The world’s population is increasing at an exponential rate, which puts pressure on the planet to produce more and more food. By 2050 we will need to produce double the amount of food – if the population growth increase at its current rate. Farming livestock and even mass producing crops puts pressure on the planet’s natural resources. Farming requires water, energy and expanse of land. The more people there are, the more food is needed. There’s been a global shift in consciousness when it comes how and what we consume. The fact is, overpopulation is killing the planet. As each day passes, humans are looking for alternate sources of food, which is why we’ve more of the world’s population are now turning to Entomophagy. It’s not a new phenomenon but one that is moving from the “unusual” to “mainstream”.
One such pioneering insect-based restaurant in Cape Town is the talk of the town at the moment, and we’re looking forward to sampling the unusual fare at The Insect Experience in Woodstock. Circa 2017, food scientist Leah Bassa launched Gourmet Grubb, a company that turned black fly larvae into protein powder and milk. This EntoMilk is packed with nutrients and there’s even an ice-cream range that can be found at the sought after Old Biscuit Mill market in Woodstock. The Gourmet Grubb brand went from EntoMilk into a full-blown pop up restaurant specialising in bug fare, under the creative eye of chef Mario Barnard who has a unique flair for making insects taste good. After stints in Thailand, Mario returned with an idea to cook bugs and bring the trend across shores. Your job? To make the mental leap !
Cue background sounds of *crickets*.
Yes, that’s right. Eating insects is becoming a “thing”.
Gourmet Grubb has certainly carved the path for others to follow suit. A large percentage of the population will need to get their mental state warmed to the idea of chowing down on ant ice-cream and crunchy crickets. If we look at the science, eating insects provides a perfectly viable source of protein and one that is environmentally sustainable. According to an article published in IFL Science, house crickets contain an average of 205 grams/kg of protein and beef contains 256 gram/kg !
Eating insects is practised by many cultures around the world. Daily our social media feed is flooded with typical tourist snapshots of eating crickets in the East and devouring mopane worms in Africa. In due course, this practice will become widespread and no longer considered quirky. It might take us years to get there, but this Cape Town based insect restaurant is certainly encouraging locals to branch out and change their mindset towards a more sustainable way of eating.
The Insect Experience slowly introduces us to insect based foods, without getting too crazy with the idea. We’re talking insect based pasta, mopane polenta, mopane cocktails, mealworm snack bars and black-fly larvae croquettes. Leah Bassa believes that insects contain no carbs, they’re high in protein and also have no sugar. Catch Gourmet Grubb on Instagram to view dishes from this insect-based restaurant in Cape Town.
Why is eating insects environmentally sustainable?
- Insects require way less natural resources than livestock. Less land and water is required.
- Insect populations bloom quickly and they have a short lifespan. We can produce large quantities in a small area.
- They’re high in protein, fibre and minerals.
- Insects – overall – require less energy to maintain.