SUTD 3D printing competition to make creative yam dishes

19 Mar 2022

Lianhe Zaobao, 19 Mar 2022, 新科大3D打印比赛 制作芋头创意料理​ (translation)
By placing yam paste into a 3D printer and using it as “food ink”, various shapes like Singapore island, phoenixes, doves, English alphabets, etc., can be 3D-printed into exquisite yam dishes within a few minutes.
78 students from 16 junior colleges and polytechnics, as well as the At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy, participated in the 3D printing event organised by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Armstron​g Industrial yesterday. Participants had to use 3D printing to make creative dishes with yam as the main ingredient.
Year 5 students from Anglo Chinese School (Independent), Ethan Chan (17 years old) and Loh Hong Ming (17 years old), together with Sean Er (22 years old) of the Chef Academy presented a yam puree delicacy inspired by the Singapore Art Science Museum.
Ethan Chan and Loh Hong Ming are no strangers to 3D printing. They have used their school's 3D printer many times to print small plastic campus models. However, it is their first time using ingredients to print food.
Ethan Chan said: “I never thought that I could make food with a 3D printer. This competition opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities of 3D printing.”
Sean Er said that this competition is very special, giving him the opportunity to cooperate with members outside of the culinary profession. A first-time user of a 3D printer, he said that the 3D printer was able to ensure consistent shapes of food, such as printing 19 identical swirl shapes of mashed yam as part of their entry, which is difficult to do quickly by hand.
Another group of students from Singapore Polytechnic, Yeo Jia Min (20 years old) and Aqilah Cheng (19 years old), and Aloysius Hong (20 years old) from the Chef Academy chose to make yam tarts.
Yeo Jia Min said that compared to using plastic for 3D printing, food printing is somewhat more difficult. At the beginning of the competition, as there were still solid yam pieces in their puree, the printing extruder became clogged up. After identifying the problem, they put the mashed yam into the blender and mixed it well, and finally completed their exquisite yam tart successfully.
In his speech, Professor Chong Tow Chong, president of SUTD, said that this 3D food printing competition is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
He said: “Toys, cars, and even human tissue can be made with 3D printers. It is revolutionising various disciplines particularly in manufacturing and healthcare. However, the next frontier of 3D printing is in the printing of food. Imagine being able to create complex structures of food while ensuring customised nutritional value to suit the specific needs of diners. Or perhaps, being able to even print a Michelin starred dish in the comforts of your kitchen.”
Of the 26 teams that participated yesterday, six entered the finals which will take place on June 17, where they will use 3D printing technology to turn food waste into delicious dishes.