Fine dining’s experiment with lab-grown meat has come to an end—for now, at least.
San Francisco’s Bar Crenn, from the Michelin three-starred chef Dominique Crenn, is no longer serving Upside Foods’ cell-cultivated chicken, Bloomberg reported recently. The two entities had teamed up last summer to offer the poultry at Bar Crenn, which hadn’t served meat since 2018. Now, after parting ways, you can’t order lab-grown meat at any restaurant in the United States.
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“After an incredible run serving our flagship cultivated chicken at Bar Crenn, we’ve wrapped up our dinner series and are taking our chicken on the road,” Upside Foods said in a LinkedIn post. “We’re so proud of the history we made with chef Dominique Crenn.”
While Bar Crenn didn’t have Upside Foods’ chicken on its regular menu, it did offer one-ounce portions to 16 people every month. (Bar Crenn didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment.) When the two collaborated in July, the chicken was fried in a recado negro (Yucatan spice mixture)–infused tempura batter, then served alongside burnt chili aioli and edible flowers and greens from the chef’s Bleu Belle Farm.
Despite the end of its offering at Bar Crenn, Upside Foods said that it will start working with Crenn and other chefs in March to serve its chicken at events. Plus, the company is continuing to work on its “next-gen, larger-scale” products, which are still waiting on regulatory approval. If and when that approval is granted, it’s possible that we’ll see the return of Upside’s chicken and other lab-grown meats to restaurant menus, as numerous chefs have expressed interest in the burgeoning field.
Last year, along with Bar Crenn’s taste of lab-grown chicken, José Andrés said that he would sell Good Meat’s cultivated poultry at one of his restaurants in Washington, D.C. And Marcus Samuelsson invested in Aleph Cuts’ lab-grown steaks, which he said he would also offer at one of his restaurants once they gain regulatory approval. The desire to try something new is there, clearly, but that hasn’t necessarily been met with the supply or demand to make it work long-term.
The world of fine dining is where much kitchen experimentation takes place, though. So once these chefs are able to regularly adopt lab-grown meat, it’s possible that we’ll see the climate solution trickle down to more and more restaurants throughout the country.
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