The Nordic Food Lab, aka the secret laboratory Rene Redzepi and his friends set up on a secret houseboat, recently announced major news: it will spend the next three years researching ways to introduce insects to the Western palate, thanks to a 3.6 million kroner ($621,879) grant from the Velux Foundation.
While our instinct would have been to market bug consumption like Creepy Crawlers, the Foundation has a far more noble (and much less childish) approach. By working with the team behind the insect-highlighting menu at Noma, the Foundation hopes to execute the United Nation’s recent initiative to move humans towards a more sustainable diet by getting more protein from bugs. Michael Bom Frøst, Director of the Nordic Food Lab, insists that the missing keystone is a “focus on deliciousness”.
“It is our goal to provide that missing argument,” he said in a press release, “so that insects become not just edible novelty but celebrated ingredients with high gastronomic value and diverse applications in Western cuisines.”
Though media figures like Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain often praise the value of eating bugs (and point out, rightly, that non-Western cultures have no problem eating bug larvae like so many pieces of boneless chicken), the Nordic Food Lab will take on this daunting challenge from a fine-dining angle; hoping that, like other dishes birthed in high-end kitchens, bugs will eventually trickle into the mainstream diet.
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