Le Bernardin is not a fully plant-based restaurant, but Eric Ripert’s Michelin three-star dining destination is making an investment in a new vegan protein.
The chef has teamed up with Nature’s Fynd, a Chicago-based alternative-protein company, to become its culinary advisor and feature the fungi-based protein Fy on his menu. Already, two dishes have been added to Le Bernardin’s tasting menu: a cheesecake that is actually a Fy-filled squash blossom with blackberry sorbet, and an apricot sorbet with chamomile ice cream. Both options, created in collaboration with Orlando Soto, the restaurant’s executive pastry chef, feature Nature’s Fynd dairy-free cream cheese.
“I’m delighted to join the Nature’s Fynd team as its new Culinary Advisor and to take part in developing products that spotlight this innovative new protein option,” Ripert said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with their team to showcase the versatility of Nature’s Fynd’s Fy in a variety of dishes from everyday breakfasts to the fine dining desserts we’ve added to Le Bernardin’s tasting menu. The possibilities are endless.”
Fy came out of NASA-backed research into microbes with origins in Yellowstone National Park. The fungi protein uses only a fraction of the resources needed for traditional agriculture, and it has a swath of additional benefits: Fy can be grown quickly, it can be turned into a number of vegan foods and it is nutritionally dense, according to VegNews. For example, Fy contains all 20 amino acids, including the nine essential ones.
Ripert will be working with the company to develop even more dishes, both at his restaurant and more broadly. “There is no one more respected and admired in the culinary world than chef Eric Ripert,” Thomas Jonas, the CEO and co-founder of Nature’s Fynd, said in a statement. “He has set the highest culinary standards for decades at Le Bernardin and we couldn’t be more humbled to partner with him on our journey as a new brand. His unwavering standards will help us deliver the most delicious Fy-based foods to nourish people and nurture our planet.”
As more and more fine-dining restaurants experiment with vegetable-forward and vegan offerings, perhaps we’ll be seeing Fy on even more menus in the future.