Impossible Foods Inc., announced today that it will introduce the Impossible Burger on Wednesday, July 27, at Momofuku Nishi in Manhattan. This is the first time the Impossible Foods “animal-free” burger will be regularly featured on a restaurant menu, and marks the commercial introduction of a new generation of delicious plant-based foods that promises to revolutionize the world’s food system.
Opened in January 2016 in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, Momofuku Nishi is part of the Momofuku Group of restaurants founded by world renowned chef David Chang. “Impossible Foods is honored to have a chef of David Chang’s talent and vision as our anchor chef in New York,” said Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of Impossible Foods. “Under David’s skilled hand, the Impossible Burger is moving to the next level of taste.”
The Impossible Burger looks, cooks, smells, sizzles, and tastes like conventional ground beef but is made entirely from plants. Among the breakthroughs that make the Impossible Burger unique is the discovery that a molecule called “heme” is the magic ingredient that makes meat look, cook and taste gloriously meaty. While heme is exceptionally abundant in meat, it is a basic molecular building block of life on Earth, including plants. Impossible Foods uses a plant-based heme protein to give the Impossible Burger its irresistibly meaty taste.
“I was genuinely blown away when I tasted the burger,” said chef and founder of Momofuku, David Chang. “The Impossible Foods team has discovered how to re-engineer what makes beef taste like beef. We’re always looking to support people who are making the best products in the best ways possible and to me, the Impossible Burger is one more example. First and foremost, we think this makes a delicious burger.”
Momofuku’s first restaurant on the West side of Manhattan, Momofuku Nishi, will serve a limited number of Impossible Burgers during lunch, brunch and dinner service starting Wednesday. The ‘Nishi Style Impossible Burger’ is topped with romaine, beefsteak tomato, pickles and special sauce and served on a Martin’s potato roll with shoestring fries. Guests may also add cheese upon request.
Impossible Foods’s mission is to produce delicious, nutritious, affordable plant-based foods with a lower environmental impact than raising animals for food. Producing the Impossible Burger requires approximately a quarter of the water used to produce the same burger from a cow, a twentieth of the land, and only an eighth of the greenhouse gas emissions, according to a lifecycle analysis conducted by Impossible Foods.
“Two factors have made the Impossible Burger as good as it is,” said Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and other works about food science and its history. “One is Impossible Foods’s ambition to make a plant-based burger that’s just as delicious as a gourmet beef burger, with the same satisfying flavors and textures. The other is its pursuit of a deeper scientific understanding of meat itself, and how cooking makes it delicious. This research effort has generated major new insights into the flavor of meat, and continues to drive the innovations that put the Impossible Burger in a category of its own.”
The Impossible Burger’s key ingredients are water, wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein and leghemoglobin (i.e., heme) plus natural flavors and micronutrients. The Impossible Burger delivers comparable protein and iron to conventional beef but contains no cholesterol, hormones, or antibiotics.
Later this year, the Impossible Burger is also expected to become a regularly featured menu item at select restaurants in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company plans to expand to additional restaurants in the U.S., followed by grocery stores and overseas markets as production capacity rises over the coming several years.
Impossible Foods expects the price of the burger to decline as it scales up production, until it is at or below the cost of commercial ground beef. The company’s technology can be used to produce virtually any animal-based food, from steaks and chops to chicken and fish and dairy foods.
“The burger is only the beginning,” Brown said. “With its introduction at Momofuku Nishi, we have begun the movement to build a new kind of global food system, one that creates new markets for farmers, supports a more resilient food supply, and offers consumers new choices for the meat and dairy products they know and love – ones that are equally delicious but made from plants.”
About Impossible Foods: Based in Redwood City, California, Impossible Foods gives consumers a better choice: delicious, healthy, affordable meat and dairy foods made directly from plants. Impossible Foods extracts specific proteins from plants and combines them with simple, natural ingredients like fats, amino acids and vitamins to create raw meat from plants that delivers the irresistible taste, texture and aroma of conventional beef while using far less of the Earth’s finite resources. Impossible Foods is a private company funded in part by Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, and Viking Global Investors. The company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., a medical doctor, research scientist and formerly a professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Stanford University.
About Momofuku Nishi: Momofuku Nishi opened in January 2016 and is Momofuku’s first restaurant on the west side. Located in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, guests can choose from a la carte offerings for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Nishi’s Smoked Bo Ssäm, Lobster Chow Mein, and Fried Chicken large format meals are meant for sharing and served during dinner. Walk-ins for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch are encouraged.
About Momofuku: Established by chef and founder David Chang in 2004 with the opening of Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku has grown to include restaurants in New York City, Sydney, Toronto and Washington, DC. Momofuku has a total of twelve restaurants (Noodle Bar, Ssäm Bar, Ko, Má Pêche, Seiōbo, Noodle Bar Toronto, Daishō, Shōtō, Fuku, Fuku+, CCDC, Nishi), a bakery established by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi with multiple locations throughout New York City, Washington, DC, and in Toronto (Milk Bar), two bars (Booker and Dax, Nikai), and a Culinary Lab. Momofuku is also composed of Lucky Peach along with a product and equipment development company called Booker and Dax.