Chefs and food critics consider 'plating' -- the art of food presentation -- to be an integral part of providing a good dining experience. Sometimes, though, certain restaurateurs can go overboard with the concept.
Quince, a triple Michelin Star restaurant in San Francisco, is taking the art of food presentation to a whole new level by using iPads as dishes.
Diners at Quince who order a dessert named "A Dog in Search of Gold" are served crispy white truffle croquettes atop an iPad whose screen runs video of a dog hunting for truffles in a forest.
Michael Tusk, head chef at Quince, came up with the idea as a method to educate his customers about the prized fungus while acknowledging the technological advances of 'Silicon Valley' at the same time.
"Living in San Francisco for over 20 years, I have witnessed the tech boom and I wanted to combine a little bit of gastronomy with technology and a little bit of education," he told The Mercury News. "The idea was simply about taking the guest on a voyage to being out truffle hunting and then having a moment when the truffle is dug from the ground."
The iPad dishes, made instantly popular by multiple social media users, initially raised questions about hygiene. However, these concerns were resolved when Tusk explained how his restaurant uses the iPads.
Quince slips the Apple devices into custom-made boxes designed specifically for the restaurant by Luke Barter, a local San-Franciscan woodworker. The box has a plastic screen above the iPad which is sterilized after every use -- the food never touches the iPads directly. Quince has 20 such iPads along with the custom cases to use for the dish.
The restaurant which received its third Michelin Star in 2017, is already gaining attention with its iPad gambit.
"In a sign that even the most prestigious restaurants are struggling to maintain their cutting edge we learn today that (Quince's) chefs have cooked up a bold new plan to grab the Instagram-ready eyes of customers: Dishes served on iPads," wrote Jack Morse on the website SFist.
The idea of serving food on unusual dishes is not a new one and previous attempts to do so have been far less successful than Quince's. Restaurant-goers receiving their food on hats, shovels, and even tennis racquets sparked off a "We Want Plates" trend across Twitter and Reddit. Let's see how members of that movement view Quince's idea of using iPads as dishes.