Are robots about to take over the world-wide famous culinary art of pizzas? This is what French start-up Ekim believes with its brand new concept of a pizzaiolo robot.
Usually seen in factories, this robot is capable of spreading tomato sauce on the pizza base, put the pizza in the oven, take a cardboard box and cut the pizza.
The robot gestures have been synchronized on those of a real-life pizzaiolo, from the art of spreading the dough to the technique of putting oil and pepper on top of a steaming pizza.
Able to perform several tasks at once with its three arms, inventors say the pizza-making robot can deliver a pizza every thirty seconds and up to 120 an hour, when a simple human reaches at best 40 pizzas an hour.
“Oddly, we are not faster than a pizzaiolo as we make a pizza in 4 minutes and 30 seconds, because the pizzas are made on demand in front of the customer, we take time to cook them well, to put the ingredients. But the robots have three arms, can co-ordinate their tasks and make several pizzas at once,” CEO of Ekim, Phillippe Goldman, said.
But it’s not all about being fast. All the ingredients offered to the customers are organic and carefully selected in France and Italy.
The idea sprouted in the heads of two French engineers as they were still in university. Fed up with eating low-quality fast food – the only meals they could afford at the time – they started thinking about a solution which could reconcile rapidity and quality at any hour of the day.
As one would with a traditional vending machine serving coffee or snacks, the concept will allow anyone to order a freshly cooked pizza at any time of the day or night.
The robot pizza hasn’t left its showroom just outside Paris but Ekim are currently looking for a place in the French capital to install their autonomous restaurant and plan to franchise their concept as soon as 2019 for it to cross the French border into Europe and the rest of the world.
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But at the O’Scia pizzeria in central Paris, the chef is made of flesh. Neapolitan born and bred, Vittorio Monti has golden hands and the pizzas that come out of his oven are as close as it gets to pizza heaven. His art, he says, cannot be reproduced by a robot.
Although he admits a human being will always cost more than a robot, there’s no way a robot can adapt to the living ingredients he uses every day.