The South East Technological University (SETU) 3D printing programme has taken a leap into the gastronomy scene, through a pioneering collaboration with a local restaurant.
The alliance between AMASE (Additive Manufacturing Advancing the South East) and 3DWIT has resulted in distinctive dessert platforms for Waterford City's The Old Couch Cafe.
The casual fine-dining restaurant had introduced a new Baked Alaska pineapple and tarragon sorbet dessert served to customers on a lollipop stick.
Now the dessert is presented on top of a miniature seat, resembling an old couch to reflect the restaurant’s name, custom-made by the team at SETU.
Chef Luis Martin took over the running of The Old Couch Cafe in April. With the mantra ‘Something old, something new, something foraged,’ the popular eatery prides itself on using local suppliers and sustainable practices in the creation of its dishes.
Prior to taking the reins there, Luis worked in Michelin star restaurants in his native Spain and five-star resorts in Ireland including Fota Island and Mount Juliet.
He says, “We had no idea that you could print something like this. Our customers love it.
"The finished piece is so detailed and looks incredible.
"It looks so much like an old couch that people have tried to brush the dust off it but it’s all part of the design.
"I believe there is huge potential for restaurants to work with places like SETU.
"We’re already looking at our next project.
"We want to offer something different to customers, for us it is all about the experience and having unique and well-designed tableware is part of that.”
Students who partake in the Additive Manufacturing course at SETU, where the dessert holders were created, have access to industrial Metal and Polymer 3D printers at both Carlow and Waterford campuses, worth in excess of €3 million.
The machinery can create a range of products from quick design iterations to high quality final prototypes.
The technologies enable people at the facility to hone their skills in 3D printing and prepare for a career in additive manufacturing, which has uses across multiple industries from aerospace to med-tech, and precision engineering.
Programme Coordinator David Alarco said “This collaboration with The Old Couch Cafe is an example of the unexpected ways in which 3D printing has uses, and it goes to show what a versatile and innovative type of manufacturing it is.
"We were delighted to support a great local business with this initiative and the participants on the course had great fun using the technology at the facility in SETU to create a customised, multi-coloured, multi-material piece that works perfectly for the dessert presentation in the restaurant - the Baked Alaska lollipop stick fits exactly into the old couch creation.”
The part-time degree in Additive Manufacturing at SETU is being delivered in a blended mode over two 12-week semesters starting in September.
It forms part of the AMASE (Additive Manufacturing Advancing the South East) project and brings together expertise and equipment from the SEAM (South Eastern Applied Materials Research Centre) and Design+ Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways in Waterford and Carlow, as well as 3DWIT, Ireland’s first dedicated centre for 3D printing and training. Applications are now open at https://www.wit.ie/courses/bsc-in-additive-manufacturing.