Could Future Kitchens Grow Both Food and Power?
VISION: Create a self-sustaining kitchen with a bioreactor that uses bioengineered yeast to grow its own “meats,” while generating the electricity to cook them.
TEAM: Adrienne Dy, Dawoon Jeong, Emma Riley, Pippa McLeod-Brown
SCHOOL: Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment, 2020
Today’s agriculture is energy intensive, sometimes toxic to the environment, and a major emitter of greenhouse gasses. Culina puts a circular food economy in every home. The team envisions growing animal-free meats from bioengineered yeast that thrive on waste from a hydroponic system for growing fruits and vegetables. Core to the vision is a bioreactor in every kitchen that can grow the microbes, power the kitchen, and consume food scraps to produce the next meal.
Compared to other bioengineered proteins, which often use cells from animals, Culina’s entire process is vegan. In addition to alternatives for pork, beef, fish, and chicken, they’ve devised more imaginative meats like “unicorn fillets,” “dinosaur steaks,” and “dodo poultry.”
“We’ve actually made 11 courses so far. Our favorite is shiitake mushrooms cooked with a lacto-fermented honey glaze and paired with koji croutons, which are made using fermented pearl barley. It comes together really nicely as a dish,” says Pippa McLeod-Brown.
“Have you considered a new name for the food that we’re going to consume, without all the baggage and history, for better or worse, that vegetables and meat come with?” judge Elaine Young, founder of the LAByrinth Project, asked.
“That’s a conversation we’ve only just begun,” answered McLeod-Brown.