If you’re planning to head to China to sample some of the most authentic noodles the country has to offer, don’t be surprised if what you’re eating is the product of Chef Cui. Chef Cui makes perfect slices of noodles every time, shaving equal flour pieces — all of which are the same length and size, cooked to delicious consistency. But if you want to meet Chef Cui, however, prepare to be a bit underwhelmed… this masterful culinary figure is actually a 3-foot-tall robot replacing workers in noodle cutting factories across China.
Named after its developer Cui Runguan, a Chinese restauranteur, Chef Cui is a humanoid-shaped robot whose only ability is lifting its arms back and forth, slicing a ball of dough into strips of noodle. It’s also got some funky, multi-colored glowing eyes for the fun of it, along with superhero-like headbands in place of where chef hats should be. The design make these robots look almost toy-like, similar to a Japanese action figure except with a dangerously sharp hand.
At a cost of approximately $1,500 per robot, Chef Cui is meant to replace human workers who would be paid approximately $4,700 annually for the same task. The robots can pre-slice the noodles, or cut them directly into pots of boiling water for the freshest consistency.
Since Chef Cui’s release in March of 2011, about 3,000 Chef Cui robots have been sold with more anticipated to replace humans in the coming years. While you might think of this as a bit sad to see robots taking over human jobs, the symbiosis is actually sitting well with Chinese workers. Many of the young are seeking better jobs than resorting to a lifetime of noodle slicing, so robots taking up the market allow people to hunt for a career more meaningful and worthwhile. If the youth’s passion is in culinary arts, at least he or she can still become the chef that actually cooks the robo-shaved noodles.
Watch the video below to see an army of Chef Cui’s slicing away. If you ever get to meet Chef Cui in person, don’t dare try to shake its hands.