The rise of vegan alternatives, mock-meats and plant-based protein products has been well documented.
It is a 'food trend' that has eclipsed mere trendiness and embedded itself in a way many never expected.
Australians are turning to meatless alternatives in droves. Blame it on climate change anxieties, blame it on vegan activists, or blame it on healthy eating influencers; vegan foods are certainly here to stay.
A new brand, co-founded by the former co-founder of failed custom shoe brand Shoes of Prey Michael Fox, is throwing its hat into the plant-based ring with the launch of Fable.
Made with shiitake mushrooms, Fable is producing plant-based pulled pork and beef brisket for the fine dining market.
The meat alternative can be used in everything from Asian-style duck pancakes to spicy chili con carne, where Fable can be used to easily replace crispy duck skin or braised beef.
Ahead of its luxurious launch at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Melbourne's Crown Towers, the company raised $1.5 million in funding.
These funds will be used to develop additional meat alternatives based on mushrooms and expand production and distribution through restaurants, food service and retail.
Shoes of Prey's Fox is joined by fellow co-founders Jim Fuller, a fine dining chef and mycologist, and Chris McLoghlin, an organic mushroom farmer.
"Our mission is to create the most delicious plant-based meat products while maximising the use of whole food base ingredients and minimising processing," says Fox whose former business Shoes of Prey collapsed in 2018.
"We want to make it easy for health-conscious consumers to reduce their meat consumption. We believe the best way to do this is create unabashedly delicious meat alternatives that the best chefs in the world like Heston want to work with to create amazing dishes and we do it leveraging all the benefits of mushrooms."
Co-founder Fuller says Fable is an accurate recreation of pork and beef.
"We focus on taste and texture first," says Fuller.
"I'm Texan and grew up on BBQ. Our goal with Fable has been to re-create the taste and texture of pulled pork and beef brisket, two of my favourite meats."
How is this recreation achieved? According to organic farmer McLoghlin the secret is the humble mushroom.
"Mushrooms have the natural umami flavours we crave in meat, and are naturally nutritious," says McLoghlin.
"We've been able to create a product which is first and foremost delicious and satisfying. It's based on shiitake mushrooms and we minimise the processing. It's very good for you and very good for the environment."
The product is so good that celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal has started making Fable available at his restaurants, starting with The Perfectionists' Café in London.
"In today's world, we need to be mindful about what we eat," says Blumenthal.
"The new Fable product combines the natural benefits of shiitake mushrooms with fantastic innovation resulting in something that not only tastes great but can be used in a variety of ways as a meat alternative. Through the last months, we have been extensively testing the product with some of our recipes and realised that this product goes beyond replacing meat, it should be in a category of its own!"
Fable will launch into addition find dining establishments and restaurants across Australia and Singapore over the coming months.
Photos: by Instant Crush
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