A London restaurant treated schoolgirls to a peculiar banquet on 15 November. Students from Clapton Girls' Academy in Hackney, were treated to the feast by Andy Holcroft, head chef at Grub Kitchen.
Holcroft cooked for Rentokil's Pestaurant Lunch Club, which promotes entomophagy - eating insects.
The menu includes curried cauliflower and cricket pakoras and black ant and chilli cheese paté for starters.
For mains there was a high protein bug burger made with mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers. And for dessert, the chef prepared cricket crepes with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, and bug praline. Tasty!
"It's not difficult to make a tasty meal using edible insects," Holcroft said. "You can be really creative with the way insects are incorporated within a meal." For instance, they can be used as decoration, or even as flour.
The experience was intended to teach the students about the nutritional value of insects. The girls are considering taking the 'Food Preparation and Nutrition' GCSE, which will open in 2018.
Preparation for the exam includes understanding food provenance as well as the environmental impact and sustainability of food.
Rentokil hopes to educate younger generations on the nutritional values of bugs. "Many of the students were surprised at the delicious taste of the bug-based dishes they tried," says Rentokil's UK product manager Berwyn Evans.
Food for thought
In 2011, entomologist Stuart Hine, from the London Natural History Museum, said that "about 70% of the world's population eats insects as a regular part of their diet." However, try to get most Europeans to eat some and you might get slapped.
Insects are full of proteins and a sustainable food source. More so than beef, lamb or any meat. "They tend to be high in protein, low in fat and are packed full of B vitamins, zinc and other essential minerals," says Holcroft.
The estimation is that the world population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. So insects may just be the solution to producing more food in a sustainable way. Eating bugs is environmentally friendly and provides us with all the nutritional values of a big meal.
So, as disgusted as you may be at the thought of crickets hopping around your plate, get used to it as soon as possible, it might be a dinner staple by 2050!