Impossible Burger Panel

We’re stuck with the notion that great meat comes from animals
— Pat Brown, MD, PHD CEO/Founder, Impossible Foods, Panelist

Unlike Santa, it does exist (apologies to my five year olds in the audience)! I don’t know why they call it the “Impossible Burger” perhaps because it can’t possibly be true, but, you guessed it, it is. This morning I went to a panel moderated by Kate Krader all about the next new it thing in food, the Impossible Burger.

“I believe in it so strongly, it’s a change the world kind of thing” — Kate Krader, Food Editor, Bloomberg Pursuits (formally of Food & Wine), Panelist

If this is the first you are hearing about it, just wait, in no time you’ll see it will be everywhere! It’s a burger made to taste like meat that is made of, well, not meat. A plant based burger, if you will, but not quite a veggie burger. I know it’s confusing. Really, it’s it’s own entity.

“The idea that this [meat] is facilitated in a lab is erroneous…it’s about combining ingredients to be more than the sum of it’s parts…this is really the thing chefs do every day” — Pat Brown, MD, PHD CEO/Founder of Impossible Foods, Panelist

Over the past five years, Impossible Meats has designed this “meat” to mimic the notes that carnivores seek when they bite into it. From the sizzle, the smell, the juiciness and the color, they’ve approached this goal from every angle.

Seeing it ground up in burger form—red in the middle and charred on the outside— it really looks like meat. Guests of the panel were served medium rare burgers, from what I saw, some really loved it, others immediately tapped out after the first bite. While opinions were split, none could deny that it was super cool to see innovation taken to this level. Seeing a breaking news new menu item—ingredient(?)—at it’s infancy is super exciting. Seeing extremely experienced chefs work with it and put it on their menu is revolutionary.

“[This meat is] an incredible recipe that goes into my recipe” — Brad Farmerie, Michelin Rated Chef/Co-Owner, Public & Saxon + Parole, Panelist

“Shifting people’s tastes away from meat is going to be difficult…If you told me five years ago that we’d have cauliflower steaks and avocado toast…” —Kelly Dobkin, Senior Editor of Zagat, Panelist

Touching on meat in correlation to religion, career and in turn financials was exceptionally interesting, though the part we spent the most time on was the sustainability factor. Harvesting the ingredients for this meat is far less impactful on mother nature. Not only are those cows safe to live free happy lives, but the impact on land and water is far less extensive. The question remains, how does this “meat” become a societal go-to? Perhaps Sierra Tishgart Senior Editor, Grub Street, Panelist is right with her thoughts that millennials will be the ones to give it recognition.

“Millennials want a food with a story, they want to express themselves with what they do”.

I think she’s so spot on. With the harmonious pairing of creative chefs, like panelist Brad Farmerie, putting their Impossible Meat creations on the menus of their trendy restaurants where millennials regularly inhabit, it’s hard to believe it will gain traction in a faster way—especially, since it’s not going to be sold in grocery stores to the average consumer until a little ways down the road.

Check out the impossible, well, improbable and let me know what you think!

Different iterations of the Impossible Burger are currently available at Public (NYC), Saxon + Parole (NYC), Cockscomb (SF), Crossroads Kitchen (LA), Jardiniére (SF), Momofuku Nishi (NYC)