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Mylium: soft touch, strong story

Can we develop a new material to create next-level dining experiences?

Imagine that you are dining in a high-end restaurant, the chef serves you with a beautiful edible origami flower, and then pours a sauce on top. Surprisingly, it starts moving! The flower opens and reveals its contents. When going out for dinner in a high-end restaurant, not only the taste, but also the entire experience is important. In this research, the focus is on supporting professional chefs, in creating a new dining experience themselves using shape-changing food materials, while working with the ingredients and equipment available in their own kitchen.

“To start your dinner with something that’s moving, something like that, you are already excited.”
A Chef’s comment

Edible, shape-changing origami structures can be used by chefs to create unique dining experiences. Origami structures are folded from vegetable and fruit-based paper, on which a chitosan solution is 3D-printed. The shape transformation is triggered by a low pH solution, which induces chitosan to swell. The paper composition and chitosan solution were developed while focusing on three requirements; the paper needed to be foldable, reactive with lemon juice and easily made in a restaurant kitchen.

The outcomes of this material research were evaluated with chefs who were guided in folding an origami structure, tested the changeability and were asked to taste the paper. Interviews were transcribed and analysed through Thematic Analysis. Enthusiastic ideas for implementation in dishes were derived and a direction was set for future developments. The analysis also led to speculations about other levels of the interactive experience, encouraging chefs to take part in a new design process.

“It’s small and light but gives such flavour that you can really use that to play with peoples’ minds.”
A Chef’s comment

The developed material is fruit and vegetable based, an edible, natural material. As the paper is made from puree, something beautifully folded can be easily created from the ‘less beautiful’, often wasted fruit and vegetables. The same sustainable focus is shown with the use of overly fermented fruit and vegetables, which are perfect for creating purees, full of healthy living organisms and resulting in very special flavours. The paper itself is not alive, but comes to life when it starts moving and transforming into a different shape.

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