Soon enough, burgers will grow not just in fields but in vats. If the sound of that bothers you, know that you’re not alone.
Standing in a kitchen in San Francisco, in a state where foie gras is illegal, Josh Tetrick cuts into the pale gray pate anyway and smears it on a thin piece of bread. “You prettied it up a little bit,” he says to a bearded chef, pointing his butter knife at the plate, “what’s going on here?”
“Little carrot and vanilla puree,” says the cook. “Little beet, little bit of a splatter there to mimic the atrocity that we’re taking away.”
Tetrick chews on the delicacy. “Even though I’m not a foie expert,” he says, “I’ve been eating a little bit more foie outside the state of California for the past handful of months, and it tastes like foie should.”
It tastes like foie gras should because you could make the argument that it isn’t really foie gras. Because this is no ordinary kitchen—it’s also a lab. Tetrick is the CEO of Just, a controversial food company formerly known as Hampton Creek, whose entire board quit last year. And his scientists here grew the meat in the lab from cells, incubating them with heat and feeding them nutrients. Compare that to getting foie gras the old-fashioned way: force-feeding a duck or goose until its liver balloons to up to 10 times its normal size.
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