By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane
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Videographer / director: Jay Sohrabi
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ed Baranski
Editor: Sonia Estal
Selling roasted crickets with garden herbs, edible grasshoppers, insect protein powders and energy bars, Eat Grub also puts on pop-up dining experiences to promote using insects as a sustainable and delicious food source.
One of the founders Shami Radia said: "We think that actually they can be easily incorporated into people’s daily lives, instead of having nuts or crisps while watching the football you can have some roasted crickets."
Along with chef Seb Holmes, co-founders Shami and Neil Whippey, devised a 5-course meal for their latest pop-up, which combined chef Seb’s love of Thai street food and the co-founders’ passion for insects.
Grasshoppers, meal worms, house crickets and buffalo worms were all on the menu at the pop-up.
Seb said: "It starts with a snack, Pandan Crickets, which is like nutty, salt and pepper crickets basically. Then we go for a cricket flour Miang [Kham, a Thai snack] with fresh ginger, peanuts, coconut, served in a Betel Leaf.
"Then we have a play on tempura shrimp, with tempura grasshoppers. After that we go for a crispy Vermicelli salad with buffalo worms. Served alongside that we have a Som Tam salad, which is a green papaya salad made fresh in a pestle and mortar; we just use crispy roast crickets rather than shrimps like you would traditionally.
"Then to finish off we do a grasshopper praline ice cream.”
Eat Grub was founded after a conversation between Shami and Neil at Neil’s 30th birthday party. The duo began their research on how to farm insects and their nutritional values.
Shami said: “Insects are actually a sustainable source of protein.
"Crickets are 67% protein, really high in things like iron, calcium, zinc, they have the complete nutritional profile.
"The original superfood."
The most important part of Eat Grub’s products is the taste, and the co-founders regularly experiment with different flavours and cooking methods.
Neil said: “First we found a place that sold frozen locusts online, so we ended up with chili and honey locusts that we had roasted in our oven.
"The thing we noticed most from the research, is that we didn’t actually know how to cook insects so we realised we had to get a chef on board.
"And that’s where Seb came in.”
Neil and Shami reached out to Seb Holmes, professional chef and owner of Thai street food restaurant Farang in Highbury, London.
Seb said: "They organised meeting me in a pub in Shoreditch and it was kind of like a dodgy drug deal. I met them there and they got loads of Tupperware containers out with different insects in.”
More Eat Grub pop-up experiences are planned in the near future.
Shami said: “I feel that it’s one thing me telling you to try insects, but it’s another thing if you come down try some of the food for yourself and then go away and tell ten other people how amazing the food was."
Neil added: "We try to change the taboo by creating really positive, exciting and most of all, tasty experiences.”