A group of journalists, scientists, and food professionals gathers at a high-end L.A. restaurant to taste test cloned meat, and the Los Angeles Times is there to chronicle the results.

The geneticist shows photos the sought-after bull whose cloned prodigies the group is consuming. The food show host argues that cloning seems unnatural. The sociologist points out that people are benefiting from our worries about cloned meat:

“There are a lot of interests that benefit from the hysteria. Politicians sound like they’re for safe food, and they’re going to protect us from this Frankenstein future that we hear about. And beyond that, there is a premium that many people will pay for meat that’s labeled as noncloned. The organic industry — they’re thrilled about this.”

And the chef, Mark Peel of L.A.’s Campanile, cooks. He sears porterhouse steaks and hamburgers from both cloned and uncloned steer. He prepares mild side dishes so that the flavor of the meat shines through.

“When you have such a divisive issue, it’s important to have peas,” Peel said.

In the end, not even the food professionals could tell the difference between the two samples. And although the evening went a ways toward altering the participants views of cloned animal products, chef Peel noted that the evening’s fare was the “most unusual” thing he’d prepared in the 18 years of his restaurant’s existance.

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