Francis Mallmann, the Argentine chef who has built his career around cooking meet over an open fire, believes that in 30 years people will no longer eat meat.
Mallmann made the bold claim to the drinks business during an exclusive interview in London ahead of his three-day pop-up at Cut at 45 Park Lane, which starts today.
Speaking to WLC about the recent rise of veganism, Mallmann said: “I’m pro the idea and am doing a cookbook about fire and veggies and vegan cooking.
“I think in 30 years we won’t eat meat anymore. Veganism is a silent and respectful trend and is a growing path of young people.
“In the ‘80s and ‘90s there was still a lot of aggression from some animal rights activists, but the new generation of vegans and vegetarians are very respectful. It’s time for us to think about it and to celebrate it and to learn from it.”
With meat playing such an integral role in Mallmann’s cuisine, both at his nine restaurants and at the outdoor pop-up events he hosts across the globe that show off his open-fire cooking to full effect, the chef admitted that the trend towards plant-based cuisine means he’ll have to change his business model.
“We’ll have to change. I’m planning to make big changes in my restaurants next year towards becoming more vegan and veggie friendly.
“We’ve already made some changes but these will increase each year. I’m not saying that I’m going to stop serving meat and fish, but maybe one day, who knows…” he said.
“The aim with my new book is to make a vegan feel that when they eat a main course it’s like having a steak – it’s not about serving a little salad with some nuts in.
“I want them to feel that we’ve really thought it through and serve them something that is substantial and delicious, and that they have the same experience as having a steak at one of my restaurants,” he added.
So far Mallmann has created a pair of vegan dishes that he’s “happy with” in terms of flavour and impact.
“One is an aubergine steak, which we’re doing at the Cut pop-up, and the other one is made with cauliflower. I’m also working on a watermelon dish,” he said.
Last month Food & Wine reported that a smoked watermelon ‘ham’ from Duck’s Eatery in New York’s East Village is proving so popular that the $75 creation has a 30-day waiting list. The watermelons are brined in a salty solution then dried and smoked for a day.
Finally, they’re scored and pan-seared, leading to “salty, smoky, tender, juicy” flavours that mirror the experience of a smoked ham or a steak.
In 2014 revered French chef Alain Ducasse took the bold step of removing meat from the menu at his three Michelin-starred restaurant at Hotel Plaza Athenée in Paris. Instead of meat, the menu shines a light on fish, cereals and vegetables grown in the gardens of Versailles.
“The planet’s resources are rare, we must consume more ethically,” Ducasse said at the time of the announcement.
An in depth interview with Francis Mallmann will be published on thedrinksbusiness.com soon.