The Apic Base, considerably facilitated my work at these events. It allowed me to concentrate on the chef’s presentation knowing that I could later download and use the photos from www.apicbase.com
The co-founders behind Apic Base were present at Chefs Revolution in Zwolle and Chef Sache in Cologne and I got to speak to them about this very interesting and innovative invention which could revolutionise the way we look at food photography in the future.
With the advent of social media and foodies who chronicle their lunches or dinners on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest to give a few examples, Apic is an interesting device which ensures photos are consistent and simple to store.
The two inventors of the machine are Julien Burlat, a Michelin star chef (of Dome fame) who owns two restaurants and a bakery in Antwerp and Kim Rothuys. They were joined by two co-founders Carl Jacobs who is the CEO and Pieter Wellens, the Chief Technology Officer.
Speaking to Kim Rothuys at Chef Sache he said that Apic was invented in 2010. “We used the first prototype at Julien Burlat’s restaurant because prior to this invention he had not been consistently taking photos of his dishes. “Within a year, he had an archive of 600 unique dishes already.”
2012 was the year which gave Apic the necessary momentum to create the product. “We were participating at Omnivore’s Food Festival and at the same time we also won a prize of 10,000 euros which enabled us to continue working on the project.”
They built a further two prototypes further refining the product to make it more user friendly.
Kim insists that the machine is not there to replace food photography or food styling. “The main aim of Apic Base is to archive food. We do not compete with food photographers. We know that photos are aesthetically better but what Apic does is to help chefs archive their creation without any effort. The machine could also be used as a way to allow customers to enjoy their food without having to take photos knowing they will be able to find a photo of their dish online.”
He says that there are chefs who are against having their patrons take photos and sharing because they consider this as disrespectful. “But at the end of the day, it is up to the chefs to decide how they want to utilise the machine and the software behind it,” Kim says.
The technology behind Apic Base comes from Samsung. The camera has the capacity to take 16 Mega Pixel photos so the quality is rather high. There is an LED light to ensure consistency and the device is directly connected to WIFI.
Kim says the product has evolved from the first prototype. “We wanted to create something which could be plugged and ready to use. We had to make the interface as simple as possible. The idea behind the device is to take photos of food that is not made to be photographed but rather served.”
The device has already been sold to some of the world’s best chefs in Belgium, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Italy and is patented already. “We want to think of food as cultural heritage but if we do not record and archive it, we risk losing a lot. That is the basic idea behind Apic Base. For example, there are many cliches on nouvelle cuisine of the 1980s. When you go to research, there are a lot of cookbooks but very few images of the actual plates. There is no real archive and that means that part of our identity and heritage is lost,” Kim said.
At a time when photography is pervasive as cameras on smartphones are everywhere, Apic is a very interesting invention. You can view more photos of chef’s creations on their website.