SAN LEANDRO, CALIF. – Animal-free dairy manufacturer New Culture announced its first product, mozzarella cheese, will debut in 2024 in collaboration with James Beard Award-winning chef Nancy Silverton.

Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, part of a restaurant group co-owned by Silverton, will be the first restaurant in the United States to use New Culture’s mozzarella.

The company uses both traditional cheese-making methods and precision fermentation to make its animal-free mozzarella, which New Culture said delivers the taste, melt and stretch associated with traditional dairy cheese. The product is lactose- and cholesterol-free, with what the company described as a nutritional profile and protein content comparable to traditional mozzarella.

New Culture shared that it worked with Silverton to create two new pizza recipes for the upcoming commercial launch. The animal-free mozzarella will be used at Pizzeria Mozza on a traditional margherita pizza, as well as a caponata pizza with eggplant, tomato confit, pickled onions and caperberries. The company said Silverton’s recipe experimentation and culinary input were essential to 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. “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. I am so excited to offer New Culture cheese at Pizzeria Mozza."

As New Culture ramps up for the commercial launch, the company revealed it also plans to team up with Pizzeria Mozza to give consumers an early taste. One such event is set for early June at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, and New Culture said others will follow in New York and San Francisco, as well.

"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,” said Matt Gibson, chief executive officer and co-founder of New Culture. “It's quite literally the perfect pairing.”

The company said its animal-free cheese can “bake, bubble and brown in wood fired, gas and electric ovens up to 850°.” New Culture’s process involves replacing casein, the essential dairy protein in cheese, with an animal-free version.