Good-bye fast food, vive la good food (tech)?

Blithely discussing robotics and food in the same breath in Bocuse country where lunch-breaks exceeding 45 minutes are the norm, may well raise eyebrows. Nonetheless, we’re salivating at the thought of hearing Philippe Goldman, CEO of Ekim, talk about robots and pizza dough! 

Creating something that doesn’t exist

After 20 years in the beauty and cosmetics field, Philippe Goldman launched the second part of his career at Ekim: “Where food is concerned, I’ve totally changed the sector. I’m running a project that I don’t control and don’t really understand, it’s an intellectual challenge. I like this great leap because it’s technological and questions the role of robots in tomorrow’s society. I’ve met the founders and we’ve taken the time to get to know each other. The project appealed to me because  this robot pizza chef is amazing, I also dubbed it “Pazzi” which means “crazy” in Italian.” At Ekim, we believe in robotic machines… in the service of Man!

An ambitious menu: breaking boundaries

With Pazzi, Ekim intends to offer a new type of restaurateur industry player: “The robot creates the economic conditions that allow us to search out the highest quality ingredients, in contrast to fast food. In addition to fast execution, it also gives us 500,000 possible combinations of pizzas. We’ve spent a lot of time working on this: unlike all other restaurants, you know exactly what time you’ll have your pizza and you’ll be able to track the progress of your pizza and even delay the cooking (by 30 minutes for example if you need to). I really believe in consumer control, in empowerment,” says Philippe.

PAZZI, the robot pizza chef

Robot or no robot, we don’t fool around with quality and taste.

The pizzas are fast and ultra-personalised, but above all… are great pizzas! Thierry Graffagnino, Executive Chef and triple World Pizza Champion describes how he met Ekim’s two founders: “ They contacted me a little over two years ago. The talked to me about their project and were astonished by my very positive reaction. For me it was a do-able project and the important thing was to make a high-quality pizza. That was part of the deal from the outset. We did a lot of testing with the machine, which wasn’t really my comfort zone, and the team was super reactive in ensuring we could produce a very high quality pizza that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to present at the World Championship!”

Collaboration between the Ekim team and Thierry was very close: “I greatly appreciated working with a very reactive, very creative team. I threw them lots of tricky problems but they always found solutions fast. It’s a very big project, one-of-a-kind in the world, to permit a machine to make a very good pizza in a reasonable amount of time!

Bye-bye pizza chefs?

Not at all, according to the World Pizza Champion: “In the pizza world, there is some fear that it will do away with jobs, but I don’t go along with that view at all. Pizza chefs who know their craft and sing while twirling their dough will always be there tomorrow. Pazzi will be installed in places where there’s enormous traffic, shopping malls, airports. In these types of places, you’re generally stuck with what you can find. With Pazzi, pizzas will be customisable for people with allergies, special diets, etc… And they will remain true to tradition to make a great product. We live in a century where everything happens very fast, so that some things are inevitably bad, but some things inevitably good, and this robot, in my view, is one of the good ones.

Thierry whets our appetite in the guise of a conclusion: “So far, everyone who’s tasted Pazzi’s pizzas has been staggered by their quality, and that’s great. What seems totally nuts is to realise that people will discover what a real pizza is… thanks to a robot!