Photos of actual food made using the new Genie device. Photos of actual food made using the new Genie device. Photos of actual food made using the new Genie device, along with their ingredients. (Photo: White Innovative Ltd.)

Gadget can prepare a meal in 30 seconds

'Star Trek'-inspired device curbs that food craving at warp speed.

White Innovative Ltd., like many other businesses out there, often holds brainstorming sessions that stretch well into the night. One time, the staff frantically searched for a place to deliver some much-needed food to keep those creative juices flowing. Everyone they called already had closed up shop, which led the conversation in an unexpected direction.

“As science fiction lovers, we said, ‘Hey, how cool would it be if we had a Star Trek replicator in our office?’” Ayelet Carasso, CEO of the Israel-based R&D company, told From the Grapevine. “We spent the next 30 minutes fantasizing about the dish we would make.”

Then, as a group, a collective "aha" moment occurred: They could create such a replicator.

Their hunger-induced idea now has come to fruition after two years of experimentation. While not exactly the “Star Trek” tech that makes any food or drink appear out of thin air, their Genie device does a solid 21st-century approximation.

Users put a small baking pod into the device, which is about the size of a coffeemaker. The pod, filled with preservative-free, dehydrated ingredients, then mixes with the necessary liquids from tubes attached to the machine and bakes or cooks the dish. A mere 30 seconds later, the meal or snack is ready.

The company worked with professional chefs to develop recipes, such as chicken and rice, couscous and vegetables, ramen and a chocolate soufflé. White Innovation also is collaborating with food companies to make their own branded capsules.

The Genie will officially launch in Israeli coffee shops in two months with about a dozen dishes (with more forthcoming), and Carasso anticipates being in the U.S. market in 2016. Beyond coffee shops, the Genie – which will cost a few hundred dollars – could be an ideal fit in a variety of markets and sectors, including offices, gyms, schools, trains, hospitals and home use, she said.

New York City-based comedian Dan Nainan sees the Genie catching on in kitchens around the country, especially among “Star Trek” fans like himself and early adopters of technology. “I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he told From The Grapevine. “I like being a pioneer. For example, I recently bought a Tesla and I have a drone coming.”

Would the Genie dishes pack the same nutritional punch as traditional meals? The company says they're using natural ingredients without preservatives – a staple in typical microwavable food.

Carasso sees a future where the Genie will one day prepare capsules specifically tailored for athletes, people with diabetes and those with allergies, such as gluten, milk and eggs. Carasso also sees the Genie helping to reduce food waste, as well as lessen the cost and environmental impact of having fresh ingredients delivered regularly.

“Our goal is to revolutionize the way people eat,” Carasso said.

The Genie device is about the size of a typical toaster.The Genie device is about the size of a typical toaster. (Photo: White Innovative Ltd.)

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Gadget can prepare a meal in 30 seconds
'Star Trek'-inspired device curbs that food craving at warp speed.