French restaurateur and Michelin-starred chef Laurent Manrique companions with vegetarian seafood startup Aqua Cultured Meals to good the flavour, texture, shade and culinary attraction of vegetarian tuna, whitefish, calamari, shrimp and scallops.
Since its founding in 2020, Aqua Cultured Meals has been creating modern know-how that enables for animal-free seafood manufacturing utilizing proprietary microbial fermentation processes that use no animal inputs, genetic alteration, or modification.
The startup makes use of mycelium (mushroom root programs) that permit it to retain naturally occurring fibre, protein, and different micronutrients.
Cultured Aqua Meals
Earlier this 12 months, Aqua Cultured Meals raised $5.5 million in seed funding to convey extremely real looking seafood alternate options to the market. It’s utilizing the funding to equip its new amenities, develop manufacturing scale, add key expertise, and develop the menu of eating places and meals service retailers to introduce merchandise in 2024.
The startup has already performed its first beta check with shoppers and had “super suggestions,” based on Aqua Cultured Meals.
Earlier than launching seafood, Aqua Cultured Meals desires to verify it is the perfect it may be. “Every single day we search for methods to make our product really distinctive and we knew that as a way to obtain this mission, we needed to encompass ourselves with the perfect cooks on this planet who’re as obsessive about style as we’re,” Ann Palermo, co-founder and CEO of Aqua Cultured Meals, tells VegNews.
Grasp the vegetarian tuna, shrimp and scallops
The partnership with Manrique took place considerably accidentally. “Chef Laurent’s son discovered about our firm whereas doing analysis on his job, after which related us to his father,” Aqua Cultured Meals co-founder and basic supervisor of finance Brittany Shippey instructed VegNews. The final word aim is to enhance the merchandise in order that – similar to Manrique – prime cooks around the globe wish to use Aqua Cultured Meals merchandise of their dishes.
Apparently, Manrique was beforehand the Government Chef of Aqua, an upscale seafood restaurant in San Francisco that had no earlier relationship with Aqua Cultured Meals. In Aqua, it’s best identified for its tuna tartar and was awarded two Michelin stars in 2006, and once more in 2007 and 2008.
Cultured Aqua Meals
Upon his departure in 2009, the restaurant misplaced its Michelin standing and subsequently closed in 2010. Since 2005, Manrique has additionally owned Café de la Presse, a French restaurant in San Francisco.
As a culinary advisor to a vegan seafood startup, Manqrique brings his a long time of expertise to the Aqua Cultured Meals workforce with the aim of refining its merchandise for a January 2024 industrial launch of vegetarian tuna, shrimp and scallops.
However what prompted a standard chef to work with a vegan firm? A ardour to avoid wasting the ocean, based on Manrique.
“I’m at all times seeking to study extra and love to find new merchandise. Once I first discovered about Aqua, I used to be extremely intrigued and excited [its] Reveals and fervour to avoid wasting the ocean,” Manrique instructed VegNews.
Once I tried it for the primary time [its] Product, I used to be very impressed with the look, really feel, and moisture of the product; A lot in order that I despatched footage to some cooks who have been additionally in disbelief,” says Manrique.
Vegan seafood to avoid wasting the oceans
As a part of the partnership with Aqua Cultured Meals, Manrique will work personally with the corporate’s product growth workforce. “The aim is to make Aqua merchandise as shut as attainable to the actual factor,” says Manrique.
“On my first go to to work with the workforce in Chicago, I introduced actual diver scallops and recent tuna to work alongside,” he says. “Now that we have established the requirements for every product and the way it ought to style, look, and really feel, the workforce is sending me new variations of the product to style and provides suggestions.”
Cultured Aqua Meals
In the end, Manrique believes in Aqua Cultured Meals’ mission to assist save the oceans. “I am not a vegetarian, however as a chef, I am conscious of how we feed our kids,” says Manrique. “After being concerned in high-end seafood eating places for a few years, I spotted that in some unspecified time in the future the ocean will now not be capable to present seafood for future generations.”
Manrique believes that there’ll at all times be a requirement for seafood, however the way in which it’s produced should change. “We are going to by no means have seafood on menus, however the way in which I see the long run is that actual seafood will grow to be a uncommon delicacy,” Manrique says. “You will need to produce other choices and to present individuals a alternative. We wish to present these choices.”