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Seattle Food Geek

Cooking with Lasers?

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This weekend I used a laser cutter to create a decorative garnish out of nori. I've experimented in the past with laser nori for makizushi, but with mixed results. Certain geometric patterns work well, but when the nori comes in contact with moisture, it becomes elastic and the patterns are distorted. The best results have been with box sushi.

Anyhow, I think I found a good use of laser-cut nori in this dish. It's a duck consomme with a 1" thick round of sous vide potato. I found a Japanese maze pattern that I used for the nori design, and the whiteness of the potato round is a nice contrast against the dark seaweed.

duckconsommewithlasercutnori.jpg

In case you're interested, the recipe is here: http://seattlefoodgeek.com/2010/04/duck-consomm-with-sous-vide-potato-laser-cut-nori/

Has anyone else been using lasers in the kitchen, for making garnishes or for cooking/cutting/searing food?


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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Wow, that is SO beautiful! Thanks for posting.

SusieQ

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Simply amazing.

What kind of laser do you use?


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I used a 30W CO2 computerized laser cutter. I don't know the model information off-hand, but suffice it to say that you don't need 30W to cut through nori :-)


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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I haven't worked with pastillage, but I think I may have to give it a shot. My guess is that the laser-cut edges will end up browned/burnt from the heat generated by cutting, but it's worth an experiment! I'll be sure to post my results.


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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That's gorgeous. I think we have a new champion for the most intersting first post. Welcome to eG.

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I haven't worked with pastillage, but I think I may have to give it a shot. My guess is that the laser-cut edges will end up browned/burnt from the heat generated by cutting, but it's worth an experiment! I'll be sure to post my results.

Thanks! Browned edges could be attractive, you never know...

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FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS! Sweet...


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Ha, I wish I had my own kitchen laser. I might finally be able to realize my vision of building a Frank Gehry gingerbread house :-)

Thanks, all, for the warm welcome to eGullet! Looking forward to continued conversations.


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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Laser-cut nori -- how cool is that?

I recall reading about lasers in the realm of food processing. I don't remember if it was for cutting, measuring, or some other task. Lasers are used for printing and reading barcodes, for example.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I am a surgeon with a lot of experience with using a CO2 laser. I have no idea how much flexibility your laser has (btw how did you come by it?) but with surgical lasers you can finely focus or defocus the laser spot. The browning you speak of may be because the beam is somewhat defocused. I hope you are aware of the dangers of the laser beam which can bounce off some surfaces and ricochet around burning where you might not expect it to hit.

In surgery we use this property to burn on the back side of structures we cannot easily move out of the way by placing small mirrors behind the structure and reflecting the beam off them. Perhaps you have laser experience and I am preaching to the choir but it is well to remember that lasers are dangerous as well as useful.

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@LRunkle Thank you for bringing up this safety concern about laser use. The laser I'm using is an enclosed, computerized laser cutter, and the beam is focused to a precise point. The burning I've experienced generally occurs when the object being cut is thick - 1/4" or more - and the parts that burn are above or below the focal point.

Admittedly, I'm far from an expert on cutting lasers so safety warnings like this are greatly appreciated!


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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This is so cool I had to spend some time googling laser cutters.

I'm imagining lasing perfect grill marks onto a sous vide'd steak. Or why stop with the classic cross hatch when you sear any image into it.

I wonder if it could cut a sheet of pasta.

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As long as we're on the subject, I figured I'd share my technique for pumpkin carving :-) The video below shows the 2nd pass of etching the poem "The Raven" into a pumpkin about 7" in diameter

Below are a few examples of the other geeky pumpkins I've etched with the laser.

image1.png

image.png

Here's a link to a detailed paper I wrote on carving/etching pumpkins with a laser, in case you're interested.

http://seattlefoodgeek.com/2009/10/how-to-carve-pumpkins-with-a-laser/


SCOTT HEIMENDINGER
Co-Founder, CMO

Sansaire

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Your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I've already built your circulator and really enjoy your interesting forays into high-tech cookery.

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