“What if new technology was used to vitalise cooking instead of just simplifying the process and replacing the craftsmanship?” That’s the core question behind this video introducing Collaborative Cooking, a new initiative from Swedish designers Christian Isberg and Petter Johansson Kukacka, chef Carl Berglöf, and programmer Lasse Korsgaard.

This outlandish “cooking machine” features a pot, a chimney, and thirty-five ingredient dispensers packed with with herbs, spices and meats. It’s equipped with functions like heating coils, timers, and seasoning dispensers, all of which are controlled by up to five chefs at a time via their computers and smartphones.

The cooking experience is a tag-team operation—chefs have to react to their colleagues’ decisions and decide what to do next to continue the recipe. The underlying question is, “Can chefs cook together without direct communication?”

According to the project creators, the answer is yes. By cooking communally on a digital platform, chefs are able to create a dialogue and a “discussion about food” during the 10- to 20-hour slow-cooking process.

Would we pay for a meal in New York if we knew it was being cooked by René Redzepi via smartphone in Copenhagen? Probably not. But one wonders if this invention might be put to good use among today’s empire-building chefs, who spend less and less time in the kitchens of their restaurants.

Photo: PSFK