Renowned Israeli gastronome Michal Ansky knows her food. She’s a professional taster and a Master Chef judge. So when she was invited to the world’s first public blind taste test pitting lab-grown, or cultivated, chicken up against a conventionally raised product, she jumped at the chance. It was a historic opportunity, but she was also confident that she would be able to tell the difference.
Surrounded by cameras and perched at a restaurant bar with two other judges—an Israeli restaurateur and a food journalist—she sniffed the two samples, labelled A and B, placed in front of her. A team of lawyers looked on, tasked with making sure that the tasting truly was blind. Even the chef who sauteed the meat in sunflower oil—no salt, no seasonings—didn’t know which was which. Sample A was slightly darker than B, but otherwise both looked, and smelled, the same. Ansky tasted from bowl A, then B, then A again, and furrowed her brow in concentration. They were both bland, she complained, lacking the fat that gives chicken breasts flavor. Both samples had been finely ground, so it was impossible to decide on mouth feel, but she would bet her money and her reputation that sample A was the real thing. It had a richer, more “chickeny” taste.
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