During a busy lunch service in the cafeteria of one of Silicon Valley’s largest cloud-computing companies, the vegan chef Chad Sarno turned up a gas burner and slowly poured a bottle of white wine into a steel saucepan filled with chopped onion, capers, vegetable stock, and al dente linguine. He tossed the mixture with a flick of the wrist, lowered the heat to a brisk simmer, and added a handful of flakes of Good Catch, a plant-based tuna substitute made of chickpeas, soy, lentils, beans, and oil flavored with an algae extract. After letting the pasta absorb the sauce for a minute, he plated a snack-size portion for a petite, dark-haired woman named Maisie Ganzler, who was waiting at a corner table to taste the results.
Sarno, who founded Good Catch two years ago with his brother, Derek, was visibly anxious as he presented the dish. Ganzler is the head of strategy at Bon Appétit Management Co., a high-end subsidiary of Compass Group Plc, a catering giant that feeds more than a million people daily, including at Apple, Facebook, and Google. A nod from her would be huge for Good Catch, potentially bringing its food to the palates of some of the world’s most influential eaters.
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