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This Eatery Serves Gourmet Insects For Dinner

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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Most diners may be skeptical about eating bugs, but this pop-up experience puts a gourmet spin on the creepy crawlers.

Food scientist Leah Bessa and her partners, Jean Louwrens and Llewelyn de Beer, started their South Africa-based company, Gourmet Grubb, with ice cream made from Hermetia illucens, the black soldier fly.

After Leah completed her Masters in Food Science, studying insects as an alternative source of protein, she joined forces with Jean to explore various avenues of introducing insects into the South African market. Since June, they’ve been operating a pop-up food concept in Cape Town called The Insect Experience, where each dish features insects and is prepared to gourmet standards.

An insect-based platter | photo via @gourmetgrubb

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“We sort of wanted to try and create a viable protein alternative that is sustainable and ethical and could really create quite a positive change going into the future,” Bessa said to cnn.com.

Bessa believes that insects are incredibly healthy and offer people high quality protein, iron, zinc, fiber, and healthy fats. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there are more than 1,900 known edible insect species that are eaten regularly around the world, and approximately 2 billion people globally consume insects. They’re primarily consumed in parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.


“Insects are very underutilized or not really very well understood, so we really wanted to try and highlight their potential,” Bessa told cnn.com. “And also their taste, as well, because you know people don’t really know much about them, what they taste like, how they can be used.”

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If you are visiting South Africa between now and the middle of 2020, stop by the pop-up and try the mopane polenta fries made with flour created with mopane worms, then sprinkled with mopane chili salt.

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