Yilmaz Bora got the idea for his company, Primeval Foods, while watching an Eater video about Brooklyn’s two-Michelin-star Nordic restaurant Aska. In the video, chef Fredrik Berselius makes caviar quenelles, inspects live king crabs, and looks for ginkgo nuts. But it was the bird that caught Paula’s attention. “It wasn’t a chicken, it was a bird,” he said. It was actually a quail, ripe, half-cooked, dead bird, with feet still attached. “The owner said he was serving hundreds of people a week,” said Bola. As a vegetarian, it was unappealing but amazing to him, and it made him realize that foods that emphasized a raw connection to nature would excite a lot of people. So he started a company producing farmed lion meat.

Okay, so there are a few steps in between, but Berselius puts his feet on his quail, clearly evoking a more earthy, caveman-like relationship to meat. The claws sticking out from the ends of the legs remind you that you are eating a dead animal. It either disgusts you or exploits primitive human instincts. Bora came to a logical conclusion—if humans are excited about the visceral image of quail claws, they may be even more excited about meats like lions, zebras, and giraffes, which are socially and legally taboo. What if there was a way to get meat eaters to eat these things without harming the animals?

Primeval Foods specializes in replicating meat from wild animals. Faux meat is different from plant-based meat — instead of imitating the texture and taste of meat with other ingredients, faux meat is grown from cells in the lab, and at least according to these manufacturers, the product is the same as the meat it was taken from live animals.

Paula was right. The idea of ​​eating “exotic” meats like tigers and elephants — basically anything that is beyond the scope of USDA inspection and regulation, but left to the FDA or state and local regulations, or not regulated at all — has been consumed Taste before the collective. Multiple restaurants have struggled for putting lions on their menus, and if a lion is captured in the U.S., it’s technically legal to kill and eat it, though it’s still generally unpopular. Obviously, people are curious.

The promise of plant-based meat companies and grown meat companies is essentially to eat our steak and eat it. It could save the planet without changing our habits, in fact, maybe adding more meat to our diets without knowing it would require animal deaths and many low-wage workers to process and take a disproportionate amount of global losses due to emissions. We spoke to Bora about cultured meat, exotic animals, and whether that promise is possible.

Diners: Tell me more about the creation of raw food. What do you want to do with the company?

Bora: so i have a venture capital fund in london [Bora is a managing partner at Ace Ventures]. We invested in plant-based vegan startups, but at one point I started thinking, ‘This is not going to help any animals, so we have to do something different. We have to do something bold because another Fake meat companies don’t make people vegan. It’s just monetizing the vegan community.”

By the way, I’m vegan too, so I started thinking, “What can I do differently?” And I started thinking, maybe we should try growing exotic meats, so people with toxic masculine attitudes, climate denial Or, hard carnivores, may give up eating traditional slaughtered meat if they try this method. People will look for exotic meats, and by using cultured meat techniques, there is no psychological barrier to trying these meats.

You mentioned toxic masculinity and this very brotherly attitude, “I’m going to eat meat all the time.” Why do you think people with that mindset would be attracted to such exotic meat? Why switch them instead of something like Beyond Meat that mimics a beef burger?

I think it’s about the sociological and psychological aspects of eating meat because for hundreds of years it’s been equated with masculinity. People eat meat and the like.You can’t eat lions at this point as there is a lot of opposition to eating endangered animals [Editor’s note: the lion is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature]. This is what I call the “carnivore dilemma”, it’s okay to eat some animals, befriend some animals, and just watch some animals. But when you put the word “cultivation” together with the technology behind it, it’s okay to try them.

Which animals are you planning to recreate, and what is your approach to choosing which animals to bring in?

At this point, just starting out, we’re focusing on Instagrammability, and lions are the most popular wildlife on the planet. So we’ll start with the lion. But in the long run, big cats have a unique amino-stem protein signature because they move around a lot. They have big, big muscles, and they’re carnivores, so when you compare them to chicken, pork, and beef, they’re high in protein.

We’re also thinking about zebras, giraffes and elephants, but you’ll see [these] In the long run, because it’s a new technology, a new method, and there’s something specific called a cell line.The cell line is one of the most important things [this] current technology. Having efficient cell lines will show us where we want to focus in the long run.

Can you tell me more about how these were created? Because it seems to me that someone might go out and buy a pork chop, make a cultivated pork chop, and do a side-by-side taste test to see if they are similar. As you said, this is really not available for lions these days. So what are you doing to recreate the flavor?

In artificial meat technology, we only cultivate simple aspects such as fat or protein. But there are other ingredients, like tendons, fibers, blood in meat, sensory experience, taste experience, smell, that experience when you cut meat with a knife. I don’t think it’s possible to replicate all of this in cultured meat technology.

For exotic animals, our brains don’t have any background data about eating lions for taste. So we are very flexible in creating a flavor and sensory experience. We’ll start with restaurants in New York City, where chefs are capable of creating great food. This is how you first meet lion meat. It will be cooked by the chef, not the raw product you buy at the supermarket.

But if I go to one of those restaurants and order a lion steak, I don’t have a preconceived notion of what the lion tastes like. That presumably means your company can make it taste whatever it wants, right?

As far as flavor goes, it’s a copy-paste of molecules and DNA structures. Just copy and paste it into the cultivator.

Where do you get your DNA from?

It’s in the cell.

But where do you get the lion cells?

We source from live captive animals for big cats. For zebras, we source from exotic meat markets. But in the end, we’ll get cells from wild and native animals rather than from captured animals.

For captive animals, does that mean like a zoo? Can you tell me where you source them from?

like a sanctuary [where] People can visit and take pictures, but it’s not like a commercial zoo. It’s like a rich man who owns some exotic animals, he builds a sanctuary for them, and we source them from them. It’s in Ankara, Turkey, in Gölbaşı.

For the exotic meat market, I guess that means for zebras, you’re in the exotic meat trade, if you get that meat to rebuild those cells. Does it make you feel conflicted that you’re trying to create this vegan food company, but you’re still going to the exotic meat market to buy some products?

This is just one time. If you consider that 80 billion farm animals are slaughtered every year, that’s only once. We have to do this because there is currently no other way to do it.

The goal of many farmed and plant-based meat companies is to get heavy meat eaters to cut back or give up meat entirely because people fear giving up what they really love. But given that few people have eaten lion, zebra, or elephant meat, are you concerned that someone eating a cultured lion steak will inspire them to go out and eat the real thing?

If someone flew from the US to Africa and had a lion butchered, boiled, and tasted bad; I can assure you, it would be the worst meat-eating experience because [the animals] not domesticated. So did people who slaughtered cattle thousands of years ago, but they did it for nutrition because it’s a calorie-rich food. They have spent thousands of years perfecting it and making Wagyu beef in Kobe, Japan. But we’ll do it in just a few years, thanks to cultured meat technology.

a recent report Says “fake meat” production won’t end the climate crisis – highly processed alternative proteins can be worse for the environment, big companies are buying alternative meat brands, and the increased alternative protein so far hasn’t reduced meat and dairy consumption. You What do you think?

Helping solve the climate crisis is one of Primeval Foods’ main goals. There are many points in that report that I agree with. But in terms of the environmental impact of cultured meat, according to an independent study by the University of Oxford, producing cultured meat can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 96%, reduce energy consumption by 45%, reduce land use by 99%, and reduce 96% uses more water than conventional meat. More independent research shows that cultured meat can help tackle the climate crisis. So it’s not a question of if; it’s a question of when.

To have a meaningful and lasting impact, we need to target carnivores rather than vegans; I believe this should be the focus of starting an alternative protein company. Since vegetarians are already vegetarian, producing products for them will not have any impact on animals and the environment. What makes cultured meat so unique is that it’s real meat, not plant-based. Therefore, artificial meat offers the opportunity to reach a whole new population, because despite the negative impact of meat on the environment, health and animal welfare, some people will never give up eating meat.Eventually we will see cultivated, plant-based, fermented and traditional meats in the market, but I believe in traditional meats [meat] will have the smallest share.

Because this is artificial meat, it’s based on real things, real cells, but I feel like it opens up the possibilities of all these technologies. Do you think there is an option to make artificial meat based on extinct animals?

If they’ve gone extinct in the last decade or two, I think it’s okay to try. It’s theoretically possible, but with something like dinosaurs, I don’t think it’s possible.

What is your timeline for producing these products and bringing them into restaurants?

We are planning a wine tasting at a Michelin star restaurant in New York. But we postponed that event. Now we’re building a team, a core team. We’ll have a tasting, after which we’ll wait for regulation. Since 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have been working to regulate cultured meat. If they approve, maybe next year; we’re waiting for regulation to come into the market.