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Sustainable Interpretations: Chefs Look Beyond Traditional Protein Sources

Swapping out a pepperoni pizza or sizzling steak with insects and foraged plants could be a hard sell for most people. However, the key to making our diets more environmentally conscious is blending familiar flavors with unusual ingredients, according to Henry Fischer and Anna Rose Hopkins of Hank and Bean. For their collaboration with artist Marina Zurkow's series, "Making the Best of It: Nimble Food for Climate Chaos,” they design a menu that incorporates jelly fish in various forms, including “chicharron,” and ground crickets in flatbread.

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Access

Roy meets the individuals bringing healthy and affordable food options into South L.A. communities that lack access to fresh food. Roy also visits with vegan grocer Olympia Auset, whose startup Süprmarkt delivers healthy and affordable food to the doorsteps of her community. Finally, Roy visits Earle’s Hot Dogs, a vegetarian hot dog cart that has grown over its 30-year history into a multi-location brick and mortar shop, now a staple of a community hungry for healthier options.

Future

Roy explores future culinary landscapes looking forward to a world affected by climate change. He spends an evening with chefs Henry Fischer and Anna Rose Hopkins from Hank and Bean who make a surprising plant-forward dinner featuring non-traditional protein sources like crickets and jellyfish. Roy also visits with Ethan Brown of Beyond Meat, a company pioneering the plant-based replacements for our favorite burgers and sausages, and Vegan Hooligans, a pop-up restaurant in eastside LA’s Eagle Rock making classic American diner food out of entirely plant-based ingredients.

Cannabis

Roy visits Chris Yang’s Pop Cultivate to explore the emergence of a new culinary landscape since the advent of legalized recreational marijuana. He then tackles the gentrification of cannabis culture by visiting Med Men, the leader in upscale legal weed retailers in Los Angeles. An interview with Virgil Grant, a formerly incarcerated weed dealer now seeking to run a legal distribution business, sheds light on efforts to build cannabis equity for those hit hardest by the War on Drugs. The episode also features interviews with actor/activist Cheech Marin and Shep Gordon.

Waste

Roy journeys from L.A. to Orange County to discover how two non-profit innovators are tackling the problem of food waste. Roy visits Robert Egger, whose project LA Kitchen is simultaneously aggregating wasted food, using it to cook fresh meals for those in need, and providing workforce training. Roy also follows Bill Bracken of Bracken’s Kitchen, who partners with Chefs to End Hunger to reuse leftover food and distribute it with his food truck in Orange County.