What is the foodverse and how can you grab a seat at the table?

From NFTs of dishes to food games that lead to free meals, this is a world suited to a new crop of foodies

OneRare collaborates with chefs and restaurants to mint NFTs of their signature dishes. Photo: OneRare
Powered by automated translation

Michelin-lauded chef Vikas Khanna was in the news recently when he launched Sacred Foods of India in Dubai. Only 250 copies of the limited-edition book are available, and Khanna also tied up with phygital platform Akshaya.io, which has created unique NFTs for each copy.

For the uninitiated, a non-fungible token or NFT is a blockchain-based certificate of authenticity that signifies ownership of an asset. While fungible items such as cryptocurrency can be exchanged, an NFT is unique, in that no other copy of the asset exists.

With this latest project, Khanna has tapped into the “foodverse”, a digital world for food that exists in the metaverse and merges the virtual with the real, as well as allowing visitors to become familiar with the dishes of a multitude of chefs across the globe.

Take a bite out of the foodverse

OneRare is the company behind the world's first food metaverse, which it’s building with the aim to celebrate food from across the world by bringing the global food and beverage industry on to the blockchain for the first time.

Celebrity chefs, restaurants and food and beverage brands will be able to create virtual food experiences, launch signature dish NFTs and interact with a global audience, all of whom are hungry (pardon the pun) for news ways to explore food.

“We are creating a unique gaming layer that allows users to claim NFTs, play food-themed games and discover new products along the way,” says Supreet Raju, co-founder of OneRare. “It's a way for the industry to leverage blockchain technology to develop a direct relationship with their audience.

"Patrons can support their favourite restaurants in the same way they support favourite influencers, while businesses can discover new markets.”

Masterchef musings

Depinder Chhibber, a MasterChef Australia alumni, became the first female chef to join the food metaverse, where she brings signature delicacies such as fried chicken with the mango and chilli glaze recipe passed down by her grandmum from Amritsar, Punjab, to a blockchain audience.

“When this opportunity came my way, I did my research and found the concept deliciously futuristic. Being in Australia and cooking Indian food, I felt this would be a great opportunity for people to be part of my culinary journey. This space will allow people living all over the world access to my restaurant and recipes, as well as my food dreams.”

Other global names who have a presence in the foodverse include the "dessert king" of Australia, Reynold Poernomo; Michelin-lauded chef Anthony Sarpong; MasterChef judge Arnold Poernomo; entrepreneur and founder of technology and information company HeyHey!, Franklin Caleb; India’s Olive Group; and US brand Burattino Brick Oven Pizza.

AD Singh, founder and managing director of the Olive Group, says: “We are excited to see what our integration into this means and where we can provide real value, both for our customers and for us as a group. Our foray into the metaverse is an opportunity to be able to create immersive experiences for different communities and bring them together. Hopefully, with this, we can move beyond the great real-world experiences at our restaurants to offer experiences fit for the future.”

Real rewards

Given the metaverse is open to all, the foodverse has the potential to reach people regardless of borders or boundaries, and it opens up more meaningful conversations around food, as well as introduces cultural connotations and festive foods to a wider audience.

Further, with Gen Z largely submerged in this world, it only follows that brands and chefs will have to be a part of the metaverse and create their digital avatars to cater to this next crop of foodies.

As to what's in it for users of the foodverse? Not only can they be more in tune with the goings-on in the F&B world, they can also learn to cook dishes from their favourite chefs and win tokens that can eventually be exchanged for a meal at the physical restaurant.

Zorawar Kalra, founder and managing director of Massive Restaurants, which operates Farzi Cafe in the UAE and India, explains: “The metaverse is a fusion of intellect, and positions itself between the real and virtual world. Hence, actions taken in the virtual world will have benefits in the physical world. For example, you can collect various ingredients and redeem a dish at Farzi Cafe.

“The idea behind it all is to build a community and introduce a restaurant to more people. The ultimate challenge for online community building is going to be a world where you can meet friends and fellow gamers, and live a cool alternative life that’s built around virtual experiences.”

Likewise, celebrity chef Saransh Goila says: “The plan is to share a few of my signature recipes, which OneRare will use to create NFTs and gaming segments. Users who are able to ‘crack’ the recipe code can win tokens that can be redeemed as anything from real-life restaurant experiences or a day with me in the kitchen.

“A day will come when you might be eating a burger in your home and your friends will be eating the same burger elsewhere on the planet, but you will all be chilling together in the metaverse together.” For those who live to eat, then, the foodverse is your oyster, so when are you logging in?

Inside Dubai's first metaverse wedding — in pictures

Updated: October 07, 2022, 7:01 AM