How edible capsules can fight waste, but also elevate the dining experience

Lausanne – Dividing his time between Belgium and Switzerland, Bastien Chevrier has a portfolio full of simple yet smart designs, which earned the ECAL graduate a spot in The Challenge.

You want to tackle food packaging?
BASTIEN CHEVRIER: It’s omnipresent these days, and the excess is absurd. Who needs clementines cut, peeled and packed in plastic – or biscuits individually covered in plastic film, put in a plastic tray, enclosed in a cardboard box and wrapped in an outer layer of plastic film?

Nature already makes packaging edible by giving fruits and vegetables skins that protect them from diseases and physical damage, so why can’t we do the same?

How do you propose changing the situation?
Recyclable materials are one solution, but I want to make packaging edible and eliminate waste completely. Nature already does this by giving fruits and vegetables skins that protect them from diseases and physical damage, so why can’t we do the same?

Have you figured out how to do it?
My idea is to incorporate packaging into the meal. I’d use edible, organic capsules made from a series of proteins. Each capsule would be a minimal molecular dish in itself – one that complements the food it contains.

How does it work?
The prepared food is enclosed in a thin protein bubble. Different proteins have different uses: soy could be used for Asian dishes, seaweed for drinks or desserts, and milk protein as a replacement for cream in a steak sauce. The capsules are developed by chefs who finesse the flavours, ensure perfect cooking and presentation, and choose the right capsule for each dish.

Do you foresee a new way of serving food as well?
Meals are injected into the capsular membrane by a robotic arm in front of the diner, making the restaurant table the place where food is both prepared and eaten. I’ve conceived specific robotic arms for specific courses, so the diner will experience a show – or a ballet – of robotic arms preparing the capsules. Each dish is cooked instantly, in small portions to avoid food waste.

This is an edited version of the full Q&A with Chevrier. To read the full piece, which brings hope for those who love marble and hate doing dishes, you can purchase your copy of Frame 124 here.

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