Andrew Dyhin, an Australian inventor and founder of the PotatoMagic company, claims that he has spent the last 12 years researching ways of transforming common potatoes into a cheese-like product that is completely dairy-free.
“The product is called chato – cheese potato. It looks like cheese and melts like cheese, but it is nothing but potato,” Dyhin says. While he won’t reveal the exact production process, he says that the potatoes are peeled, liquefied and processed with no added ingredients into a basic product that can be melted, sliced, turned into cubes or mixed with water and other ingredients to make dips, just like cheese. The PotatoMagic founder said that he is confident that chato can become a sustainable plant based alternative to cheese, milk, custard and even ice-cream.
“The ice cream that comes out of the churn using the chato is to die for. I make a fantastic coconut cream custard myself,” Dyhin told the Sydney Morning Herald. “You can add whatever you want to it to make different flavors. You can bake with is to thicken your cakes and keep them moist. It tastes like potato or not at all, just depends what you do with it.”
Confident that chato could change the food industry as we know it, Andre Dyhin is currently trying to attract investors so he can start commercializing the product. With the necessary funds, he hopes to get a pilot plant up and running within three months.
At the same time, the Melbourne inventor is working hard to challenge people’s conception of a”liquid potato”. He says that’s easier said than done, because many associate his products with high levels of carbohydrates, or, even worse, with the rotting process potatoes go through. “I can really only get people to trust the product when they can actually taste it, feel it and look at it,” he told ABC News.
“We need to find alternatives to animals and intensive agricultural practices. With chato we can take any potato, especially the ones that will just be thrown away, and make something that’s delicious and versatile. We can make the most of what we have,” Dyhin said.
“Food security is a very important issue and we need to look at products that have more yield per hectare, like potatoes. And also how we use that yield. Something like 25 per cent of all potato that is grown doesn’t make it to the plate, mostly because it’s not pretty enough for the shelves,” he adds.
This so-called “man-made superfood” sounds great, but Dyhin has apparently been unable to convince investors that his chato is worth the risk. He first appealed to parties interested in financially supporting his invention in a 2014 YouTube video, but has apparently been stuck at this critical point for the last two years. Hopefully, the recent media exposure will help him reach his goal. I’d love to be able to try chato instead of cheese someday.