Changing Our Eating Habits

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Silicon Valley-based Impossible Foods has taken a high-tech approach to creating a plant-based burger that smells and tastes like real meat. At the company’s headquarters in Redwood City, Calif., chef Traci Des Jardins served the Impossible Burger (pictured uncooked) with vegan mayo, Dijon mustard, mashed avocado, caramelized onions, chopped cornichon, tomato and lettuce on a pretzel bun. Maggie Carson Jurow

Full disclosure first: we operate restaurants that serve meat. It is always the best quality meat we can source, and best includes the most humane and most ecologically sensitive growing conditions. But still, it is meat, and meat is problematic. So, we tread lightly when we speak about our behaving responsibly, and try to minimize judgementalism.

When we get reminders of the importance of reducing meat consumption we know it is true, but we still ensure all our guests are able to get, within reason, the best of what they want food-wise.  I spent more time, and consumed more calories than I care to count, taste-testing for the new menus at three hotel restaurants in the last two years; that is my own sin to bear, and I am in penance mode now, trust me.

So, when I see a good feature story related to vegetarianism, or to vegetarian innovations, I am all in. Here is one from the Salt show on National Public Radio (USA) and I look forward to taste-testing it:

This summer, diners in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles will get their hands on a hamburger that has been five years in the making.

The burger looks, tastes and smells like beef — except it’s made entirely from plants. It sizzles on the grill and even browns and oozes fat when it cooks. It’s the brainchild of former Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown and his research team at Northern California-based Impossible Foods.

The startup’s goal is like many in Silicon Valley — to create a product that will change the world.

“The demand for meat is going through the roof, and the world is not going to be able to satisfy that using animals — there’s just not enough space, not enough water,” says Brown, Impossible Foods’ founder and CEO.

Global meat production is expected to increase by 612,000 tons, or 1 percent, this year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

So Impossible Foods has developed a burger that it says is less resource-intensive, healthier and will eventually be cheaper to produce than red meat…

Read the whole story here.

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