Dear Epicureans and culinary friends
About a year ago, I decided to investigate and study entomophagy.
I am rich of 33 years working in some of the best restaurants and hotels around the world. But I must admit, this is one part of our industry, I didn’t know much about.
It all starts with our own culinary culture.
As a French chef I know what it is to inspiring colleagues and guests with exclusive fine dinning or traditional food. I also know the surprise that it can create.
We, French, do eat strange things isn’t it? : Snails, frog legs, raw oysters, veal heads, etc. All which are normal to most French people.
Some very peculiar regional products cannot be found in supermarket but are still being eaten by many.
This one comes to my mind: Artisous cheese (with a crust made by/with mites) You can try it in the Auvergne region in Puy-en-Velay, right in the heart of France.
The casgiu merzu (cheese filled with live worms) can be found in the island of Corsica, south east of France main land and also in Italy on the island of Sardinia. Other delicacies appear on the best tables and restaurants such as veal testiculs, brains and many more.
So why not insects?
When I started my international career I discovered many ways of cooking, many new products and above all many cultures.
I discovered the true meaning of food culture, normal or even exclusive for certain and unthinkable for others.
Time also is a major importance when it comes to taste buds.
In the end of the 18th century people were starving. Auguste Parmentier tried for many years to convince them that potatoes were good but no one would eat them as they were suppose to be unholy. Ingeniously he created a garden exclusively for the King. It was guarded during the day and left unattended at night. People came and started stealing the tuber. Now in we all eat potatoes at least once a week.
Tomatoes were used as decoration as they were supposed to be poisonous. We know now only the leaves are poisonous.
In the US on the 50th there was not enough meat for everyone. They therefore through education and necessity started encouraging Americans to eat liver, tripes etc.
In France you would have not given a sushi to my Grandmother or people of her generation, same for Burgers. When McDonald came in the 80s they were teaching people how to eat without a fork and a knife.
I am sure many countries underwent such revolution in their daily food
So why not insects?
Let me give you some figures
Ratio of food needed to produce 10 Kg of meat
200 Kg Cereals
10 Kg Beef
63 Kg Cereals
10 Kg Pork
40 Kg Cereals
10 Kg Chicken
10 Kg rotten vegetables
10 Kg Insect
· For 1 Kg of beef we need 500 l of water none for insects
· Insect reject 95% less of greenhouse gases than beef
· Insects have 37% more proteins than beef. I am not a nutritionist so I cannot advice people on diet but since insects also provide vitamin B12, which is one of the key vitamins lacking in a vegan diet it could eventually completely replace meat products.
· 75 % of all insect are eatable when only 21% of all fishes are