Big News

by Josh Evans.

Our official press release:

Major funding awarded for edible insect research in Denmark

Velux Foundation to support Nordic Food Lab’s development of Western insect gastronomy

COPENHAGEN – May 16, 2013 – Nordic Food Lab and University of Copenhagen have received funding to expand their research into insect gastronomy. While other researchers are focussing on environmental and nutritional benefits of entomophagy, Nordic Food Lab is working to make insects delicious to the Western palate and thus bring them into its culinary culture.

The project is funded by The Velux Foundation’s program for environment and sustainability. The Foundation has granted 3.6 million Danish Kroner for the project entitled ‘Discerning Taste: Deliciousness as an Argument for Entomophagy’.

Nordic Food Lab has formed an international advisory board for the project, bringing together experts in entomology, gastronomy, psychology, and sustainable food systems from around the world. The board includes:

Alex Atala, Head Chef and owner of Restaurant D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazil

Alex founded D.O.M. in 1999 to rediscover the diverse flavours and culinary heritage of Brazilian gastronomy and to preserve it through contemporary reinterpretation. Insects are some of the many ingredients he celebrates for their unique flavours and applications in the kitchen. His restaurant has been widely recognised as one of the best in the world, and his skills and knowledge about eating insects will amplify our gastronomic research.

Paul Rozin PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania

For decades, Paul has been a leading researcher into the nature and origins of food preferences and the psychology of disgust. He will advise on experimental design and suggest strategies for sidestepping disgust responses to cultivate positive preference for insects.

Mark Bomford MSc, Director of the Yale Sustainable Food Project at Yale University

Mark came to Yale from the University of British Columbia, where he worked for 16 years as the founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. His strong background in the systemic issues of food sustainability will provide us important insight at the intersection of ecology, agriculture, and socio-economics, especially for insects’ role in food security and biodiversity.

Arnold van Huis PhD, Professor of Tropical Entomology at the University of Wageningen

Arnold directs multiple research programmes investigating insect production for food and feed, has extensive field experience in Africa and other tropical regions, and collaborates with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation to investigate and promote entomophagy. He is a well-recognised leader in the field of entmophagy research and will contribute invaluable expertise in matters of production systems and cross-cultural anthropological research.

“We are thrilled to receive the support of The Velux Foundation in our work to introduce insects into the Western diet,” says Michael Bom Frøst, Director of Nordic Food Lab. “Much important work is being carried out by others, but we believe the missing piece is a focus on deliciousness. It is our goal to provide that missing argument, so that insects become not just edible novelty but celebrated ingredients with high gastronomic value.”

A team headed by Professor Jørgen Eilenberg from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen will be a core partner in the project, focussing on the entomological, microbiological and pathological aspects of insects as a food source. The main collaborators will be:

Jørgen Eilenberg PhD, Professor of Entomology at University of Copenhagen

Jørgen’s main interest is insect pathogens. He founded and heads the international research team entitled ‘Insect Pathology and Biological Control’.

Annette Bruun Jensen PhD, Associate Professor of Entomology at University of Copenhagen

Annette’s research focusses on the insect pathology and ecology of honey bees. She is part of the research team ‘Insect Pathology and Biological Control’.

The project coincides with the United Nations’ release of a comprehensive handbook entitled ‘Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security’ that draws together these different arguments and emphasises the importance of gastronomy and a focus on deliciousness to promote widespread adoption of entomophagy.

The project will take place over the next three years, and is formally scheduled to begin in June 2013.

The Nordic Food Lab team:

Michael Bom Frøst PhD, Director

Michael is an Associate Professor of Sensory Science at the University of Copenhagen. He has expertise conducting sensory analysis, studying taste preference, and project management.

Ben Reade BSc, Head of Culinary Research and Development

Ben is a chef from Edinburgh and has worked in kitchens throughout Europe. He holds a BSc from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and is an intrepid autodidact on the finer points of food science and gastronomy.

Josh Evans BA, Researcher

Josh studied philosophy and sustainable food systems at Yale University. He worked with the Yale Sustainable Food Project, Edible Schoolyard NYC and other food programs before coming to the Lab in June 2012.

The team also includes interns and stagiaires from around the world.