A forward-thinking man | Bleader

A forward-thinking man

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The Trib reports today on the Museum of Science and Industry's new exhibit, Fast Forward . . . Inventing the Future, which highlights brand-new inventions. One of the featured inventors is Homaro Cantu of Moto, who's already known for his edible paper. According to Fast Company's 2006 profile of Cantu, he uses a "food replicator," which is basically a "tricked-out printer," to make paper in flavors like cheesecake or mojito. He now wants to take the printer to a new dimension, literally. Cantu believes it's possible to create a machine that can make any food--a bacon cheeseburger, for example--using three-dimensional printers and plant fiber and deliver it through a telephone transmission (or something like that--the article doesn't go into a lot of detail on just how it would work).

Homaro Cantu, executive chef of pricey, adventurous Moto restaurant on Chicago's Near West Side, is something of a Renaissance man. A display features some of his inventions, including low-energy ovens that can cook at a fraction of the cost of conventional ovens, and an adapted printing machine he has built that prints on flavored, edible paper of his own invention.

"I am building these in my basement with scant funding," said Cantu, "so think of what we might be able to do with a bigger, well-funded operation." Income from his edible paper may help, as advertisers have expressed an interest.

His larger dreams include machines that could, by following recipes on a molecular level, replicate any food that exists, using three-dimensional printers and plant fiber to deliver a tasty bacon cheeseburger over a telephone transmission.

"If you can replicate meat on a molecular level, you can do this," said Cantu. "I am 32, and I think this will happen in my lifetime."

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