While we clamored for the latest burger innovation, the next next burger innovation had its first taste testing across the pond. The world's first test tube burger was cooked and served in London today over a year after the food innovation was announced. Author Josh Schonwald and nutrition scientist Hanni Rützler got first bites of the so-called "Cultured Beef," as cooked up by Cornwall chef Richard McGeown. The verdict? It doesn't quite taste like the real thing.
"It's somewhere on the continuum between a Boca burger and a McDonald's burger," Schonwald reported. Rützler conceded that it tasted "close" to meat and both agreed that the texture was just about spot on. Without the fat found in traditionally slaughtered beef, the "burgers" don't have much in the way of flavor, but scientists say it's possible to grow fat stem cells to compensate. For today's taste test, red beet juice and saffron were added to give the patty more eye appeal and salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs were added for texture and flavor.
It took nearly 20,000 strands of meat to create the 5-ounce patty, which was grown from cow muscle stem cells inside a "nutrient solution." The project cost about $332,000, which was partially funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who appeared in a promotional video wearing—what else—Google Glass. PETA has also come out in support of the project.
Don't expect to throw some stem cell-derived burgers on the grill anytime soon, as project leader Mark Post estimates 10 to 20 years before they'll be available on the general market.