Vegetarian burger that ‘bleeds’ coming next week


Get ready for The Impossible Burger: Starting Monday, Burgatory will be serving the lab-created, tech-endorsed, alt-meat patty that “bleeds.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Impossible Foods to bring this gloriously meaty and 100 percent plant-based burger to the people of Pittsburgh,” Mike Hanley, head of Burgatory, said in a statement.  “The Impossible team’s commitment to the environment, community and, above all, delicious food makes this a match made in heaven!”

“We’re the only ones to carry it in the state,” says Herky Pollock, Burgatory partner and executive vice president of the commercial real estate firm CBRE.

The Impossible Burger was first served by David Chang at Momofuku Nishi in New York last year. He told Eater.com he was “genuinely blown away when I tasted the burger….The Impossible Foods team has discovered how to re-engineer what makes beef taste like beef.”

It really is hard to tell it’s not beef, acolytes say. Pittsburghers can decide for themselves when all Burgatory locations other than PPG Paints Arena and Heinz Field serve the $13 burger with American cheese, roasted garlic mayonnaise, lettuce and pickles. Like a beef burger, it can be ordered rare, medium rare, etc. It even looks like ground beef when it’s delivered and requires refrigeration.

The Impossible Burger has also gained fans for its smaller environmental footprint than a beef burger, requiring less land and less water.  

Burgatory marketing director Meredith Hanley says she reached out to Impossible Foods two years ago. The product has debuted around the country at restaurants in New York, Illinois, California, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida. It’s also sold at B Spot locations in Cleveland, celebrity chef Michael Symon’s burger chain.

The plant-based burger — created by biochemist Patrick Brown in 2011 and later backed by Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures — has garnered attention because it looks like beef, right down to the rosy hue of a medium-rare burger. Ingredients include wheat and potato proteins, coconut oil, xanthan gum and heme — what Impossible Foods calls “a molecule found in all living things that gives meat its unmistakably meaty flavor.”

Mr. Brown and a team of researchers were funded with $80 million over five years to develop the product. 

In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration raised concern about the safety of the ingredient soy leghemoglobin, The New York Times reported in August. The FDA said it could be an allergen and hadn’t yet been tested in widespread consumption. However, the FDA did not conclude the substance is unsafe, so Impossible Foods could still sell its burger.

Melissa McCart: mmccart@post-gazette.com

 

 

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