In a recent feature by award-winning food writer Clarissa Hyman, Paul Bom of the Netherlands-based shop The Vegetarian Butcher revealed that “even Ferran Adrià was convinced he was dealing with high-class chicken thighs,” in reference to their meat-free offerings. “We want to take vegetarian food out of the green corner and make it gourmet and sexy,” Bom said, an aspiration that comes one step closer to reality when an innovative molecular gastronomist such as Adrià—the head chef behind Spain’s five-time best restaurant in the world el Bulli—takes notice. The Dutch shop and meat-free factory create smoked bacon strips, chicken shawarma, shrimp, and meat grounds from ingredients such as non-GMO soy, pulses, grains, vegetables, and lupin—a locally-sourced legume. The Vegetarian Butcher in the Netherlands was the first in a handful of shops—namely, Australia’s Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher, Canada’s YamChops, Minneapolis’ Herbivorous Butcher, and Berkeley’s The Butcher’s Son—to popularize the use of plant-based ingredients to subvert traditional butcher culture.
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