Seeing the meat for the peas

Can a vegetarian and an omnivore share the same meal without compromise? The Doppelganger Dinner makes it almost possible,

From the Series

The Doppelganger Dinner was inspired by the notion that an omnivore and a vegetarian couple could never share the same meal without a compromise. What followed was a six-course meal times two: One version made for an omnivore and the second for a vegetarian.

So, the omnivore might be served roasted beef bone marrow, mustard greens and duck-fat toast, while the vegetarian version would be yukon gold potato bone with onion marrow, kale salad, and miso butter toast. Salmon roe was swapped out for apricot roe, beef tartar for tomato tartar, duck for watermelon and scallop for tofu.

Executed by the San Francisco culinary collective Studiofeast, headed up by Mike Lee, the group had no intention of making it easy for themselves. The omnivore and vegetarian versions had to look identical without repeating any of the ingredients (besides the basics like oil and salt), and no vegetarian meat substitutes such as tofurky were allowed.

“This turned out to be an interesting puzzle because we had to compose our dishes in pairs. Ingredients that could never be coaxed into resembling some other ingredient were out of the question. On top of that, we needed pairs of ingredients that looked visually alike to each other, but also paired nicely with the flavour profile of the rest of their dishes,” explains Lee.

Reportedly inspiring a lot of cross-dish tasting and questions of “what am I eating?” the meal encouraged interaction and sociability. “Confusion was indeed a by-product of this meal and I hope it kept everyone on their toes throughout the meal,” laughed Lee.