It seems more like five minutes than five years ago that we unleashed the world’s first ‘pop-up’ Rentokil Pestaurant on the unsuspecting public at One New Change in London on 15th August 2013. Quite a unique way (we thought) to celebrate our heritage and over 90 years in pest control, by serving Londoners a range of sweet and savory edible insects.
Later that month we supported the LATES evening at the Science Museum with a ‘mini-bug buffet’ and in October we took the Rentokil Pestaurant to Edinburgh’s historic Grassmarket, giving Scotland its first taste of cheddar cheese mealworms, roasted locusts and curried crickets!
In 2014 we celebrated Global Pestaurant Day with great success in Writer’s Square, Belfast. Our Irish visitors consumed three quarters of a kilo of edible insects as many tried Entomophagy for the first time. During that autumn we took pestaurant ‘on tour’ to schools across the UK, in support of our chosen charity Malaria No More UK and their ‘Miles for Malaria’ fundraising campaign.
Queen Street, Cardiff saw the arrival of Pestaurant in the summer of 2015. We asked the Welsh public to share their preference for either ‘salt & vinegar crickets’ (which were the favourites at the London Pestaurant) or ‘Mexican spiced mealworms’ – it seems the salt & vinegar crickets out shone the mealworms yet again. Our Cardiff Pestaurant also had an element of haute cuisine with the help of Andy Holcroft, founder and head chef at Grub Kitchen. He shared his expertise with a ‘specials menu’ of cricket chocolate cookies and cricket canapes. These were a roaring success with every last canape and crumb of chocolate cricket cookie consumed in the Welsh capital.
Pestaurant then started 2016, bright and breezy by supporting Brunel University’s ‘Green Week’ to introduce students to the delights of Entomophagy. Pestaurant then popped-up in the Earth Zone, at the inaugural New Scientist Live Event at the Excel London. Here we shared the winning recipe from our Great British Bug-Off competition – a Black Forest Floor Brownie by Holly Bell, with the added high protein and goodness provided by incorporating mealworms.
The Northern Restaurant & Bar Show’s visitors and exhibitors in Manchester tasted the delights of edible insects in 2017. This generated some interesting suggestions for drink pairings for our curried crickets and roasted locusts!
In 2018 Pestaurant continues to ‘pop-up’ in selected venues across the UK helping to bring the fun and fascination of edible insects to many more people.
We never realised back in 2013 how Entomophagy (eating insects) would develop and evolve over time, as a potential sustainable food source for the future. A report at the time, by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation showed that over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects. It also highlighted that insect farming is seen as one of the most effective ways to help address potential food security, as the world’s population continues to grow, due to their growth and food conversion rates, combined with a low environmental footprint in their farming.
More people are also now aware of the health benefits of Entomophagy. Common house crickets contain four times as much protein as the same weight of chicken. Insects are also high in protein, B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and iron.
Entomophagy continues to filter into the Western main stream helped by dedicated chefs creating a delicious food that blends edible insects into everyday meals. The health benefits of Entomophagy have also been picked up on by the fitness fraternity with powdered edible insects in protein shakes and healthy snack bars. You can even adapt your own baking by using flour containing ground crickets or mealworms – so why not have a go!