” entrées that dance and delight both on the plate and on your taste buds. Kim breathes life into her dishes using synthetic biology at the Royal College of Art in London, creating new ways for diners to enjoy their food.
Don’t worry – Kim’s animated entrées are not actually alive, and there are no living organisms hiding inside. The movement of the food is artificially created by synthesizing organic matter (carbon compounds). When you add an appropriate energy source, reactions take place causing movement as the energy is being consumed and exhausted. After the creation ‘metabolizes’ its food, the energy has run out and the food no longer squirms.
When Kim’s interests in industrial design, synthetic biology and robotics converged into these edible creations, she knew she had a great idea. Her goal is to enrich our culinary experience by reminding us that dining can and should be a sensory pleasure. She believes that food in the future will evolve beyond its simple nutritional value into a channel for entertainment.
Because the food seems so lifelike, Kim predicts that her designs may draw initial ethical concerns. There are no actual living cells on her menu though – so she doesn’t believe there is much cause for alarm; she even foresees her dishes becoming restaurant favorites one day. After all, what’s the fun in playing with your food, if your food can’t play back?