Friday, May 8, 2015
The Meat is in the Pudding
The menu at a new restaurant in the Netherlands includes foie gras, scallops, ravioli, meatballs, “Meat Fruit,” “Dodo nuggets,” … wait, whaaat? On closer inspection, the menu also includes “microbial lamb’s meat,” “bone pickers,” “3-D printed marrow eggs,” and “in-vitro ice cream.” Oh, and “knitted steak.”
Those are just some of the items available at Bistro In Vitro, the “world’s first lab-grown meat restaurant,” an “interactive restaurant” that had its online opening on May 6, 2015. (http://bistro-invitro.com/en/bistro-invitro) The “restaurant” is co-run by the Next Nature Network, a Dutch think- and design tank that “radically shifts” conventional notions of nature. (http://www.nextnature.net/) One of its projects is to solve the problem of man’s “insatiable desire” for meat and the environmental damage caused by the production of that meat. Bistro In Vitro’s researchers believe that in vitro meat, “produced from animal cells cultured in a bioreactor,” could solve this problem in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.
There's even a questionnaire in the form of a flow chart to determine if lab-grown meat is coming to your future (it appears to be in mine...).
The restaurant acknowledges that cultured meat is still in the developmental stage and it therefore invites readers to create their own menus and to make a virtual reservation for 2028, when it should be ready to open. Menu items are classified by technological difficulty. Five-star dishes – which means they could be produced today – include Magic Meatballs, which are served with black pasta and “only contain healthy animal protein, supplemented with the vitamins and minerals” growing kids need.
And, knitted steak is a four-star dish and could be available in the near future. The steak is a length of muscle fiber whose growth was once bound by the living animal that claimed it as its own. Now, however, “freed from the constraints of the body,” researchers can culture “meat threads,” made from long strands of muscle tissue, which are then "knitted" into a tasty dish.
For those of you pining for the Meat Fruit, in which “the feminine elasticity of sweet fruit and the masculine attraction of red meat come together in a hybrid feast of surprising combinations,” and which starts with an “intense hit of beef and finishes with the sweet taste of blueberries,” it is, sadly, a one-star dish: “a long way off realization.”
Make your reservations here: http://bistro-invitro.com/en/reservation/.