Press and guests got an advanced sampling of what lies in store, during the October 11th preview of Food Loves Tech (FLT).
Taking place at Industry City, the “Future of Dinner” event featured a scaled-down version of the Connected Kitchen, presided over by chef and FLT alum Winston Chiu of Bonbite. In addition to overseeing multiple elements of the evening’s feast, he demoed how at-home meal prep can be facilitated with GE smart appliances—one such oven is able to bake a potato in 10 minutes, instead of 45—in concert with Innit software, which offers guided cooking through engaging content.
“You’ve long seen things like sous vide machines and temperature-controlled cooking in professional kitchens. So it’s great to see that experience translated for consumers,” said Chiu. “Since technology makes everything easier, it’s a great way to get people interested in cooking again,” he added. “And as demand increases and they scale production up, prices will come down. Look at flat screen TV’s, you can get a 50-inch flat screen for 300 dollars. So hopefully smart appliances will become more and more accessible.”
As Chiu tended his Bluetooth-equipped induction burners, teetotalers sipped on Remedy Organics, makers of plant-based functional beverages high in protein and probiotics. And drinkers built up a (still virtuous) buzz thanks to Belvedere and Bulleit, who provided the octane for large-batch cocktails, furnished with garnishes from charity partner ReThink—a nonprofit utilizing food excess, which will repurpose waste not just from the dinner but the entirety of Food Loves Tech.
As for the main meal, tables were set with edible garnishes of string beans, lettuces and tiny pattypan squash, courtesy of AeroFarms (a New Jersey-based aeroponics farm) and New York City’s Gotham Greens, a rooftop hydroponic operation.
The first course was truly a collaborative effort, combining the talents of chef Jenny Dorsey and the tech savviness of Foodini, makers of next-gen 3D food printers. Using sustainable Australis barramundi and single-origin spices sourced from Burlap & Barrel, Dorsey whipped up a local sea bass tartare over a 3-D structure formed from coconut puree.
And while previous, forward-looking dinners could well have highlighted offal, seaweed or goat, Food Loves Tech’s 2018 spread sagely showcased another sustainable protein of tomorrow: bugs. Thanks to edible insect advocates, Brooklyn Bugs, arthropods appeared in multiple guises, such as Venison Wellington ringed with silkworm and grasshopper duxelle, wrapped in cricket flour pastry and served with crisped scorpions, and Oatly oat milk ice cream pies, finished with a rim of chili peppered ants.
“When it comes to addressing the issue of food scarcity and how we’re going to feed the world’s population in 2050, the United Nation’s answer is bugs,” said Joseph Yoon, Brooklyn Bugs’ executive director and chef. “Because of this, there was an FAO report released in 2014, which launched a first adopter wave of industries getting involved in the edible insect world. And five years later it’s exploded. So it’s wonderful to see chefs like Winston take our bugs and reimagine them, which helps ease the idea of eating insects as a way of life for more and more people.”
“Oh,” he added, in perhaps the most consequential call of action for the future. “Get out there and vote.”