London - The solitary chicken nugget looks unremarkable. Lightly breaded and pale in colour, the chef submerges it in hot oil where it sizzles away for a couple of minutes until it is perfectly cooked and browned. Moments later I bite into it and my mouth is awash with the delicious and familiar taste of chicken.
But what makes this small piece of meat groundbreaking is that the chicken it comes from is still alive and well, running around a farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a 90-minute drive south of the San Francisco lab where I have "eaten" him (or her).
The chicken I’ve just sampled has never laid an egg, grown a feather or been slaughtered. It began life as primordial mush in a glass flask filled with bright red liquid and was grown inside a steel vat in a laboratory.
I became one of the first people in the world to eat lab-grown, cultured chicken, where stem cells from the base of a feather from a live bird were harvested by scientists, nurtured in a nutrient-rich broth and then placed in a steel container called a bioreactor. The cells then replicated and grew into meat genetically identical to the original animal.
WATCH: I tasted a lab-grown chicken nugget