We spent the month of April on insects, delving into new species, amassing as large a collection of ingredients and flavours as possible. In this case we were working for a specific goal: a menu of tastings for an event at the Wellcome Collection in London, entitled 'Exploring the Deliciousness of Insects'. The event was part of a larger mobile festival, called 'Pestival', devoted to "the art of being an insect" and exploring the interactions between insects and humans through arts, science, and educational experiences meant to incite curiosity and wonder.
The event spanned two evenings, April 30th and May 1st. Marcel Dicke from Wageningen University in the Netherlands opened with a short talk, after which Michael and Ben took the stage to share our research and lead the 60 or so guests through the tastings, describing our process and, inevitably, cracking a few jokes.
We expanded the team to build the menu. Two friends, Nurdin Topham and Josh Pollen, came on board for the month of April. Another friend, Dave Crabtree-Logan, joined up with us in London for final prep and service. And our two interns, Ana and Guillemette, were integral throughout the research and development process.
The event was overall a great success. Soon after returning to Copenhagen, we received word that our research program to further explore the deliciousness of insects would be funded for the next three years. As we gear up to begin the project formally in June, we want to catalogue the recipes and techniques we developed for the Pestival menu. We'll be sharing details of the dishes over the next few weeks. The full menu is below.
Anty-Gin and Tonic
Bespoke gin of wood ants (Formica rufa) and botanicals
with carmine and tonic
with The Cambridge Distillery
Liquorice root with seeds, fruits, herbs, and ants
(Formica rufa and Lasius fuliginosus)
Wax moth larvae mousseline (Galleria mellonella) and morels
House cricket broth (Acheta domestica)
with grasshopper garum (Locusta migratoria)
Oatmealworm stout (Tenebrio molitor)
with Siren Craft Brewery
Butter-roasted desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria)
with wild garlic and ant emulsion (Formica rufa)
Honeybee drone comb (Apis mellifera)
The Whole Hive
Beeswax ice cream, honey kombucha sauce, ‘bee bread’,
propolis tincture, and crisp honey
Lindisfarne Mead from St Aidan’s Winery