John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Is this what passes as "genuine Italian pizza" nowadays?
There are several points of concern in this promotional video for the "Let's Pizza" vending machine, marketed by a European company that's opening up an office near Atlanta within the year, according to PizzaMarketplace.com. (I'll give you a minute to bookmark that site.)
Let's set aside for now the video's assertion that this automatic snack constitutes "genuine Italian pizza." What I want to know is, why is this company betting on the strategy that robot-made food is somehow better than human food? The advertisement stresses that the pizza is "untouched by human hands" and made in "a human-free environment." Don't people like a little human touch, not to mention all-important quality control? Have we become a society of germophobes that can't stand the thought of chefs putting their fingers in our foodstuffs?
Then there's the boast that "none of the items are frozen." This is of course possible because the available topping are made up almost entirely of various cured meats. Aside from the obligatory margherita version, you have salami, prosciutto and speck. That's not exactly "healthy" dining, as Let's Pizza asserts, although perhaps the toppings would be tweaked for a U.S. audience.
The Let's Pizza machine was invented by Italian Claudio Torghel and is distributed by A1 Concepts, based out of The Netherlands. It's been serving up its tomato and mineral-water-dough delights in Europe for about three years now. If you've tried one of these infrared-baked pizzas, kindly drop a comment to let us know how it compares to commonly available frozen ones.
In spite of its drawbacks, color me intrigued by the $6 price tag and the 150-second cooking time. Having this machine outside your building would probably not be a good thing for calorie counters. Here's an older video featuring Let's Pizza's maker: