Tiny 3D chef cooks you animated food in new UK ‘dining concept’

A new restaurant experience that uses visual mapping and 3D projections to tell a story on the dinner table is coming to the UK later this year.

When you go to a restaurant, it’s unlikely you’ll actually get to meet the chef cooking your food – and preparation is generally kept behind closed doors. But a new dining concept called Dinner Time Story brings a miniature chef to life on your dinner table, all through the magic of visual mapping.

By mapping your dining table and the objects on it (e.g. your plates and cutlery), the creators of Dinner Time Story are able to project a virtual story onto the tabletop. Guests can watch as the whimsical Le Petit Chef prepares your meal – which is replaced with real food at the end, we should add – as the below video shows:

“Unlike many other dining shows, we have created our story around the food,” explains Nadine Beshir, Dinner Time Story’s producer. “We believe that the gourmet cuisine should be the main focus, with the story-telling aspect accentuating each dish while also keeping diners entertained and enchanted throughout their meal.”

The concept and character of Le Petit Chef was developed by a Belgian artist collective called Skullmapping. For the UK launch, Le Petit Chef will be taking part in a new visual story called ‘In The Footsteps Of Marco Polo’, which will take guests “on journey in the footsteps of Marco Polo from Marseilles to Arabia, India, the Himalayas to China”.

Speaking about the 3D technology, Filip Sterckx, co-founder of Skullmapping, said: “The 3D effect in our videos is often thought of as a hologram or a 3D projection. In fact, however, it is a normal projection. We use special optical techniques, length distortions from the right angle to produce the effect or illusion of 3D.”

Along with 3D projections, the Marco Polo story will also include props, soundtracks, and scents, which will make guests “breathe the icy air of the Himalayas one moment, and feel hot and heady in an Arabic souk the next”.

Although Dinner Time Story will be a first for London, it’s already been available for some time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where its creators say it had a “hugely successful launch”. Dinner Time Story’s producers are now looking for a London restaurant to host the experience for a three-month period, with a view to debut the show in October 2017.

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