'Robot chef' cooks up veggie burgers at Israel restaurant

Herzliya (Israel) (AFP) – An Israeli fast food restaurant is serving up a veggie steak made and cooked by a robot that tailors ingredients and cooking time to customer tastes.


"It's the first time that a machine is making a personalised hamburger by itself," said Racheli Vizman, CEO of SavorEat, an Israeli start-up that specialises in meat alternatives.

Customers can use an app to choose the amount of vegetable protein or fat in their "steak", as well as its size and how they want it cooked, she said.

The "robot chef", which is the size of a large oven, can make three different steaks simultaneously -- though a human staff member makes up the burgers.

It mixes ingredients including beans, potatoes and chickpeas to create a texture that "resembles that of real meat", said Vizman, who started the business in 2018 along with two professors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The steaks at the BBB restaurant in the coastal city of Herzliya are cooked within minutes, she said, adding that they contain no animal proteins and are kosher.

"We hope to respond to the cravings of vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians," who occasionally eat meat, BBB's Ahuva Turgeman said.

Around five percent of Israelis say they are vegan and the market for meat alternatives is on the rise, according to SavorEat.