Red meat printing initiative prompts 3D pop-up restaurant idea

Terry Sim, 11/05/2017
3D-printed lamb tartare dish prepared for the Melbourne conference

3D-printed lamb tartare dish prepared for the Melbourne conference


THE writing could be on the plate for Australia’s first pop-up fully 3D-printed restaurant.

And beef and lamb and will be on the menu, if Meat & Livestock Australia has anything to do with it.

MLA supported the successful 3D Food Printing Conference Asia-Pacific at Monash University in Melbourne on May 2, which explored red meat opportunities for the technology.

Value chain innovation program manager for MLA, Michael Lee, said about 100 delegates from the red meat industry, research sector and food technology sector attended the conference.

“While results and feedback from the event is currently being collated, the conference generated significant interest within Australia and internationally, particularly around the potential opportunities for the red meat industry to utilise 3D printing technology.”

Mr Lee said there was “early interest” in a pop-up 3D-printed food restaurant company to come to Australia.

“This would include a lamb dish and all other consumables – even the plates, tables and cutlery all being 3D-printed,” he said.

MLA is in preliminary discussions with the company, which has not been named, but it is not Food Ink, which has already launched a 3D-printing restaurant in the United Kingdom.

Food Ink – an initiative that brought together architects, artists, chefs, designers, engineers, futurists, industrials, inventors and technologists – launched the world’s first 3D-printing restaurant in London last year, providing a “one-of-a-kind gourmet experience in which all the food, all the utensils and all the furniture are completely produced through 3D-printing in an immersive futuristic space”.

“We are a conceptual pop-up dinner series where fine cuisine meets art, philosophy and tomorrow’s technologies,” the Food Ink website says.

Meat ink could add value to secondary cuts

3D printing red meat. Picture - Monash University.

3D-printed meat. Picture – Monash University.

Mr Lee said for red meat, 3D printing represented an exciting opportunity to add value to current secondary cuts, trims and by-products by developing ‘meat ink’.

“For example, in the aged care sector, 3D printing provides an opportunity for the red meat industry to offer high protein and nutritious meals that can be presented in various shapes and sizes, and more appetising than the traditional pureed food.”

“This is a sector that has not necessarily been open to traditional red meat products due to issues around chewing and swallowing whole cuts.”

Mr Lee said at the recent Melbourne conference, a finely minced boneless lamb shoulder was the sole ingredient for the ‘meat ink’, and MLA chef Sam Burke demonstrated an intricately-shaped raw lamb tartare dish at the conference.

MLA making 3D printers available for red meat projects

Mr Lee said the MLA Donor Company was now actively seeking expressions of interest from industry to partner with in the 3D printed technology space.

“Identifying the right usage and occasions for 3D printed meat, the target market and the business model innovation required to deliver will be key activities.”

MLA executive chef Sam Burke plating-up a 3D-printed meal

MLA executive chef Sam Burke plating-up a 3D-printed meal

He said MLA was seeing a number of innovations in response to the “designed for me” and “personalised nutrition” trend and would consider the benefits for 3D printed meat products, made with 100 percent meat and with softer texture and perhaps also with inclusion of vegetables, could be a great opportunity for kids snacks and also for aged care.

“We have also seen Michelin star chefs begin to use 3D printers for creating amazing deserts and confectionary – this also is an exciting area for chef inspired 3D-printed meat canapés and tapas.”

Mr Lee said MLA was co-ordinating a program with researchers and 3D printer suppliers where proof of concept 3D-printed meat products can be developed on a small scale.

“We have purchased a unit and have been testing recipes and shapes in readiness for the conference and through the MDC, we are keen to collaborate with interested parties to develop 3D-printed sheep meat products,” he said.

MLA’s research, development and innovation general manager, Sean Starling, said MLA had two 3D food printers available for Australian customers to use for experimenting with red meat raw ingredients.


  • Companies interested in utilising one of the 3D printers to evaluate red meat market opportunities can contact Michael Lee (, or executive chef Sam Burke ( to establish an evaluation project.


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  1. Mayme Rogian, 30/11/2018

    Hey, I love your article. I recently published an post on storing beef. I like to make my own gammon for Christmas!. We will be creating a nice dessert to go with it. The teenagers will be off school and I am sure they are going to enjoy it.

  2. Steve Barnes, 07/07/2017

    I really don’t understand the fanfare on this. To be clear its is further process mush , not whole muscle or even a steak , at best its a reformed meat pattie, no different to a hamburger or rissole. I also interesting is the comments on how it tasted when Sam cooked it , it was smothered in rich buttery sauce as he cooked it.

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