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Roy explores future culinary landscapes looking forward to a world affected by climate change. Roy spends an evening with chefs Henry Fischer and Anna Rose Hopkins from Hank and Bean who make a surprising plant-forward dinner featuring non-traditional protein sources like crickets and jellyfish. Roy also visits with Ethan Brown of Beyond Meat, a company pioneering the plant-based replacements for our favorite burgers and sausages, and Vegan Hooligans, a pop-up restaurant in eastside LA’s Eagle Rock making classic American diner food out of entirely plant-based ingredients.

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Transcript

- [Roy] Welcome. I just wanted to give you a quick introduction of why we're here. What we're looking at is the future of food. Can there possibly be a world where we're not eating just pigs, chickens, and cows? - [Anna] We've entered into an era where the environment is being more affected by us than any other force in nature. - I used to think the cars were the biggest issue with the climate. Livestock has contributed more, in my view, to climate, than any other single sector. - The problem's overuse in a way that is first and foremost unhealthy for the planet. Secondary, unhealthy for humans. - [Jose] You wanna live off the land, you know, but if the land doesn't have the resources that you need to survive, what is it that you do? - [Roy] If there is a truth to this climate change, global warming, ice caps are melting, the world coming apart. We're gonna be extinct by 2050. If all of that is true, it's coming from the food industry. - [Roy] I'm a street cook. Even before I was a street cook, I was a street person. I'm out there doing things whether it's approved or not. My whole existence in this world is to nourish and feed people. I want this show to be about the power of us as humans to come together again. Let's not make assumptions. Let's not make stereotypes. And from there we can start to talk about these things and maybe understand each other. Whether your beliefs differ from mine, we're breaking bread. - [Roy] If you've been paying attention, you know we're on the brink of environmental collapse. Eating animals the way that we do, relying on factory farms, filling the air with methane emissions, turning a blind eye to contamination. It's no surprise, we're headed for disaster. I'm a chef. I see the world through the lens of food, but if food is one of the biggest factors that leads to our eviction from this planet, then we need to find some solutions. - [Anna] This is the prep list. It's also on the screen and I'm revising it right now. But this is the prep. - [Roy] Anna Hopkins and Henry Fischer have created a popup called Hank and Bean. They explore the future of food through what's around us, what's local, and what's sustainable. What's tomorrow's dinner about? What's the theme for tomorrow's dinner? - So tomorrow's dinner is "Making The Best Of It: Nimble Foods for Climate Chaos." Making the best of it is being an opportunist right now, in a positive way. Saying, "I am not going to go crawl into a hole and get really bummed and depressed about where our planet is headed." We're not just gonna pack our bags and get ready to go to Mars. We're on this planet and if we're not all collectively turning that ship around, we're still making the best of it. - [Roy] So okay, so what is this I'm looking at right here? - [Anna] It's an arboreal garden, so we basically foraged it. - A lot of this stuff is edible if you know how to use it. - This edible? - If you want it to be. Depends on how eager you are. - Okay, all right, all right, okay. This to me, looks like what animals would eat. What, let's just start from left to right. - This is aloe. It starts dying off here, but in the center right here, juice is created, which is the sugar. And then you extract the sugar and you mix it with the part that is in here. You ferment it and you make phulka. - It's amazing. - But our way. - [Anna] And then we've got some cool succulents that maybe we don't think about enough. - I like these, yeah, ice plant, it has crystals like weed. - Yes. - So then just rip a piece. - Right there? - Or even the flower. - Oh, yeah. - What do you think? - Sour, juicy, I like it. - And this grows like a weed. It's invasive and it's super good for you. - Do you think other people see this and get hungry? Do you think right now people gonna look at this and say "Damn, let's eat!"? - This is a really small part of the puzzle, right? As we progress and we get a little bit more aromatic and funky because things have been aged, you're gonna get hungry and then we're gonna move to different other sources of things that-- - [Roy] So how am I eating this? What's going on here? - That's just beautiful, exactly. - We hope to inform, almost help to build a path, show what you can do with things that might be more available in the future. For example, show people that you can use certain things that come from the sea that are now very abundant and more to the likings of the planet. - The dinner that we're about to do tomorrow, we are going to start by using jellyfish as an important building block that can get your brain thinking as much as your taste buds. If you had them in a tank that you're holding them in, that natural motion would happen by cycling the water. - [Roy] Oh, that's why you just did that spin, okay. - [Anna] Yes, not only for fun. - Why do you wanna eat 'em, and what's the purpose of these things? - So because of climate change, and because of over-usage of beef and overfishing and we are in a bloom period, which means that the jellyfish are multiplying so fast that they're covering sea water. - Yeah, I've seen that before. - They're covering sea water to that extent that they sometimes kill of other species of fish. - What we're trying to address is what's happening to our globe as one giant ecosystem. Part of that problem is figuring out how to address the bloom of the jellyfish. Maybe we should be taking an active approach to learning them, understanding them, seeing different uses for them, and one of those uses might be culinary. - [Roy] We're in a world right now where this looks edible, but this doesn't. - [Anna] Right. - [Henry] Right, yet. - [Roy] Yet. - So we want here for example, same jelly fish. We tried to prepare it different ways. These are just jellyfish that been cured in ethanol and then basically air dried so they left at air temperature. - You make jellyfish chicharrones. - Exactly, so tomorrow we're gonna try it when it's fried and then we evolve on this and we make products out of this. We make a flour out of it so we can bake with it or whatever. - Uh huh, this is jellyfish, shaved jellyfish? - [Henry] Straight. - [Roy] I'm gonna put this in my wife's coffee. - [Henry] So if you let it linger on your tongue, it sticks a little bit, right? - Yeah. - [Henry] You can make a macaron with that, instead of using almonds that take up all the water and only give you this one little almond back, this doesn't take as much resources. - [Roy] I get it. - You get things that are totally unfamiliar that people have a huge "no way" factor, and then they taste it prepared in a certain way, and they're like, "I could totally get down with that. I don't wanna think about it, but I could totally do that." - [Henry] As we are trying to cook for people that sometimes are picky, we try to implement something that's familiar, with something that's unfamiliar. We just pick stuff that's in season right now and made Greek salad. - [Roy] It's really beautiful. - [Henry] And then, it's gonna sit in your hand, you can just make a wrap and enjoy it. So let's see you eat one too. - [Anna] Let's all do it, let's all do it. - Okay, yeah yeah, cheers, l'chaim. I eat this with the salad? - Yeah, that's the point. - Not bad. Tastes like, feels like eating an oyster, for the first time. - [Henry] I was hoping you were gonna say that. - To be honest. - Would you like another one? - I don't want one right now, but I could eat another one for sure. But I get it, I get it and it goes really well with the salad. - [Anna] It's part of our work to also expand the mind about these things that are lesser known and lesser used, not to be cool, but to actually say that this curiosity can fuel a change. - [Roy] Cricket flatbread, cricket flatbread, let's go. - We've got our starter, we've got an organic unbleached flour, we've got our cricket powder, and now we get to bread. - The gospel of eating insects has been going around for a while. - A while, decades, but in the end it's a very sustainable source of protein and if you don't think about the aspect what it is, it's tasty. - It's tasty, yeah. - [Henry] This is the future. You cannot sustain a different way. - [Roy] But we have to take a baby step and maybe supplement or mix, versus trying to convince the world to eat this tonight instead of a cheeseburger and a pepperoni pizza. It's a tough sell right now, you know? I mean, you can't even, can't even taste the-- - [Henry] Yeah, it just tastes like a-- - [Anna] Just tastes like whole wheat. - [Henry] It's like a whole wheat pita. - [Anna] One thing that we're trying to do when thinking about our region is, okay, so if we're maybe approaching desert, let's just got to the desert, let's just think about the desert. Jack rabbit is wild and super abundant. - [Henry] We have melons and blossoms and then we have some cucumbers and following the mediterranean spectrum again just to keep it accessible for everybody. People always think you gotta have a large amount of protein in order to make food interesting. You're challenging the fundamental foundations of how we've decided to eat as Americans here. A 32 ounce steak. - [Henry] Right, right, exactly. - [Roy] Right, and you're giving me this much? - [Henry] Yeah, like maybe one ounce? - [Roy] This much? And this will probably fill me up just as much in a different way. - It doesn't make you feel bad, where you eat that 32 ounce steak, you're gonna be really messed up afterwards. Melon jack rabbit. - [Roy] Wow, that's beautiful. - [Henry] It's nothing uncommon, like if you walk down a street in Barcelona any place will give you melon with prosciutto. So this is our interpretation of here. - [Roy] That's delicious, that's delicious. And you're really showing that we don't need to eat this much meat. Like literally this will fill me up. - [Henry] Right. - [Roy] It's a way to eat that can change a lot of the way we treat ourselves and other animals in this world. Just stopping to continuously farm the same plants over and over, to farm the same fish over and over, to farm the same three animals over and over, this is a look into getting beyond that for sure. I can't wait 'til I see people eat this tomorrow. Thank you, thank you so much. - Thank you so much. - Thank you very much. - Thank you so much. - [Roy] Hamburgers. We write songs about them, we lust after them, they're more American than apple pie, but there's a darker side. Studies show that meat is doing more damage to the atmosphere than cars, trucks, buses and trains combined, but we can do somethin' about it. Ethan Brown created Beyond Meat, where they're using science to extract protein from plants and the result is a killer, delicious burger that's almost identical to real meat. It doesn't seem natural that we have to spend all of these resources raising these animals to kill them but it's become our normality, but what is that impact on the world? - Been such a big issue, whether it's climate or human health, animal welfare, you've got these issues of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that are associated with high levels of animal protein consumption. The consumer sees all this and they're like, "Well what can I eat anymore?" Most people think about meat and say well meat comes from a chicken, cow or pig. What we do as a company is we think somewhat differently about meat. What we think about is really the composition of meat. It's amino acids, lipids, it's trace minerals, trace amount of vitamins and it's predominately water. A lot of cuts are metered 60 or 70 percent water as you know as a chef, so why don't we think about building meat differently? - [Roy] Wow. - If it's nothing in the animal that's so special that you couldn't pull that out of plants. - Hi, my name is Roy. - I'm Julie. - Pleasure to meet you, Julie. Color. - So when we eat, you eat with your eyes first and foremost so my job is to look at all the different sources of color that you can find out in the natural world, so everything from fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, you name it, we extract the red color from the beets and that's what gives the meaty hue to our current burger. So what you're lookin' for are kind of those, almost bloody tones. - [Roy] Were you just eyeballing that or were they actual measurements that you-- - Oh no, that was me eyeballing. - [Roy] That does look like a meaty color. - Why thank you. We always want to come closer and closer until it's indistinguishable. - Hey Jonny. - Hey. - Pleasure to meet you. - Nice to meet you. All of our colors come from fruit or vegetable extracts. So beet is ideal in this sense because as natural colorants from vegetables go, they're the least stable and so when we cook them, they do change color, they lose color and we want this change so the consumer will know, okay it's time to flip my patty, now it's ready to eat. Just to strain out all the fiber and plant material to get the juice. - [Roy] Oh how cool is that. - [Jonny] I'm gonna just put this into the spray dryer which is this instrument here. What it does is they say it runs air through it. It goes up through here, through this nozzle, shoots out in this chamber here, so it's basically collecting all down here, so see this? This is all basically the powder. That colored powder is what we use in the patty. - [Roy] Whoa, gee whiz. - [Jonny] So that's yeah, so if you put that into water it would be a very strong color. - It's a really cool color. I wanna paint my car that color. I like the reddish part, 'cause it always felt like it was juicier. So I've gone through the color lab, I've gone through the extraction lab, and now I'm here at the texture lab. - [Dr. Lee] Here we analyze the texture of our materials, can pick components to give the bite, the chew, the mouth feel. - Has the world now, from a place where veggie burgers used to be known as that they're veggie patties, and now we're moving into a zone where we want them to actually hit the sensor points of meat. - It's to expand the market, 'cause a lot of people, you tell 'em it's a veggie patty, then instantly if you're a traditional meat eater, it turns you off, but they say no, this is plant based meat, it's a whole different aspect and we're not trying to change people's minds everywhere but just give them an alternative if they wanna try to make a change. So basically this is a large mechanical mouth. It measures the force and the kind of feedback that the material goes through when you're chewing. - Cool, I'm excited to see this. Ooh, look at that. - You have to strike the right balance, right, you don't want something that's overly chewy like an overcooked steak or something but we want it to have a good resistance to bite. - It feels like we're on the verge of a huge breakthrough, which is cool, I like it. - [Roy] Beautiful, so, can you show the camera? So you can see it has the meat texture. No oil, huh? - [Marta] So no oil. - [Roy] Can you grind this up too and put it in like a chili or? - Yes, you can make a chili, you can make it like a lasagna. The beauty of this is easy to make in a different dishes. - Beautiful. Look at that, it grills just like a regular burger. - [Marta] So look, we have our delicious burger. Here we go, there's our classic one. - Beautiful. - [Andrew] Thank you. - [Roy] Oh my gosh. - [Andrew] Made out of all plant based stuff, yeah, thank you. It's a perfect protein because we basically source protein from peas, from sunflower, from mung bean and from rice, so that actually has more protein in it than a normal patty. It's less saturated fat 'cause no cholesterol. - I feel like I eat one of these, I go on American Ninja Warrior. - The burger uses 99 percent less water. - 99 percent less water? - Less water. - Less water than another patty that would be all meat? - [Andrew] Yeah. - [Roy] You're factoring in all the stuff that it takes to make that burger, watering, feeding the cow? - Exactly, yeah, after flow-- - Feeding them, after slaughter, washing down. - Yup, so we have all these ability to impact basically human healthy, climate, natural resources by simply changing the source of the protein that's in these, not telling people not to eat meat, but just changing that source of protein. If we can accomplish that, we can solve for four of those issues. - [Marta] We have our original flavor brats. - The cook time, the smell, look at that, you can see the sizzling, the wetness, everything, feels like a regular sausage. That looks like meat based fat but it's plant based. This is your backyard fourth of July. The big breakthrough is that from a, I think, consumer level, is that you can cook it exactly like a regular bratwurst or hot dog. American as apple pie. - [Andrew] It's gotta be the exact same. - 'Cause if you're gonna break the threshold-- - [Andrew] You gotta do it. - You can't have anyone have a second thought. - [Andrew] Reducing any barriers to adoption is the key, so how do we get it to be where it's an indistinguishable experience, both in cooking and in consumption. - Yeah. The research that has been done is that we eat three burgers a week in America. If we just collectively as a nation eat one less burger a week, that's equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road. It's pretty substantial. Two and half generations from now, they're gonna look back on us and say "You killed that many cows? For what? You guys would birth them inside of a facility, raise them under inhumane, dark conditions, fatten them up with corn, kill them, process them, transport them and then throw away over 60 percent of what you just created? That was the world you lived in?" That's the world we live in. If Beyond Meat is a science, and Hank and Bean are the vision, then the Vegan Hooligans are the reality. They're the culture, the style, the now. We're out here at Abby's Diner, but tonight it's a pop-up run by Jose Mejia. He's spreading the vegan gospel to the east side, but I see the world. Hey, the name's Roy man. - Hey, how's it going, man, nice to meet you, Jose, man. - [Roy] Thanks for having us. - No, thanks for coming. - [Roy] The Vegan Hooligan. - Yeah, I'm a huge soccer fan, soccer hooligans you know, so I wanted to create a brand where you're able to walk around and you're like "Oh that's a Vegan Hooligan" you know, so you wanna get a greasy cheeseburger and a chili cheese fries, you could definitely come here and get it. Whenever I wanted to go eat food, I would always go to York Boulevard, but there was days where I wanted to eat and there was nothing open around here so I wanted to create a space where people come and enjoy, listen to music and have a good meal and it doesn't matter whether you're vegan or not, you know? - [Roy] Yeah, that's cool, they shouldn't. - Because that's the whole point. _ That's the whole point. That's what it should be like. Like are you guys all plant based all the time. Woo woo? About 70 percent of the crowd said yes. Even though it's plant based food, you're cooking like this is a greasy diner, right? - [Jose] Because the misconception is you're vegan, you're gonna eat a bowl of lettuce and it has no flavor, right, so if I create something that people are gonna like and not know that it's vegan or whatever the reason, we made it and you're gonna enjoy it, so. - It's all stereotypes. - No, yeah. - That's like saying Asians are good at math. I'm not. I'm not, I swear. - [Jose] Hi, let's do some vegan comfort food. Everybody loves Taco Bell, so this is our version of a Taco Bell crunch wrap. - [Ryan] Maybe Taco Bell will watch this and hire you for research and development and consulting. You can change the world in bigger ways. - [Jose] One could hope, right? It's all these big chains that are putting vegan options in their menu and sometimes they actually do a much better job than existing restaurants already they're out there, you know? - [Roy] If we continue to have more fun and put more flavor like you're doing, you guys are the building blocks to breaking through for the masses you know? - [Jose] I do the Beyond Meat for the crunch wrap because it's really more of a ground beef texture. - [Roy] That looks like the real thing. - [Jose] Yeah dude, check that out. - All right, crunch wrap. Wow this is good, it's really good. - [Jose] This is the dish that I opened up the diner with. - [Roy] That's the one, huh? So it's a carne asada, tomato, kinda salsa verde mayo. - [Jose] Once it's nice and toasted, I like to cut it down the middle and then I like to put it back in there. - [Roy] There you go. - [Jose] Just let it toast. - I like the way you cook because everything has your own look and your own style to it. - There we go, take a bite of that. - Ah that looks good. That's so good. It's so fuckin' good! Oh man, I didn't expect that was delicious man. That was so good. - Oh thanks man, appreciate it. - Before the cameras were there, before the movement was there, before it was popular, this is a lifestyle. This is a lifelong knowledge journey, and then you run into folks like Jose here at the Vegan Hooligans. Their message is completely connecting, and that's where we are right now and that's the future. We are moving closer and closer to the point where more and more and more people are starting to eat plant based diets. Something's gonna happen. When I was a kid, I though the future would be a place where science and nature combine, like Voltron, to create a better world. - [Anna] Hi, nice to see you! - [Jerry] How you guys doing? - Good. - [Ryan] And I think that's where we're heading with people like Ethan, Jose, Anna and Henry. Yeah, sit down. They're giving us the opportunity to sit around the table and talk about a different kind of future. Cheers, welcome! Cheers, cheers. - [Anna] Okay, we're super stoked to talk about this. Before we do, we're gonna let you experience it and I'm gonna encourage everyone to open your mind. - We work with species that are either coming along with us and progressing and becoming more abundant or species that should be used more because they haven't been so in this case it's jellyfish. - [Anna] This is the moon jellyfish. It looks like a ghost in a glass because it's so light. We think of it as maybe potentially a little like an oyster. - [Henry] It's a protein source. It's a very clean protein source, and collagen. - My wrinkles are just fading away. - At the end of this meal we're all gonna be 10 years younger. - [Female Diner] And thinner. - A lot of immigrant cultures, they're looking at this sort of stuff and they're like "We've been eating this for ages." - Thousands of years, yeah. - [Jerry] Its like jellyfish on the table, it's like nothing new, then again, talking about sort of localization and what's happening with temperature changes, some of this stuff is going to have to be where we get sources of nutrient and sources of protein, things that we're not gonna be able to find. - This particular one is gonna be a plant. It's succulent on succulent. This is on the top 10 invasive plants for LA County. - [Henry] It has a lot of crystals on it that are filled with moisture. - [Mick] Mono culture has cut off the diversity in the microbiome inside of our bodies, outside of our bodies in the soil, and all these different environments and we've actually created a lot of health issues due to that and so this picture actually is leading us towards healthier ecosystems from the bottom up. - [Anna] You are now enjoying cricket flatbread. - It's delicious. - [Roy] Crickets need a different paint job, because you can't just force young kids to say "Eat crickets 'cause they're better for you and better for the world", 'cause they still look like crickets and they've been taught their whole life, hell, crickets, step on 'em. - We did like an air dried beef, but instead of beef we did rabbit. - [Roy] Just this amount of protein just filled me up. This amount of protein and dairy filled me up. There is a way to eat and not just eat iceberg lettuce and tuna and salmon. - [Henry] Enjoy it. - [Female Diner] Oh my god, this is crazy. - [Henry] The gel is made of jellyfish, so we made a flour out of it and then we used it gelatin in order to show what we can do with it in order to see how far we can go with it. - [Female Diner] It's a jelly jelly. - [Henry] This is nothing in comparison to what you actually can do. It's just a small step. - [Roy] It's delicious, so much flavor. What would it take for you guys to maybe start to shift your lifestyle toward something like this? - I think the problem with food like this in the States is corporations won't get behind it. - The way we're gonna get them behind it is that there has to be a demand for it. - There's only one little problem, funneling all of the values through kind of the present corporate structure, is it demand scale? - [Roy] Yes, that's a great point. - And one of the things that I've been really interested in is how we forage as part of our diet, we don't scale, we eat very little meat compared to plants, we look at our own responsibility, not that I want to shift everything to the individual. Corporations have to have a second bottom line, so it isn't just profit and scale. - I think it's gonna take a lot of conversation, but it's education, it's talking about it. Our bodies weren't designed to eat the way that we're eating right now and that's all through corporate culture. We can't just replace a 24 ounce slab of pig for a 24 ounce slab of jellyfish. You know, and so it's first educating that we don't need to eat 24 ounces of meat. So their food is saying wait a second. Instead of using something that's not indigenous or accessible, why don't we use something that grows right in our backyard, then you're making less waste, less pollution, reducing your carbon footprint and you're foraging from the land, becoming part of the ecosystem instead of ruining it. Every generation has its own crisis and fears the world is ending, but this one feels a little more real. All the people we've met are spending their time and energy torquing their engines and confronting the issue head on. They're betting all their money and saying, "We do not agree with the choices we are making so we're gonna do something about it." I hope these stories invite you to give a damn and go out and make a change and do something that benefits the planet and our bodies. Future of food, otherwise what's the point? Otherwise what's the point?