Journalists get a lot of stupid story assignments, so it’s a pleasant surprise when something actually entertaining results. That may have been how the McClatchy Tribune’s Janet Franz felt when she had to write a story asking “What will the dining-out experience be like 20 or 30 years from now?” Her panel of experts included restaurateurs Jerry Kleiner, Miae Lim, and Carrie Nahabedian and chefs Grant Achatz and Homaro Cantu. Surprise, surprise: The only interesting answers came from Achatz and Cantu, starting with Achatz’s response to, “In 25 years, what should guests at fine-dining restaurants expect to see on their plates?” He says:

Nothing. Dining will become more and more virtual. The highest-end restaurants will use technology to produce dining experiences. False images of food will be projected onto tables and plates, and sights and sounds and other senses will be introduced to complete the experience.

Hey, who’s that yanking on my leg?

Franz then follows up with, “How will the dining experience be different?” “I think it’s going to be a lot more interactive,” Cantu muses. “Maybe you’ll make a phone call, and an alien ship will deliver the food to the table.”

You may want to make your reservations now.

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