Why Carnivore King Francis Mallmann Is Eating Less Meat - Exclusive

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As one of the most famous chefs in Latin America, Francis Mallmann is a bit of an enigma. Just when you think you've figured him out, he's already conjuring up something new, like when he decided to close his award-winning French restaurant to cook open fire meat instead. Now, after years of him becoming synonymous with his style of barbecue, he's shifting focus again — this time to vegetarianism and partnering with GOOD Meat, a company that makes cell-based meat, rather than using slaughtered livestock.

If you think Mallmann has completely given up beef slathered in aioli or country chicken, you'd be mistaken. "I'm not a vegetarian, myself," he told Mashed in an exclusive interview. "Over the last eight years, I've been getting messages, very sort of elegant, polite, and well-mannered messages on Instagram with young people saying to me, 'Chef, we love your work, but we don't eat meat or fish.'" This spurred the chef to reconsider his stance on eating purely vegetables. He said he began to feel that he owed it to the younger generation to try to make more eco-friendly dishes.

How this change led him to consider cooking more vegetarian style dishes

The culinary giant said that through these conversations with young people, he became increasingly aware of how bad things have gotten. "We have destroyed the oceans. We've been raising animals that are very unhealthy, all over," Mallmann explained. "And so I think that me being someone that has cooked meats for 50 years, I need to sort of embrace all these problems and start thinking and telling people that first we have to eat more vegetables."

This ultimately led him to spend four years working on "Green Fire," a cookbook that features recipes like eggplant Milanese that's smothered in fresh breadcrumbs, garlic and thyme. His research into these unique vegetarian recipes also made him open to the possibility of working with a company like GOOD Meat. He said the organization wrote to him about what they were doing and he talked to their biologists and engineers and was intrigued. "It's important what they're doing because it's a healthy path to something new," Mallmann added.

The restaurateur explained he believes a venture like this is helping to usher us into the future of how we'll eat. "Somebody has to start to think about these things and to do food in another way, instead of having thousands and thousands of acres of crops," he said. "We like it, but the world is getting bigger and we are destroying it."

For more information on GOOD Meat, visit their website. Francis Mallmann's cookbook "Green Fire" is available on Amazon.