Crickets are the surprise stars at Paris restaurant

Crunchy, fried mealworms and sautéed insect larvae are also on the ground-breaking menu

French chef Laurent Veyet has prepared a ground-breaking menu that is not for the unadventurous or faint-hearted.

Think crunchy, fried mealworms, chocolate-coated crickets and sautéed larvae. And while they may not suit all palates, the insects are quickly becoming the choice ingredient at Chef Veyet's Paris restaurant, Inoveat.

At a recent tasting, the creepy-crawly dishes won approving nods of satisfaction from adventurous clientele.

"It's the ideal dish for first-timers," the Parisian chef said, as he prepared pasta made with mealworm flour, sweet potato and sautéed insect larvae.

"There are some really interesting flavours. Not many people could say they don't like that.

"You have to find the right flavours, the right accompaniments. All that is fascinating, any chef will tell you the same," he said.

Not only a boon for adventurous diners, but insects could also offer a sustainable and low carbon-emission food source.

In January, the European Food Safety Agency ruled that mealworm was fit for human consumption and in May approved its sale on the market. Since then, it has fielded more than a dozen applications for insect-based food products, including crickets and locusts.

Fried mealworms are one of the star ingredients at chef Veyet's restaurant. Reuters
Fried mealworms are one of the star ingredients at chef Veyet's restaurant. Reuters

"Insects are nutritious," said Stefan De Keersmaecker, a health and food safety spokesman at the European Commission. "They can really help us switch to a more healthy and sustainable diet and food system."

Rich in protein, fat and fibre, mealworms can be used whole in curries and salads, or ground to make flour for pasta, biscuits and bread.

Easy and quick to source, Chef Veyet grows his on-site, feeding them porridge oats and vegetables.

Updated: June 1, 2021 10:44 PM

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