Acclaimed celebrity chef Nancy Silverton, co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, has given her official stamp of approval to a new vegan mozzarella cheese developed by New Culture, an animal-free dairy company.
Beginning in 2024, Pizzeria Mozza, a part of the Mozza Restaurant Group, will be the first restaurant in the country to serve New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella, according to a press release.
New Culture said its product is “the first animal-free cheese to meet Silverton’s exacting standards and the first to be offered on the menu at any of her restaurants, which are known for the quality of their cheeses.”
In addition to cofounding Pizzeria Mozza, Silverton, a James Beard Award-winning chef, also founded the world-renowned La Brea Bakery. Her pizzas are known for their light, airy, chewy crust that has a thin, crisp outside. A focus on ingredients and sustainability is the cornerstone of Silverton’s restaurants, with an elevated role for mozzarella at her iconic Mozzarella Bar.
For the commercial launch of New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella, Silverton and the New Culture team worked hand-in-hand to create two new pizza recipes for the Pizzeria Mozza menu: a traditional margherita and a caponata pizza with eggplant, tomato confit, pickled onions and caperberries. Both recipes pair Silverton’s celebrated pizza dough with New Culture’s mozzarella.
New Culture said Silverton’s recipe experimentation and culinary input have been essential to refining and preparing New Culture’s first product for market.
“We always try to accommodate our guests at Pizzeria Mozza, including those with unique dietary preferences,” Silverton said in the press release. “However, we don’t always have the right solution. I’ve always been of the school of thinking that just because it’s a substitute doesn’t mean it needs to be anything less than spectacular. When I tried New Culture cheese, I was surprised and excited by the integrity of the product and really felt it lived up to our standards.”
New Culture’s mozzarella is made without any animal inputs, making it free from cholesterol, lactose and trace hormones and antibiotics while having the versatility to bake, bubble and brown in wood-fired, gas and electric ovens up to 850°F, the company said. New Culture replaces the essential dairy protein in cheese—called casein—with its own animal-free version that the company produces using precision fermentation.
It will be the first cheese in the world made with animal-free casein, the company noted. This approach to cheesemaking “radically cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and water, land and energy usage, bringing about a new culture for the multi-billion-dollar global dairy industry.”
The partnership will also include a series of New Culture + Pizzeria Mozza launch events to showcase the custom pizzas and serve as the public debut of New Culture’s cheese. The first is slated for early June at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, followed by additional events in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
“New Culture’s mozzarella is a first-of-its-kind product, and we couldn’t be prouder to introduce it with Nancy Silverton, who is an iconic chef, restaurateur, baker and pizzaiola,” Matt Gibson, CEO and co-founder of New Culture, said. “It’s quite literally the perfect pairing.”