Grub Kitchen, the UK’s first restaurant championing entomophagy (the human consumption of insects), is set to open in the town of Haverfordwest near St Davids, Wales, this summer.
Although Wahaca, Archipelago and various pop-up restaurants have experimented with entomophagy over the past few years, Grub Kitchen will be the first with a menu fully focused around insect produce.
Incorporating insects such as grasshoppers, crickets and a variety of worms, dishes include a bug pick ‘n’ mix starter and bug burger main.
Founder and head chef Andrew Holcroft started his career working at The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, and most recently spent four years as head chef of Cwtch*, St Davids.
He said: “We want to pioneer the movement to normalise the eating of bugs on a day-to-day basis. We’re treating them as a normal food item, incorporating insect protein as an ingredient but using normal flavours we’re familiar with and everyday food items we recognise.
“I’m a firm believer that people aren’t going to stop eating meat – that goes against biology – so bugs are also going to sit next to normal dishes on the menu. For example, we’re serving both bug burgers and lamb kebabs.”
The restaurant will open as part of Dr Benyon’s Bug Farm, from which Holcroft’s partner, entomologist and TV personality Dr Sarah Benyon, will run insect workshops and information evenings. Along with cooking demonstrations and interactive tasting events at Grub Kitchen, the pair hope to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits surrounding entomophagy.
Due to ambiguous farming regulations in the UK, Holcroft is currently importing insect produce from the Netherlands. He is in talks with the Food Standards Agency and hopes to be breeding insects for human consumption at the farm by 2016.
Mexican food chain Wahaca sold 1,500 plates a week of its fried-cricket special throughout January. Marketing manager Oli Ingham said: “The experiment has been a great step in the right direction and hopefully one that will change our food map forever. We hope we’ve inspired other restaurants to do the same thing.”
The chain’s flagship restaurant in Covent Garden is now serving a dish containing chorizo, cheese and chapulines (crickets), inspired by Mexican chef Alejandro Ruiz, throughout February and March.