Cafe Scientific

Last night’s talk was a lot of fun! I was told to expect about 20 to 40 people, but ended up getting at least 50.

A show of hands at the end of the night revealed that 90% of those attending tried the mealworm snacks I brought to try. I had one very disappointed customer (a chef) who was unable to try my snacks as he was allergic to shellfish (people who have this allergy are often allergic to insects as well).

I had a very engaged audience from backgrounds ranging from civil engineering to biomedical sciences and clinical neurophysiology.

Some great questions were asked at the end and I will attempt to compile these in a future post.

Now I am off to cook several insect dishes for my pop-up shop at the University of Southampton tomorrow.



Insects to Feed the World

From 14th-17 May 2014 I was lucky to attend the conference Insects to Feed the World in Ede, The Netherlands.

Here we were 450 people from 45 countries, all gathered to talk and share our research, business ideas and challenges faced in the edible insects sector.

Here’s a picture from the opening of the conference. The atmosphere was electric as the whole audience was excited about all of the talks that were to come over the following days.


I met a whole host of people from entrepreneurs, architects, PhD students in sustainability and biology to experts in agriculture and EU policy makers.

Over the course of the conference we talked about:

  • The challenge of the ‘yuck’ factor when trying to encourage people to eat insects
  • Introducing edible insects in countries where sustainable sources of protein are scarce
  • Testing the safety of new species of edible insects (e.g. pathogens)
  • Changing EU (and worldwide) legislation to make it easier to breed insects for human consumption.

But, on to the fun bit!…

Our hosts kindly prepared lots of interesting appetisers for us to try during the breaks and I got to take a few pictures of them when I wasn’t busy networking.

Freshly cooked mealworm balls! I would like to try and make these myself, as they are easy to hand out and won’t be a problem for people who are squeamish about seeing legs. Meaty and nutty.


Quiche with a mealworm topping. They have quite a subtle taste, but add a nice crunch :)


It looks like everything I ate was made of mealworms, but actually I tried some silk worms cooked in soy and mirin, plus some crickets, locust salad, several dishes with wasp larvae….I was too busy eating them to take pictures!