Star Trek’s food ’replicator’, used to synthesize meals out of thin air, was the envy of sci-fi fans too lazy to cook. Now, this culinary fantasy could somewhat become a reality, thanks to a new device that can create the food you crave in 30 seconds. The Genie, which looks like a stylish coffee-maker, can conjure up a varied selection of meals and desserts using little capsules with dehydrated ingredients. Controlled via a smartphone app, the gizmo begins mixing and adding any required liquids from tubes attached to the back of the device, to bake or cook the desired dish at the appropriate temperature. Metro spoke to Israeli entrepreneurs Ayelet Carasso and Doron Marco, from firm White Innovation, about their futuristic kitchen appliance, which is soon to begin distribution to local vendors in Europe and the U.S.
The Genie is quite a small device – how can it prepare real food?
— It's just like a coffee machine: you use whatever capsule your like. For example, if you want a chicken with rice, you choose the capsule for that and put it into the Genie. It knows which capsules you inserted, adds liquids, mixes and cooks it at the exact setting required – it can even customise to your personal tastes (make it more or less crispy, etc.) – and is done in less than a minute.
How many different meals does it do? Does it have limitation with ingredients?
— We are working with a few chefs that are making the recipes. We will have unlimited amount of capsules. We are also working with all kinds of food companies that are making their own branded capsules.
What about those with food allergies? Can it cook some special meals for them?
— One of the amazing thing is that you can have all kinds of capsules for all type of sensitivity – such as gluten-free, sugar-free, no milk, no eggs, etc. Think about a family that eats the same food: one may need more sugar or vitamins, while the other may not. There is no option to do this today, outside of cooking individual meals for everyone, but now the Genie gives you that choice.
Could the Genie help people who are trying to lose weight?
— Yes! Obesity is another issue because the nutritionist tells you that you need to eat several small meals throughout the day, but not many people can do it. Here it's possible for anyone.
When you say ‘capsule’, I’m trying to imagine the taste – and all I can think of is ‘synthetic’ or ‘fake’…
— No, the taste is amazing. It's just like having a chef preparing a meal for you, and you eat it fresh!
The Genie prepares meals for one only and may be good for people to learn more about reducing the waste of food. Did you think about it?
— Yes, one of our purposes is to reduce the waste of food. Today, we throw away more than 30% of the food we buy, so think how much resources we could save by changing it. What’s more, we want to be able to help with food distribution around the globe because there are places that fresh food is an issue to distribute. With the Genie, we will be able to deliver healthy food that will be freshly eaten, with customized food additives. It can make a revolution. And that's a dream for us.
How much will the device cost and when do you intend to put it for sale?
— For now, we are not putting it on the market for the private consumer. Firstly, we are going to market it to coffee-shop chains, offices and then to every households. In Israel we'll launch it in the next few months at the cost of several hundreds of dollars.