When someone says we eat with our eyes as much as we eat with our mouths it makes you question yourself…really?, but now with the latest 3D printing technology taking the culinary world by storm, food is going to be lifted to a whole new level of excellence. In the desserts world, 3D printing technology can be used to spin powdered sugar into intricate creations that would be hard to produce otherwise.
An accomplished architect, Peter Zaharatos satisfied his sweet tooth by opening “Sugarcube”, a dessert and coffee bar in Long Island City, Queens. You won’t get your average pastries and sweets there. Zaharatos designed many of them as he would design a building, first he designs his idea on paper and with a 3D printer turns his concepts into reality. Once the design is created, Sugarcube’s executive pastry chef Mauricio Santelice turns the architectural designs into delicious desserts.
Zaharatos is well acquainted with 3D printing as it’s the preferred method for making architectural scale models. When he opened Sugarcane, he adapted those skills for chocolate instead of concrete. The architectural influence is obvious in the geometrically shaped chocolates and tall, multilayered cakes. “Pastry chefs are very similar to architects because they’re building and structuring things,” say Zaharatos. “They’re combining very minuscule proportions in ingredients and they’re making things that actually have to stand and hold shape.
Zaharatos designed and build the cafe himself along with his brother, a fellow architect. They used 3D modeling and printing to design much of the space. Zaharatos’ brother runs a 3D design company, Arxis League, and helps them with CAD work and 3D printing. Even though the cafe has an ultra modern design, the cafe introduces the traditional flavors of Greece, where Zaharatos is from. “There’s a great coffee culture in Greece and anyone who’s been there similar to what happens in Italy….basically dessert and coffee in general becomes an event at night.” All the desserts at the cafe are produced in house including Greek yogurt strawberry gelato made with Greek honey. They also use typical Greek ingredients like pistachios and masthia sap.
These intricate geometrical shapes created at Sugarcube definitely fall into the “almost too pretty to eat” category. 3D printed food has not caught on yet with the general public but as more and more restaurants and cafes like this one open up, people won’t be able to get enough, drugstore candy bars just aren’t going to cut it.