First lab-grown burger served up

First published in National News © by

Cooking doesn't get much weirder than this, to borrow a well-known phrase from Masterchef.

The round, pink mass sizzling in the frying pan looked like any other burger, and probably one from the cheaper end of the market. But this five ounce patty, costing the juicy sum of £250,000, was far from ordinary.

It was the first beef burger to be successfully grown from scratch in a laboratory from cow stem cells, and some believe it could usher in a food revolution.

Culinary history was made in London as two food experts, one a writer and the other a nutritionist, tasted the "cultured meat" in front of an invited audience of 200 journalists and VIP guests.

Their verdict? It's looks like beef, feels like beef but does not quite - yet - taste like beef.

The burger was cooked in a little sunflower oil and butter by a slightly nervous Richard McGeown, head chef at Couch's Great House Restaurant in Polperro, Cornwall.

After browning for a few minutes it was served up with an accompaniment of lettuce, tomato and bread buns.

American food writer Josh Schonwald, author of the book The Taste of Tomorrow, said after chewing thoughtfully for some time: "The texture, the mouth feel, has a feel like meat. "The absence is, I feel, the fat. There is a leanness to it. But the bite feels like a conventional hamburger."

Fellow guest, Austrian food scientist and author Hanni Rutzler, who was the first to try the burger, said: "I was expecting the texture to be more soft. There is a bite to it. There is quite some intense taste. It's close to meat - it's not that juicy but the consistency is perfect."

Next to take a bite was Dutch scientist Professor Mark Post, who produced the burger in his laboratory at the University of Maastricht, from stem cells taken from two living cows. Prof Post believes laboratory grown cultured meat could appear in supermarkets in 10 to 20 years' time

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