Is it chicken? Here's how the first bite of 'cell-cultivated' meat tastes
Chef Zach Tyndall prepares Good Meat’s cultivated rooster on the Eat Simply workplace in Alameda, Calif., Wednesday, June 14, 2023. The Agriculture Division issued closing approvals Wednesday, June 21 to California corporations Upside Meals and Good Meat to promote the merchandise, generally known as “lab grown” or “cultivated” meat. Credit score: AP Picture/Jeff Chiu

Once I instructed family and friends I used to be reporting on the primary rooster meat grown from animal cells, their first remark was “Eww.” Their second remark was: “How does it style?”

The brief reply (you’ve got in all probability heard this sentence earlier than in different contexts): Tastes like rooster.

The longer reply, which folds within the “Eww” response, is extra nuanced. Sure, it is unusual to consider consuming a very new form of meat—rooster that does not come from a rooster, meat that might be offered as “cell-cultivated” rooster after the U.S. Agriculture Division on Wednesday gave the inexperienced gentle to 2 California corporations, Upside Meals and Good Meat.

But it surely’s additionally attention-grabbing (and thrilling!) to style check the primary choices of a brand new period in meat manufacturing, which goals to get rid of hurt to billions of animals slaughtered for meals—and to dramatically scale back the environmental results of grazing, rising feed for these animals and coping with their animal waste.


I am a lifelong meat eater. I am additionally a sufferer of the “meat paradox,” a time period scientists use to explain the psychological battle that happens in individuals who prefer to eat meat however do not prefer to ponder the animals that died offering it.

As somebody who has reported on food-borne sickness outbreaks and slaughterhouse security, I am keenly conscious that the rooster on my dinner plate in all probability suffered to get there. And that reality makes me uneasy if I dwell on it an excessive amount of.

So I used to be open to making an attempt a special form of meat—and likewise curious to see if it could style like the true factor.

I’ve tried plant-based choices just like the Past Meat sausage and the Unattainable Burger and appreciated them, regardless that I did not suppose they have been excellent substitutes. To be trustworthy, the Past Meat sausage tasted good, however a little bit mealy. And the Unattainable Burger was dry, though I could have cooked it too lengthy. In each circumstances, I loved the style of the merchandise however was nonetheless conscious that I wasn’t truly consuming pork or beef.

What concerning the artificiality of all of it? It did not trouble me that this new cultivated meat is created from cells that develop to epic proportions in large metal vats, solely to be formed and shaped—”extruded” is the considerably unlucky verb that got here to thoughts—into acquainted cutlets, filets and nuggets that might look proper at dwelling on the dinner desk.

However as with all meals, in the long run it could come right down to style. And on this case, to the bigger query behind it: Is that this new materials actually rooster, or is it an impostor?


In January, I traveled to the Upside Meals manufacturing plant in Emeryville, California. There, chef Jess Weaver sauteed a cultivated rooster breast in a white wine butter sauce with tomatoes, capers and inexperienced onions.

The aroma was attractive, identical to any filet cooked in butter could be. And the style was gentle and delicate with a young texture, identical to any rooster breast I might make at dwelling—if, that’s, I have been a chef educated on the Culinary Institute of America.

Final week, I visited the Alameda, California, plant the place Good Meat is poised to start manufacturing of its rooster merchandise. Chef Zach Tyndall was prepared with a smoked rooster salad with mayonnaise, golden raisins and walnuts. He adopted it with a rooster “thigh” dish—darker meat served on a mattress of potato puree with a mushroom-vegetable demi-glace, golden beets and tiny purple cauliflower florets.

The style was richer than a rooster breast, extra just like the darkish meat of a thigh. And the feel was each tender and chewy, like a well-cooked rooster thigh must be.

That, says Tyndall, is the entire level.

“It must be as lifelike as attainable for it to catch on,” he mentioned.

Whereas “lifelike” is an attention-grabbing phrase, from my aspect of the fork I believe this can catch on. There are nonetheless big hurdles—tips on how to scale up manufacturing and pare again prices, consultants say, and the lingering query of whether or not rooster with out the fowl is, actually, rooster—however for those who’re basing it on genuine style, I will go away you with this:

Please go the “rooster.”

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Is it rooster? This is how the primary chunk of ‘cell-cultivated’ meat tastes (2023, June 22)
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