By janay laing
A little over two weeks ago, David Chang broke new culinary ground when he introduced the Impossible Burger at his Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York. Normally a chef adding a new burger to a menu isn’t particularly newsworthy, except this happened to be a menu item like no other: the Impossible Burger is the 5-years-in-the-making product of Impossible Foods, a California startup that openly aims to disrupt conventional, unsustainable meat production by making meat from plants instead of animals. If this sounds radical to you, many New Yorkers seemed to agree, and were highly skeptical when Impossible Foods announced the burger’s launch at Momofuku Nishi in July. The food media dismissed it as merely a newfangled veggie burger, a more sophisticated version of typical bland vegetable patties.
But as great innovations go, some things must be seen (or eaten) to be believed. That’s because, using state-of-the-art food analysis, Impossible Foods worked tirelessly for those five years to craft something never done before: a plant-based burger that actually tastes like a burger, complete with medium-rare pinkness, golden caramelized crust, fatty juiciness and all.
But even with enticing publicity photos and Chef Chang’s famous name, most NY diners were not completely convinced. That is, until, they actually sat down for a bite of this most unusual burger, and one by one, seemed to undergo a sort of gastronomic epiphany. Whether it was the sheer surprise at its taste, the freakishness of a pink/bloody center in a meat-free burger, or deeper ruminations about its possible impact, these are some of the best reactions yet:
“I had [The Impossible Burger] yesterday, and it was life-changing” Ezra Klein, Vox.com
“The taste is unreal…I was floored.” Lindsay Hoshaw, NPR
“It was definitely not a veggie burger” declared Linette Lopez of Business Insider, adding it was, “very, very good” and “an exciting development.”
On How much It Resembles Beef
“The taste of the product in itself was what made me a believer. Sinking my teeth into a juicy, perfectly textured inarguably delicious cheeseburger, I am 90% certain I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t beef.”
Jesse Hirsch, Edible Manhattan
“Aside from the texture being slightly –and only slightly — off, it tasted pretty much like meat. Even more convincing, though, was the meat juice that soaked into the bottom half of the bun, which had a lush and full beefy taste, more real than real.”
Matthew Herper, Forbes.com
“It definitely holds up to a beef burger…If you didn’t tell me this wasn’t real meat, I probably wouldn’t have guessed.”
Jeanette Settembre, NY Daily News
Some Compared It to Other Famous Burgers
“I’d put this burger up in a blind taste test against the best from Shake Shack or In ‘n Out” said Ben Gilbert of Tech Insider, adding: “I literally ate a Shake Shack burger the night before, and would happily have eaten the Impossible Foods Burger... instead.”
And While Some Were Genuinely Inspired…
“Humans will keep getting better at this (and) we’ll add something that is good for our bodies and the planet."
Linette Lopez, Business Insider
Others Were Completely Lost
“So the entire time, you’re confused because how could something so meaty be plant-based, but it tastes good, so you can’t stop eating even as you’re having a minor existential crisis, wondering what even is reality anymore.”
Maxine Builder, Extra Crispy
But overall, everyone seems to agree this is a true game-changer
“Given the option of a regular burger or an Impossible Burger, I’d choose the latter 8 out of 10 times — because it’s that good to my palate and the planet,” declared The Revelist’s April Walloga, adding: “Indeed if this catches on, it could truly change the world.”
“…perhaps I just wasn’t visionary enough, or didn’t really process this burger’s potential impact. If Impossible Foods can scale on a level that reduces its price to the level of standard supermarket beef… this thing does have the potential to effect real change.”
“ With this high-tech option, it’s kind of cool to eat meat — a conversation starter.”
And Jeannette Settembre:
“I won’t stop eating my Shake Shack, but I can say I’m open to turning over a new leaf.”
The advent of the Impossible Burger represents a major breakthrough for sustainable food innovation, and may soon provide a new option for those looking to consume conventional foods in a new and better way.
But if these reactions are any indication, Impossible Foods' hard-fought quest to create the world's first delicious plant-based burger has truly paid off.
As the old saying goes: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”