Would you eat soup made from crickets?
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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Bugs in a kitchen are usually something to be squashed or swatted. But 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 open-minded 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 is in fact a giant beetle.

The insects were not visible in the final products but artfully hidden. The bugs were pureed into batters, their juices extracted for essence.

"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.

Before anyone else could crack a joke about bugs in fine French food, the chefs made their own.

"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 and live water bugs as big as a toddler's hand.

The idea for the event was inspired by local eating habits in Southeast Asia. In Thailand and neighboring countries, many people eat fried insects as snacks. That led Mercier and colleagues to wonder if they could learn from the locals.

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.

According to the U.N., insects have long been part of human diets in nearly 100 countries. It's particularly true in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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?"

After the seminar, the chefs congratulated themselves on a good start.

"This is not the end of the story," said Danniel, the master chef. "We want to develop more recipes."

"And maybe even write a cookbook."

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

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/would-you-eat-soup-made-crickets/

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COMMENTS (126)
  • BattistaTroy-DiB
    2/26/2015 - 11:38 a.m.

    I actually like crickets. They taste kinda like burnt sunflower seeds. They have a really bad after taste, though. Other than that, they're really good

  • MariaE-Bru
    2/26/2015 - 01:07 p.m.

    According to" Would you eat soup made from crickets," it says that the chefs wanted to extract innovate flavors. This means that they are using insects to try and add new flavors to different foods. I think they should try it. I'm curious as to what fried crickets would actually taste like. The text, " Would you eat soup made from crickets," also said that the alcohol was amazing and unique. It sounds very interesting and I say give it a try.

  • AshleyB1-Bru
    2/26/2015 - 01:07 p.m.

    Why did Christian May discourage colleagues from demonstrating how the bug-based consomme was made? There is not a definite answer to that question, unless you somehow could contact him and ask him why. In my belief, it could possibly be because people are typically not open to eating anything strange or odd, such as insects. Another possible reason is because some people may not find it sanitary to do so, as a typical image that comes to mind when someone says the words "bug" and "food" together is cockroaches crawling around an unsanitary kitchen.

  • BaileyE-Bru
    2/26/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    According to "Would You Eat Soup Made From Crickets?", it says that the chefs wanted to extract innovative flavors, and that it could open up a new frontier for eating. It means that they want to make the flavors more bold and different. I think that maybe it would make some things better but not everything. Like, the article said that they used cockroaches for alcohol and it was really good. Maybe in the future

  • b.m2001empire
    2/26/2015 - 01:12 p.m.

    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.

  • Q3denai11
    2/26/2015 - 01:36 p.m.

    What I think about people actually eating insects, is it's disgusting. If I had to eat an insect I would throw it back out and never eat it again.

  • nerdyfalcon103
    2/26/2015 - 03:10 p.m.

    At first, I thought this was pretty gross. But, if I wasn't aware that there were insects in it, I might try this food. People have just always thought that any insects are gross, because they are alive, and just don't look very appetizing. But, we eat meat and the animals were once alive, so I don't think it would hurt to give this a try. For all we know it could be really good! So why not?

  • jay92
    2/26/2015 - 03:11 p.m.

    Honestly I wouldn't eat insects to even save my life. Seeing that these people are doing this makes me think that they are brave. If I ever ate some insects or one I would be at the sink spitting it all out in the sink then washing it down the drain. The way they explain it makes it actually sound delicious. Well not all foods taste like they sound. Over there is probably what they call as a snack and some of us just call disgusting. But I respect that and think it's brave to eat something like that!

  • BelleWRed
    2/26/2015 - 05:33 p.m.

    Eating bugs is gross but who knows if there safe to eat besides the point you'll need a bug person to eat any bug so no wait what I am talk about ?.!

  • MaxM-4
    2/26/2015 - 07:06 p.m.

    At Le Cordon Bleu, a French cooking school, chefs and food scientists spent a week trying to find innovative ways to cook insects. The school's Bangkok branch held a seminar called "Edible Insects in a Gastronomic Context" and invited 60 open-minded people to try insect dishes. Included were ant-infused gin, warm cricket consomm, and hors d'oeuvres of cockchafer butter and herb crisp. More research will be needed before bringing insects into western cuisine, but this was a good start.
    I actually found this article really cool. I have tried escargot and I love many different kinds shellfish, so I guess I would be open to trying an insect dish.

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