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A Fake-Food Maker on the Art of Creating Inedible Meals

For 60 years, this Japanese craftsman has been making silicone dinners that look good enough to eat.

If you’re contemplating meal options at a restaurant and want a better idea of what to expect, you could look at a menu and imagine. Or you could take a look at an exact replica of each dish. A Japanese company called Fake Food Hatanaka is hoping you’ll choose the latter.

The company has been creating realistic models of restaurant dishes since the mid-1960s. And in this video, we get to watch a master of the process, Fake Food Hatanaka’s Noriyuki Mishima, who has been making faux food for 60 years.

The food, made out of a durable silicone, finds its home in restaurants and shop windows. “Photos don’t really give a sense of volume,” explains head of Fake Food Hatanka Norihito Hatanaka, in the video. Because they are handmade, these replicas can often cost way more than the real food, and a “single dish can cost several hundred dollars.”

As for computerized 3-D printing replacing the handmade art of crafting fake food, Hatanaka isn’t worried. “It’s a job for humans who have the creativity that machines lack. They don’t know what is beautiful and appetizing.”

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