Imagining the Lab-Grown Food of The Future

By Chris Mills on at

Scientists are charging full steam ahead with building lab-grown meat, so that we can fulfil our burger cravings without the moral, environmental and economic costs of raising cows. But that raises an important question: what the hell would a lab-grown meal even look like?

The first lab-grown burger was grilled up back in 2013 (apparently it tasted pretty weird). But without the usual biological constraints, some chefs think that meat grown in vitro will be a good chance to re-imagine food.

So, that’s exactly what a team of designers, chefs, scientists and philosophers set out to do with ‘Bistro in Vitro’, an online-only imaginary website, which lets you create — and see! — a full three-course meal made out of future food.

Imagining The Lab-Grown Food Of The Future

There’s dishes you might almost recognise — like in vitro oysters, “grown in miniature bioreactors, submerged in a sea of warm growth serum” — and others you probably won’t: the ‘throat tickler’ is “wet, slippery and wriggly and occupies the grey area between a sea anemone and a sex toy”. The site will let you pick your very own starter, main and meaty dessert, before assembling them into a meal, and letting you book a reservation for 2028.

It’s an interesting experiment, and one that touches on an important question with lab-grown meat: whether or not people will be willing to make the trade, even if the science comes together. Steaks for throat ticklers? Might need to work on that one. [Bistro in Vitro via Dezeen]


Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.