The chef presents me with a nugget of raw meat, tinged yellowish gray, then takes it back and drops it in a pan. “Today, you’re going to be having our whole-muscle chicken filet,” Daniel Davila tells me, searing the morsel. He lets it rest, chars some tomatoes and scallions, and throws together a beurre-blanc sauce. “Kind of a classic,” Davila says.
Davila works for Upside Foods, a start-up disrupting the world of animal proteins from its base in Berkeley, California. After a few minutes, he places the dish before me. I inhale, smelling salt and sear. I cut the meat, the serrations on the knife shredding it into strings. I take a piece and squish it, observing it bounce back and dampen my hands. I put a small amount in my mouth, chew carefully, and taste, well, not much. It tastes like chicken.