Friday 25th August 2023

Chances are that if you are a 'bug' something else above you in the food chain is trying to eat you! Imagine your surprise when humans start looking at you as food too!

Charlie Carran bravely takes on a honey-infused, deep-fried locust...
Charlie Carran bravely takes on a honey-infused, deep-fried locust...

The annual Alternative Protein Seminar kicked on this week and gave our Agribusiness students a chance to try a variety of insects (and arachnids) and consider whether or not they could become part of a Western diet. 

Honey-infused, deep-fried locusts... — Image by: Craig Preston

The seminar was divided into three parts, and ably taught by Miss Kate Caldwell (a trainee teacher from the College of Education) and Dr. P, the Director of Agribusiness.

Session 1, Kate Caldwell outlined the significantly reduced carbon footprint required to farm insects compared to beef, chicken and lamb. For example, note the difference in water investment required!

Image by: Craig Preston
Miss Kate Caldwell, training teacher from the Otago University College of Education kicked off seminar proceedings! — Image by: Craig Preston

Session 2 included tasting a variety of safe-for-human-consumption insects and a Fear Factor Challenge where six boys and one teacher were blindfolded and had to chew, and swallow whatever was placed into the their hand. Will Hancox won the challenge with the least amount of fuss as he waded through snails, live meal worms and other awful critters.

Hold out your hand and hope for the best! — Image by: Craig Preston

Session 3 saw four teams prepare a surprise dish that included insects in the recipe. The winning team had to display excellent cooking skills, innovative recipes, creative presentations (of both the food and the table settings) in order to win lunch out with Dr. P! The beef and mealworm stir-fry eventually won the master chef competition.

Beef and Mealworm stir-fry with vinaigrette dressing... — Image by: Craig Preston

A fun day had by all, but more importantly, more knowledge about alternative proteins and their possible viability as a complementary food of the future.

Mr Lachie McLellan winces as the snail makes its full force of disgust known in his mouth! — Image by: Craig Preston