A California restaurant has become the first in the U.S. to serve lab-grown chicken on its menu.
Alternative meat: Bar Crenn, a Michelin-starred establishment in San Francisco, began serving cultivated tempura-fried chicken with a burnt chili aioli to select patrons on Saturday.
By offering cultivated chicken, owner and chef Dominique Crenn was able to bring meat back to the restaurant’s menu after she removed it in 2018 due to concerns about the impact of factory farming on animals and the environment.
What’s in the meat: Cultivated meat is developed from cells sourced from a living animal, a fertilized egg or a special bank of stored cells that are then grown in large bioreactors with the assistance of nutrients such as amino acids.
“It’s truly an honor to serve Upside’s cultivated chicken at Bar Crenn and introduce cultivated meat to the U.S.,” Crenn said in a statement
. “It’s the first time meat has made it back on my menu since 2018 because Upside Chicken is the first meat that I feel good about serving.”
Regulatory approval: The introduction of cultivated chicken at the restaurant follows a series of approvals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granting lab-grown meat producers Upside Foods and Good Meat approval to begin producing and selling their cultivated chicken to the public.
Upside Foods received its “no questions” letter from the FDA in November, signifying that it had no further safety concerns regarding the product. Good Meat received a similar letter in March. Both companies obtained USDA approval in June, with the requirement that the menu items must be labeled as “cell-cultivated.”
First to taste: Upside Foods held a social media contest to determine the very first customers to try the product at Bar Crenn. The winners, who were asked to pay a nominal fee of $1 to taste the delicacy, also received a tour of Upside Food’s Engineering, Production and Innovation Center.
While the cultivated chicken at Bar Crenn will not be immediately accessible to general customers, there are additional opportunities already planned.
In a statement, Upside Foods CEO Dr. Uma Valeti
called the sale of cultivated chicken at Bar Crenn a “giant leap towards a world where people no longer have to choose between the foods they love and a thriving planet,” officially marking the debut of lab-grown mean in U.S. restaurants.
What comes next: Later this year, Upside Foods plans to introduce monthly dinner services featuring their product. Interested individuals can sign up on the Bar Crenn website to secure their spot.
Good Meat also has plans to debut its product in a restaurant, although a date has not been disclosed. The company is also collaborating with chef and restaurateur José Andrés to bring their cultivated chicken to China Chilcano in Washington, D.C.
In November last year, Good Meat served cultivated chicken
to current and former world leaders during a dinner hosted by the Singapore government in the second week of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference.