Robo-chefs cooking up a storm in Asia
Sunday 27 February 2011
At one restaurant in Shanghai, passing your compliments on to the chef will fall on deaf - and metallic - ears.
That's because the fast-food joint called Wishdoing has recently "hired" two robotic chefs to do the cooking and the washing up.
According to the Shanghai Daily, the automated robots are able to cook dishes like Kung Pao Chicken, a spicy diced chicken with peanuts, or Mapo Tofu, bean curd with chili sauce, in three minutes and serve eight people.
With the press of a button, restaurant staff can choose the dish, ingredients and quantities, and wait for the machines - self-contained stoves, pots, and utensils - to clean the pot from the previous meal and prepare the next dish. Each robot is reported to have cost $30,350 USD.
Automated manpower - also referred to as Artificial Intelligence Cooking - has become a growing trend in Asian countries, with restaurants buying robotic waiters and chefs to staff their establishments: machines don't grumble about being tired, need cigarette or lunch breaks, and won't spit in your food.
At Dalu Robot in the eastern province of Shandong, China, for instance, motion-sensored robot waiters cycle around the restaurant and deliver meals when they're flagged down.
Another restaurant in Nagoya, Japan, FuA-Men - or Fully-Automated raMen - uses an assembly-line chef that can dish out up to 80 bowls of ramen a day.
Robot waiters at Hajime restaurant in Bangkok not only serve diners their meals with a friendly, but steely smile, they can also bust a move and provide dinner entertainment.
Not only are they efficient, tireless workers, but restaurateurs say that robot chefs and waiters eliminate human error and reduce the chance of food contamination.
That was a similar premise behind the automat in the early 20th century, a fast-food restaurant that was "high-tech" for its time, delivering food and beverages by coin-operated machines and being replenished by workers in the background.
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