The revelation came to Professor Patrick Brown (pictured left) one day in 2011: If he created a red meat alternative, it was the meat eaters he would have to convert, not the vegetarians (why give them yet another substitute?). A meat eater loves meat for its taste, its bloody texture, its smell – the way it acts like meat when cooked.
Together with the scientists at Impossible Foods (www.impossible foods.com), where he’s the founder and CEO, hediscovered the solution in one magic ingredient –heme (or haem), an ironcontaining molecule that’s in every plant and animal. It is abundant in animal muscle, which is what gives beef its meaty ﬂavour.
Prof Brown and his team set about reproducing heme from leghemoglobin – a protein naturally found in soya roots – on a grand scale through genetic engineering and fermentation.
In 2016, Impossible Foods introduced its ﬁrst faux beef in the United States to tackle one of our planet’s biggest threats – the use of animals as a food source, which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says is responsible for 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Now, it’s working on getting its version of ground beef into retail. (We understand that ﬁsh meat is being tackled next.)
“By 2035, our goal is to reduce all meat consumption and replace it with soy,” says Prof Brown.
Impossible Meat – which started as Impossible Burger – is now in Singapore, following its launch in Hong Kong a year ago. (It’s already in 5,000 restaurants in the US.) Eight restaurant partners here, including Marina Bay Sands’ Adrift by David Myers, Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen and Wolfgang Puck’s Cut, already have Impossible on their menus.
“Like beef, Impossible takes well to a long marination process; this allows the seasoning and spices to mature,” says chef Robin Ho of Prive Orchard, whose seasoned satay sliders we tasted and ﬁ nd bloody good.
A former sceptic, chef Adam Penney (one of the most badass burger chefs in the world) of Three Buns Quayside, is now convinced that there is a future for plant-based protein: “When I ﬁrst saw and felt Impossible, I couldn’t believe it. It looks just like meat. You can actually get a medium cook out of it, and it doesn’t dry out too fast.”
Guilt-free red meat is officially a whole new game changer. - HT
Asia is responsible for 40 per cent of global meat consumption. Here’s how to have your “beef” the Impossible way.
1 Three Buns Quayside’s The Impossible Dream burger.
2 + 3 Empress’ pan-fried gyoza and fried kway teow with meatballs.
Impossible 2.0 (upgraded since its 2016 launch) has no gluten, cholesterol, animal hormones or antibiotics, and is kosher and halal-certified.
4 Bread Street Kitchen’s Wellington.