World

You won't believe the main ingredient in these gourmet dishes

Rebecca Cairns, CNN

Published 7:45 PM ET, Tue December 8, 2020
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17 a lighter delicacy Sorawut Kittibanthorn 17 a lighter delicacy Sorawut Kittibanthorn
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Design student Sorawut Kittibanthorn has created an alternative protein using chicken feathers. He showcases them in high-end gourmet dishes, like this "beef" tartare with smashed avocado, raw egg yolk, red onion, parsley, dill, chili flakes and capers. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
Since humans can't digest feathers, roughly two million tons are discarded every year -- so Kittibanthorn developed a 13-step process to break them down. The project, called "A Lighter Delicacy," uses high-end ingredients to elevate the chicken feather protein. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
Kittibanthorn created the protein as part of his master's degree in future materials at London's Central Saint Martins art school. Here, he pays homage to the protein's origin by creating a white feather meat "wing" served with truffle foam, roasted purple cauliflower, malabar spinach and ruby corn. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
His sample dishes show the versatility of the feather protein. Here, the feather "meat" is marinated in curry spices, and served with pumpkin puree, roasted sesame, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
In this dish, the feather-based protein is transformed into a "fish fillet," flavored with salt water and crusted with chia seeds. It's served with a creamy seafood sauce, garnished with dill and topped with salmon roe. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
Kittibanthorn experimented with different uses for the protein, including as a keto-friendly carb replacement. Nutritionally, these cookie tuiles are more like a protein bar than a biscuit. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
While this may look like a regular pesto pasta dish, the spaghetti is actually a carb-free, keto-friendly, high-protein substitute made from chicken feathers. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
These feather-thin translucent wraps add a protein punch to mini vegetable hors d'oeuvres. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
In place of wheat-based bread or crackers at the start of a meal, Kittibanthorn also experimented with feather protein crisps. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
This "everyday caviar" is created from feather protein, and can be eaten as a garnish or spread, says Kittibanthorn. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
Is this the future of the Big Mac? Probably not, but Kittibanthorn's feather-based protein burger patty shows the possibilities of future food. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
Having tested those different options, Kittibanthorn ultimately decided to develop his feather protein as a "meat" rather than a carb replacement. He experimented with texture and color to make it look similar to the real thing. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
The feather-based meat substitute can be sliced, minced, or formed into different shapes. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd
When cooked, the sliced "meat" has the look and texture of a meatloaf or burger, says Kittibanthorn. The feather protein has no taste, he says, which means it's very flexible; it relies completely on seasoning for flavor. Pichaya Sampanvejsobha / Prod Bangkok Co. Ltd