How Michelin-Starred Restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns Impressed This Chef to Launch Vegan Beet Jerky

Chef Theo Mourad is making use of the huge data he gained from working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns into a brand new model, THEO’s Plant Primarily based. The model is first coming to market with chef-crafted vegan jerky produced from natural beets in Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Sesame-Ginger Teriyaki, and Savory BBQ flavors.

With this product, Mourad is taking his data of farm-to-table cooking—a observe popularized by Blue Hill at Stone Barns—into a brand new path that focuses on complete greens as nutritious, minimally processed snacks.

“It’s for my part that plant-based merchandise ought to deal with agricultural merchandise slightly than making an attempt to be a duplicate of beef, for instance,” Mourad advised VegNews. “We’re not doing something revolutionary. It’s actually simply prime quality inputs and a focus to element.”

Beginning right this moment, THEO’s Plant Primarily based BEET jerky is out there for pre-order by the corporate web site with orders transport out in September.

Making vegan jerky out of beets

Beets are sometimes revered by cooks for his or her earthy flavors and crimson hues and to make its beet jerky, THEO’s preserved the integrity of the underutilized root vegetable by dehydrating it and creating seasoning blends to enhance its pure flavors. “Beets particularly are extraordinarily nutritious and a bit polarizing and underused,” Mourad stated. “So I needed to create one thing that was accessible, an easy-to-eat product the place any individual might get the advantages of beets. Dehydration hardly compromises the diet of the vegetable itself.”

Rebecca Peterson Corridor

At Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Mourad was absorbed into the world of farm-to-table cookery which served as nice inspiration for his new, vegetable-centric model. “[It’s an] completely intensive work surroundings the place they’re force-feeding you, actually, this concept and idea of taking agricultural merchandise at peak season, retaining them so simple as doable, and honoring them for what they’re,” Mourad describes his expertise at Blue Hill. “That complete line of pondering, at a foundational degree, is similar as we’re doing with THEO’s Plant Primarily based however simply making use of it to client merchandise within the plant-based house.”

To that finish, the corporate is working with a provider in New York to take natural beets from the bottom to their dehydrators as rapidly as doable to protect most freshness and diet. To scale back waste, the corporate makes use of the beet tops and bottoms, together with peels, and packs the jerky in compostable packaging.

Taking vegan snacks to the following degree

Mourad has 10 years of culinary expertise below his belt, which along with Blue Hill at Stone Barns contains time at vegan eatery The Lunch Room in Ann Arbor, MI, his hometown. After working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, he moved from upstate New York to Chicago with the intent to proceed working in effective eating however the COVID-19 pandemic dismantled the restaurant trade. Mourad pivoted to bringing THEO’s Plant Primarily based to life and partnered along with his childhood pal and longtime vegan Aaron Brodkey. For his half, Brodkey just lately left his place as Program Supervisor at Massive Concept Ventures (a well known various protein accelerator and enterprise capital agency) to totally deal with growing the plant-based model.

Theo Mourad (left) and Aaron Brodkey (proper) Credit score: Rebecca Peterson Corridor

“I used to be actually impressed by what Theo was in a position to do with beets,” Brodkey advised VegNews, explaining he sampled many meat alternate options whereas at Massive Concept Ventures. “I’ve been vegan for seven years and might attest that it’s vegan-approved on my finish.”

THEO’s Plant Primarily based was just lately chosen by Entire Meals Market to take part in its coveted accelerator program, the place 10 corporations will endure a 12-week curriculum taught by Entire Meals Market and different trade specialists. Members may also interact in a year-long mentorship with a Entire Meals Market Native Forager and have entry to different growth-related provider advantages. Members may also be eligible to obtain a $25,000 fairness funding.

This participation signifies that THEO’s beet jerky may also be out there in Entire Meals Market shops within the Chicago metro space, with extra Midwest places within the fall, and a watch on growth to different areas. THEO’s Plant Primarily based can also be partnering with environmental group 1% for the Planet and can donate a minimum of one p.c of their annual gross sales to additional wholesome meals entry in Chicago.

THEO’s Plant Primarily based

Plant-forward vegan jerky

The jerky house is ripe for innovation and already has a number of key gamers, together with Past Meat which labored with Pepsi to develop its plant-based jerky that’s now out there in grocery aisles, fuel stations, and comfort shops—or practically in all places that meat jerky is bought. Right here, the mission is to assist shoppers simply select a plant-based various to beef, an animal product that’s merciless and enviornmentally damaging.

Nevertheless, an rising sub-category is vegan jerky that isn’t essentially aiming to be a one-for-one substitute for meat jerky. Reasonably, it goals to protect greens of their complete varieties to serve health-driven snackers, who might select plant-based someday and meat one other.

THEO’s is squarely aiming for this demographic and joins others within the house, together with Eat the Change—a snack model developed by Seth Goldman (former govt chairman of Past Meat) and superstar chef Spike Mendelsohn. Final yr, this model launched with vegan jerky produced from “ugly” mushrooms—or portobello and crimini varieties which can be bruised and/or outsized, together with their normally discarded stems that will not usually make it to the retail shelf. This yr, Eat the Change launched Cosmic Carrot Chews, which it created as a juice-sweetened veggie snack to please youngsters’ palettes.

For THEO’s Plant Primarily based, the long run is devoted to its mission of placing complete greens on the middle. Whereas particulars are hush, Mourad says a vegetable sausage is within the works, together with different thrilling gadgets in a number of areas within the grocery aisle, together with snacks, meat, and seafood.

“We are going to by no means select income over ethics,” Mourad stated concerning the firm ethos. “I strive to take a look at one thing [through the lens of] integrity and if there’s no integrity, I don’t wish to do it.”

For the newest vegan information, learn:

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