Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio Joins With Meati to Fight Food Insecurity

A Meati whole-cut steak shaped from fermented mycelium, an alternative meat product.
A Meati whole-cut steak shaped from fermented mycelium, an alternative meat product. Meati

This week, previous Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio officially joined the alternative meat revolution.

“I’m so thrilled to be part of the team bringing this incredible new food to the world, and can’t wait to start sharing it,”  Colicchio posted to his Instagram account

Meati is a new whole-food protein coming in 2022. Meati creates whole-cut meat alternatives using fermented mycelium — the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae; essentially, white threads. Available in whole cuts like chicken breast and steak, Meati asserts that these vegan cuts are delicious, and they’ve already got several celebrated food brokers to back this claim including the aforementioned Colicchio. The chef is on board because he’s all about Meati’s taste and potential to make food production greener and protein-packed food products available to all people.

“As a chef, I have a keen eye for seeking out new ingredients and innovations that deliver on quality and taste, and I’m equally as passionate about finding products with the potential to deliver whole nutrition in an equitable and sustainable way,” Colicchio said in a press release. “Meati excels in both of these categories as they bring their disruptive product to market.”

Nutrient-dense and sustainably made from mushroom root, Meati aims to deliver a global impact with a product at once accessible and delicious. Constructed from the root structure of mushrooms, Meati delivers 25 grams of protein and more than one-third of the suggested daily fiber per every 4.5-ounce serving. The company can manufacture the meat equivalent of 4,500 cows every 24 hours with less than 1% of the water and land use of conventional industrial meat production. 

Meati founders Justin Whiteley and Tyler Huggins met as Ph.D. students at Colorado University in Boulder, their mutual interest in mycelium’s power drawing them together like a fungal colony. At first, the pair harnessed mycelial roots’ chemical composition to build a more compostable battery before pivoting to fungal foodstuffs that would lead to Meati. In order to encourage a new nutritional ecosystem through the low-impact production of nutrient-dense food that is better for people and for the planet, Whiteley and Huggins went about bringing on big investors.

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Colicchio joins Meati just following the close of the nascent company’s competitive, $50 million Series B funding drive. Meati’s existing team includes former Whole Foods Market CEO Walter Robb and former Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario. These investor-advisors will help Meati in a rapid production scale ahead of launching to a national market in 2022. 

In anticipation of this release, Meati’s granted Colicchio ten product bundles to send to friends and followers months before it’s available in stores. Interested in scoring a chance to try the first-taste bundle ahead of its 2022 launch? Enter by Friday, Nov. 20 for a chance to win and you could be one of the first people to try Meati.

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