Art Student Designs 3D-Printed Chocolate with Famed Chef
"This past summer, I had the opportunity to introduce 3D printing to Chef Jacques Torres' production process," said B.F.A. student Sam Price (B.F.A. '21).
Torres is a well-known chocolatier and founder of Jacques Torres Chocolate (JTC) based in New York City, and the host of the Netflix series Nailed It!.
The art student and chef became acquainted through a family connection, JTC president Xavier Lederer. Price reached out to Lederer last winter to explore the possibilities of a summer position. His artistic and design skills were a match for JTC's strategic push into innovative product development techniques, and Lederer hired Price as a product development intern at the factory during the summer.
Utilizing the resources of the company factory and the adjacent MakerSpace located in the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Price helped JTC integrate 3D printing into its practice by digitally designing 15 unique holiday molds.
Price and Torres collaborated to design a Halloween confection called Haunted Pumpkin Chocolate Plaque using Blender, an open-source 3D computer graphics software, with a Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer — both of which Price learned to use during his internship.
Working closely with Torres allowed Price to integrate considerations of consumer preferences into his design process. It was a fortuitous collaboration for both Price and JTC.
"When I reached out to Lederer to explore the possibilities of a summer role with the company, the stars were aligned," Price said. "Typically, JTC utilizes freelance sculptors to model chocolate molds using traditional sculpting techniques. But I not only worked directly with Chef Torres as a designer, I also worked on the production line, which gave me a holistic sense of how products are processed from raw material to a store-ready state."
Torres described the process of creating the chocolates in a recent interview in Forbes magazine titled "Jacques Torres' Latest Invention Involves 3D Printing and Comes Just In Time For Halloween."
"Making our own mold using 3D software and printing allowed us . . . to create faster," Torres said in the Forbes article. Printing in 3D gave them "more precision in design, and the best part is we pass on the economic savings to our customers," he said.
By Patti Witten