Following the recent news that U.S. regulators approved the sale of cell-cultured chicken for the first time, Upside Foods announced that it’s introducing its “whole-textured cultivated chicken” at chef Dominique Crenn’s Michelin-starred Bar Crenn on July 1. The meat, made from growing chicken cells in bioreactors, will be available first to customers who won a recent social media contest held by Upside; Bar Crenn will then feature Upside’s cultivated chicken through a series of monthly meals starting later this year.
Crenn famously announced that her Bay Area restaurants would go meat-free in 2019, a decision she said at the time was based not on what her customers wanted, but on “what this planet needs,” citing the environmental harm that comes with animal farming and meat production. Upside’s launch of cell-cultured chicken at Bar Crenn marks the first time she has reintroduced meat to her menu since. (She said back in 2021 that she would put Upside’s cultured chicken on her menu pending regulatory approval.) Cell-cultured meat is proposed as an environmental solution to factory farming, and a way to reduce the impacts of grazing, animal waste, and growing animal feed.
Upside’s inaugural customers at Bar Crenn will taste the cell-cultured chicken fried in a recado-negro-infused tempura batter with a burnt chili aioli, garnished with edible flowers and greens from Crenn’s own Bleu Belle Farm. They’ll also pay just $1 for the meal, a “symbolic price,” Upside says, to commemorate the “groundbreaking milestone of the first sale of cultivated meat in the U.S.”
How much cell-cultured meat will cost in the future is still up in the air. The costs of producing such meat have come down since Upside and other companies began working on the innovation, but there are still concerns about how cost-competitive cultured meat can be. Upside has not revealed what its regular prices will be.