Care for a cricket or a mealworm or two? Fancy a grub, cicada, or cockroach? Don Peavy, AKA Chef PV, explores what could be the next wave of sustainable foods: insects.
In some parts of the world, insects are an important part of the human diet, requiring little to no resource inputs to grow, and yet in others, such as the US, the idea of eating insects is still in its infancy, and is more likely to induce a chorus of "Eeew!" rather than requests to try some samples. Insects offer a great feed-to-food conversion efficiency, somewhere in the neighborhood of four times better than modern meat production, and can be 'farmed' using a fraction of the resources, while avoiding a slew of environmental issues, which means that entomophagy might have an important role to play in the creation of a more sustainable and secure food system.
We've covered the topic of insects as food a number of times over the years, from recent documentaries about the issue to DIY insect farms to a buying guide for edible insects, and the latest entry into the eeew-inspiring world of eating insects comes from Don Peavy, also known as Chef PV, in a new web video series.
No matter if you've eaten a cricket or three before, or if you've never tried it yourself but are simply insect-curious, this new "Buggin' Out" series might make you a bit more interested in this somewhat squeamish field of eating things we're probably more comfortable swatting at with a shoe. Or it could turn you into a total vegan, depending on how you feel about the lives and deaths of insects...
In the series, Chef PV hosts expert insect and entomophagy guests, such as "Bug Guru" David Gracer and "The Bug Chef" David George Gordon, in an entertaining and informative short format, in the hopes of presenting the world of insect foods to a wider audience in an accessible and positive way.
"The standard American diet, heavily funded and promoted globally, has become highly desirable, especially in developing nations. In terms of food sustainability, however, studies have shown that insects require significantly fewer finite resources to farm while creating more nutritional bang for the buck compared to traditional meats. Unfortunately, many Americans are highly averse to eating bugs, but with Buggin'Out, we are looking to change that." - Don Peavy
Chef PV, said to be inspired by reading the UN-commissioned book Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security, developed his interest in entomophagy as one of the solutions to global sustainability, nutrition, and hunger issues, and this new series aims to educate and entertain.
"Food is political. It's a lifestyle, it's medicine, and it feeds the soul. My work is not just about preparing that perfect filet mignon, it's about exposing people to new ideas. For me, opening people's minds to their diet and what's possible is a window into opening up their viewpoints in other parts of their life." - Don Peavy
In the teaser, Chef PV poses a cricket-eating challenge in Times Square:
Here's the first episode of Buggin' Out, in which mopane worms, cicadas, and cockroaches end up on the menu:
Each of the rest of the episodes, a total of nine, will be released weekly on the Buggin' Out channel.