Robo-chef stirs hopes for eatery chain - China - Kunming 
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Robo-chef stirs hopes for eatery chain

By : China Daily | Published: 2012-June-6

Automatic cooking machines at work in a restaurant on Changyang Road in Shanghai's Yangpu district on Thursday. Provided to China Daily

Move over chefs, it's time to let robots do the slicing, dicing, stirring and serving.

At least that's the message from a Shanghai company planning to release high-tech cooking machines on the Chinese market this month.

Qiu Jian, founder of Net Taste Investments, said the robots are designed to provide convenience for communities and families, as well as guarantee the standard of Chinese dishes.

The system, with automatic and semi-automatic models, is made up of a pot, stirring equipment and a control board.

Ingredients and seasonings are placed in different compartments and are mixed together in less than 10 minutes.

At the company's restaurant on Changyang Road, diners are able to sample dishes made by the machines.

Jin Wei, director of research and development for Net Taste, said the eatery, with just nine employees, can cater to more than 90 customers at once.

"We can offer food to 300 people during lunch time," Jin said.

The semi-automatic machine has a built-in menu of 300 dishes, while the automatic cooking machine has 200 dishes.

Jin said the company plans to open about 30 restaurants in the city this year, and the number will be expanded to 300 in three years.

So what do the customers think?

"The taste is a bit salty and oily, but it's OK in general," said 32-year-old Wang Weiqi, an IT technician whose office is near Changyang Road. "For an average of 20 yuan ($3.14), it's a reasonable price for lunch."

Wu Hong, a 43-year-old surgeon, added: "For Chinese dishes, it is better to have a chef in the kitchen. Even if it offers Chinese-style fast food, the feeling is a bit weird."

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