Would you eat soup made from crickets? A participant tries an hors d'oeuvres made with insects at a seminar at Le Cordon Bleu's cooking school in Bangkok, Thailand. At left is a bowl of a cockchafers and large beetles (AP photos)
Would you eat soup made from crickets?
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Would you eat a bug? How about putting them in your soup?

Bugs in a kitchen are usually something to be squashed or swatted. But not always at Le Cordon Bleu, the French cooking school. Chefs and food scientists spent a week simmering, sauteing and grilling insects. The chefs wanted to extract innovative flavors. They say it could open a new frontier for eating.

As a finale to their research, the school's Bangkok branch held a seminar. It was called "Edible Insects in a Gastronomic Context." It was booked up weeks in advance. The event in Thailand included lectures and a tasting menu for 60 participants. They were a mix of student chefs, scientists, professors and insect farmers.

First came a vial of ant-infused gin. That was followed by a shot glass of warm cricket consomme. Next came an hors d'oeuvre of cockchafer butter and herb crisp. A cockchafer could be mistaken for a water bug. But in fact its a giant beetle.

The insects were not visible in the final products. They are artfully hidden. The bugs were pureed into batters. Their juices were extracted for essence.

Getting hungry yet?

"We didn't want to just put a bug on a salad and say, 'Voila!' We wanted to know, can we extract interesting flavors, new textures, aromas and turn it into something delicious?" said Christophe Mercier. He helped organize the event in the Thai capital.

"This is the first time that insects have been granted access to the Cordon Bleu," Mercier said with a smile. He added that the 120-year-old Paris-based school had never to his knowledge held a workshop quite like this.

At the school's entrance, a welcome table was decorated with tropical flowers and bowls of bugs. There were crickets, silk worms, bamboo worms. There were also live water bugs as big as a toddler's hand.

The idea for the event was inspired by eating habits in Southeast Asia. In Thailand and neighboring countries, many people eat fried insects as snacks.

It was the gin that helped win over the chefs.

"Some things were very impressive. And some things were very bizarre," said Fabrice Danniel, master chef at Bangkok's Cordon Bleu. "The taste of the alcohol was amazing. It's more than alcohol. The taste was unique."

A Cordon Bleu chef, Christian May, admitted that he was initially repulsed by the intense aroma of the grilled crickets for the broth. He encouraged his colleagues not to demonstrate for the seminar how the consomme was made. Just serve it elegantly on trays, which they did.

"It tasted good. You just have to remove the image of the insect from your mind," he said.

He noted that this will be the biggest challenge if and when insects go mainstream in Western cuisine. Before that happens, more research is needed. It's not clear if serving insects is legal in all Western countries. Proper hygiene needs to be ensured at insect farms. There are also safety concerns.

In Thailand alone, there are 200 species of insects eaten as food, said Patrick Durst. He is a senior official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. He co-authored a study on Thailand's edible insect industry.

To people who frown on eating bugs, he says this: "Take a look at shrimp. What an ugly creature. Is it any more attractive than a grasshopper?"

Critical thinking challenge: Why did Christian May discourage colleagues from demonstrating how the bug-based consomme was made?

Assigned 63 times


COMMENTS (21)
  • NoahH-Mau
    2/26/2015 - 11:30 a.m.

    That is descsting.
    Come on Pat!
    I can not blevie somebody would eat a bug.
    Do you like bugs?

  • OliviaT-Mau
    2/26/2015 - 11:33 a.m.

    I think that bugs are discussing because bugs are slimy and they feel weird. And I think eating bugs is even grosser than touching bugs! I like normal soup but if I eat bug soup I would through-up looking or smelling the actual soup!

  • JulianB-Mau
    2/26/2015 - 11:41 a.m.

    No definetely not because that is so decusting and I don`t know who would ever eat anything that gross! Is that even posible to eat bugs with out dieing?

  • ReaganC-Bru
    2/26/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    According to "Would You Eat Soup Made from Crickets", it says that in Thailand there are 200 species of insects eaten as food. This means that if we start to eat these bugs, we will not be the only people doing it. If Thailand has been doing it a remaining safe, why are we so disgusted? I understand the other point of view though. In America, insects in the kitchen are something to smash or get rid of. This was also said in the article. I personally thing that eating bugs isn't very satisfying but I am also always wiling to try new things. Whatever bugs the world brings, I'll be ready!

  • ReaganC-Bru
    2/27/2015 - 12:46 p.m.

    I would like to answer the Critical Thinking Question. The Question asked why Christian May discourage colleagues from demonstrating how the bug-based consomme was made. I have strong feelings about this question. The answer-I believe- is that he wanted the people consuming the food not to know what was in it. He just wanted to know that they liked it. This is proof that if people don't know, they will try and if people know, they won't try.

  • ReaganC-Bru
    2/27/2015 - 12:46 p.m.

    I would like to answer the Critical Thinking Question. The Question asked why Christian May discourage colleagues from demonstrating how the bug-based consomme was made. I have strong feelings about this question. The answer-I believe- is that he wanted the people consuming the food not to know what was in it. He just wanted to know that they liked it. This is proof that if people don't know, they will try and if people know, they won't try.

  • ReaganC-Bru
    2/27/2015 - 01:02 p.m.

    I would like to answer the critical thinking question:
    Christian May discouraged the colleagues from demonstrating how the bug-based consomme was made. I have strong feelings about this. The answer-I believe- is that he wanted the people consuming the food not to know what was in it. He just wanted to know that they liked it. This is proof that if people don't know, they could try, but if people know, then the chances are that they won't.

  • SophiaH1-Bru
    2/27/2015 - 03:26 p.m.

    According to ' Would you eat soup made from crickets'' , it says that at Le Cordon Bleu, there was a culinary school that had chef working away seasoning, grilling, and simmering crickets. And as a finally to their research, the schools Bankok branch held a seminar. The event was called, "Edible insects in a gastronomic context. The event included menu tastings for 60 participants. This means that the chefs had to cook for and serve 60 people. Some said that the taste was amazing but you just had to remind yourself that you weren't eating bugs that have been purayed and mixed into something delisous. I think this could be a worldwide thing if people just gave to insects a try.

  • SophiaH1-Bru
    2/27/2015 - 03:26 p.m.

    According to ' Would you eat soup made from crickets'' , it says that at Le Cordon Bleu, there was a culinary school that had chef working away seasoning, grilling, and simmering crickets. And as a finally to their research, the schools Bankok branch held a seminar. The event was called, "Edible insects in a gastronomic context. The event included menu tastings for 60 participants. This means that the chefs had to cook for and serve 60 people. Some said that the taste was amazing but you just had to remind yourself that you weren't eating bugs that have been purayed and mixed into something delisous. I think this could be a worldwide thing if people just gave to insects a try.

  • PowellWilliam-DiB
    3/02/2015 - 04:14 p.m.

    Never in my life will I eat a cricket. That is so gross. I know people eat it because its their culture. But I will never eat an insect. I know it's the same thing as eating a cow, but that is different.

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