Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!” may have once been a cause for concern, but no more. Chef and keynote speaker, Grant Wagner, will be exploring the world of sustainable proteins as he cooks up something extraordinary for Rolling Hills Zoo’s Taste of Adventure series on Sunday, November 13, 2016.
Not one to shy away from a culinary challenge, Wagner has been exploring the world of sustainable protein, otherwise known as entomophagy for a number of years. He was first introduced to entomophagy – the practice of eating bugs – in culinary school. Since then he has explored this culinary trend only for his own dining pleasure. Then the Salina Public Library called and asked him if he would do a program on entomophagy. “The kids loved it!” shared Wagner. “They had so much fun and they had no gross out factor. I’m hoping to see that same child-like wonderment in the adults during Taste of Adventure.”
“As humans we should, especially this time in our world, explore every possible cuisine opportunity. This is a very sustainable way to feed the world, and you will find that throughout the course of history people have been eating bugs,” commented Wagner.
Insects as sustainable proteins are considered the “Next Big Thing” in the culinary world. Nations around the world are waking up to this idea, to the potential it has to change the way we eat and relate to our environment. “It’s an adventure totally unlike anything you’ve seen or heard, a new dimension in science, nutrition, travel, culture and cuisine,” stated Daniella Martin, author of An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet.
Advocates of entomophagy often cite insects’ high nutrition and low environmental impact as the benefits of eating insects. Where producing one kilogram of beef requires an average of 50 square meters of arable land, and 22,000 liters of water, one kg of crickets requires just 15 square meters and less than one liter of water, according to a Little Herds analysis <http://www.entomoanthro.org/blog> of United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization data. Nutritionally, the primary selling point of insects is their high protein content. Chapulines in Mexico, for example, post 35-48 percent protein; beef, by comparison, is 19-26 percent, according to the ‘United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization <http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e00.htm>.
“It’s important for trained chefs to be doing meals like these,” says David Gordon, the famed “Bug Chef”, “because of the power of persuasion that a good meal can offer.” “You can talk about how good it is for the environment until you’re blue in the face,” he says. But if it doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t matter.”
To accommodate the adventurous and not so adventurous palate, Wagner will be serving two menu options for this event. The extraordinary menu will include a water cake salad, butternut squash & grasshopper risotto and not-your-mom’s mud pie with assorted edibles. Guests opting out of the “extraordinary” and choosing the ordinary will be served water cake salad with no protein, butternut squash and chicken risotto and traditional mud pie.
The evening of will begin with cocktails at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner served at 6:30 p.m. Chef Grant Wagner’s presentation will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for Taste of Adventure are $30 per person for members, $35 for non-members. Make your reservations online at rollinghillszoo.org or call 785.827.9488, ext. 114. Reservations are required and the deadline is 5:00 p.m. on November 9th. For additional information go to: www.rollinghillszoo.org