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Virtual Reality-based Fine Dining is Now a Thing

Fine dining enthusiasts can now turn to virtual reality technology for state-of-the-art experiences with Aerobanquets RMX. Labelled as a mixed reality art and dining experience, the offering is available at the James Beard House, a renowned New York fine dining address. Guests who undergo this experience are required to put on VR goggles to see visualisations of the food they are having. Virtual reality technology produces CGI simulations of three-dimensional images to let users gain immersive experiences.

Virtual reality (VR) fine dining experience Aerobanquets RMX is inspired by recipes present in ‘The Futurist Cookbook’, a compilation of surreal recipes. Mattia Casalegno, an Italian-origin interdisciplinary artist is the one responsible for the Aerobanquets RMX project. Dines at the Beard House spoke to Reuters saying that virtual reality technology enhances conventional eating experiences.

Wolfgang Jorde, a financial partner of the James Beard Foundation was present at the VR meal event covered by Reuters. He expressed that the experience of tasting food in virtual reality was quite a contrast from conventional tastings. Jorde explained that VR replaces the conventional view of a diner with a virtual one, thus taking away the presumptions of diners before eating certain food items. Roni Mazumdar, the CEO of Aerobanquets hosted the meal that Jorde and the other guests enjoyed at the venue. Mazumdar also owns the New York restaurants Adda, Dhamaka, and Rahi. The menu drew inspiration from India, with items such as a dal containing lemon dumplings and a goat’s cheese kofta.

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Mazumdar is optimistic that the quality of dining experiences might improve significantly owing to the ambience created by VR. Virtual reality-based eating experiences have already been offered by Japanese restaurants such as Tree by Naked. There have also been trial runs of Aerobanquets RMX in Shanghai and Seoul. He believes that the idea of VR eating has existed close to a century, inspired by The Futurist Cookbook. The cuisine collection, published by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1932, contains a wide variety of surreal recipes. VR dining is still a new trend and one that has a premium price tag attached to it. The seven-course VR eating session offered at the Beard House is priced at $125 per person and lasts for an hour.

Virtual reality has come a long way over the years and new innovations are quite common today. But, there is still inadequate clarity about whether VR as a technology form will reach the point of becoming a mass appealing technology. Recent findings have suggested a drop in investments made in the virtual reality software sector between 2017 and 2018. But, interestingly, VR-specific hardware is witnessing growing demand right now.

Mitchell Davis, the James Beard Foundation’s Chief Strategy Officer, spoke to Reuters, saying that he considers VR eating as an offering that may become successful in making high-cost technology accessible to the masses. He elaborated that technology can change the perceptions of people about food without them having to avail expensive dining experiences.

The James Beard Foundation, situated in the West Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, is reputed for the most prestigious awards in the United States’ restaurant industry. Those interested in experiencing Aerobanquets RMX have to book tickets before January 26.

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