The Pop-Up Restaurant Experience That Brings Dishes To Life (Literally)

Restaurant server holding plate of food
Restaurant server holding plate of food - - Yuri A/Shutterstock

Le Petit Chef is a 6-centimeter tall Frenchman who wants to make you a farm-to-table, five-course meal. Seriously. He'll walk around your table, pick vegetables straight from the nearby garden, and prepare them right in front of you. Of course, Le Petit Chef is an animated character. And of course, he's not actually "on" the table in front of you, but the illusion created by advanced protection technologies really makes it seem like he is.

In this pop-up restaurant, named after its head chef, guests are invited to join the Frenchman as he takes you through an immersive cooking process on the plate right in front of you. The show starts with a short scene, around two to three minutes, which shows the cooking process along with some storyline. Then, a human server will place a plate of real food on top of the fake (projected) plate in front of you. The rest of the experience continues like this through all five courses and their accompanying scenes and ends with a credits-like scene thanking the guests for attending and finally, acknowledging the creators.

The hologram effect is achieved through 3D projection mapping, a technique invented and popularized by Walt Disney Imagineers in 1969 on the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland. The setting is "mapped" out and turned into display surfaces for the projections.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

How To Experience Le Petit Chef

Tiny chef figurines on counter
Tiny chef figurines on counter - Calvste/Shutterstock

Le Petit Chef can be found in more than 66 locations worldwide, with just two locations in the United States at this time (Nashville and Kansas City). The prices for each menu vary from around $80 for the "Junior Chef Menu," to $149 for the standard "Le Petit Chef Classic" and the vegetarian variation, up to $189 for the "Le Grand Chef Menu." Each adult menu varies by location, some serving hand-crafted burrata and various versions of cioppino, while others serve seafood bisque and vegetable gnocchi. Guests may also request accommodations and express dietary restrictions through the booking process.

The shows also change depending on location. Some offer the farm-to-table storyline, which appears to be titled "The Beginning," while others offer historical stories; for instance, the "Marco Polo" theme tells the story of the great Venetian traveler and merchant through food. Other locations' stories are labeled on the restaurant's website as "Friends," "Family," and "Greatest Chef."

Because of the nature of the timed scenes and therefore timed food deliveries, Le Petit Chef recommends guests arrive at least 30 minutes before the start of the show. In total, the show lasts anywhere from an hour-and-a-half to two hours. To book the experience, simply go to its website and click "book now."

Read the original article on Tasting Table.