Do you remember NFTs, the tech bandwagon that every player in the food and beverage industry jumped onto back in the spring? Well, now it seems that Tom Colicchio — the judge on Top Chef — has decided to give it a go. He made the announcement on December 7, 2021 on Twitter: “I’m very excited to introduce @CHFTYPizzas, a collection of 8,888 of the most delicious NFTs baking on the Ethereum Blockchain. Follow us and stay tuned for something revolutionary …”
Before continuing, we should once again clarify what NFTs are for those who’ve so far remained blissfully ignorant. The BBC describes non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a unique digital asset that essentially serve as certificates of ownership for those digital images. The form has already made lots of money in the art market where original artworks retain some economic aura.
The digital content of the tokens CHFTY Pizza will sell is still unknown. However, Colicchio goes on to explain that the slices will be virtual yet integral to building some kind of community. “There is a massive opportunity for the Food & Beverage industry to penetrate the metaverse and flourish in the NFT / Blockchain space,” he stated. Spike Mendelsohn, another celebrity chef and co-founder of CHFTY Pizza, gave a further elaboration on Twitter, describing how it will connect token holders with celebrity chefs and food. Presumably, more details will emerge in coming weeks. However, as of now, it’s all as suspiciously vague as anything related to the crypto-world.
Colicchio might have waited too long
John Lamparski/Getty Images
Judging from the responses the announcement has garnered, Colicchio has missed peak interest for NFTs.
“Cool! I dig food themed environmental degradation,” one person snarked, referencing the heaving environmental impact that the technology needed to run the crypto-word generates, and adding, “It’s like a McDonald’s burger that I can eat marginally less of.”
“I’d rather have a real pizza,” one disappointed response reads. And many more followed in this vein, rolling their eyes at the perceived pointlessness of producing a digital pizza art, instead of — for instance — pizza branded by a well-recognized celebrity chef like, say, Tom Colicchio.
This is not to say that there aren’t people who are already onboard with NFTs arguing that this is somehow interesting. “That slice of pizza is your access to a community of foodies & celebrity chefs you’d otherwise never connect with,” is the defense offered by one. “They already mentioned virtual events & real life parties.” Another writes that “Honestly though, if you haven’t spent time in the space you won’t get it. When you do, your mind will run wild with the possibilities this kind of project can provide.” It should be noted that no possibility is offered to illuminate the uninitiated. Neither, however, do the defenses address why CHFTY Pizza exists other than to incorporate a currently gimmicky technology into what would otherwise be a meet and greet. The revolution has missed the moment, and for now, it just seems like a cash grab.