Crunchy BBQ crickets

The team tuck into some BBQ-flavoured insects...
04 August 2020

Interview with 

Tristan Welch, Parker's Tavern; Eleanor Drinkwater; Jane Parker, Reading University


photo of a cricket on a branch


For the first course - cake and sausages! For the second course - crickets! Chef Tristan Welch, bug expert Eleanor Drinkwater and Chris Smith tuck in at the Naked Scientists' BBQ...

Chris -Eleanor, one of the reasons that you said you'd join our barbecue - because we're eating barbecue food, etc., and talking about the science of it - is you said you're going to bring us some barbecued insects.

Eleanor - Yes, I have them right here. I have salted toffee crunch roasted crickets, salt and vinegar roasted crickets, and smoky barbecue roasted crickets.

Chris - You game Tristan?

Tristan - Well, I didn't think crickets was that. But of course, absolutely. I'm completely up for it. I've never tasted bugs before other than snails.

Eleanor - Which flavour?

Tristan - Salt and vinegar please! That's my poison...

Chris - Go on then. I'll have the barbecue one since we're doing barbecue. So they're in a nice little packet...

Tristan - Oh my goodness, look at that!

Eleanor - Yeah!

Chris - Okay. So I'm just opening the packet.

Tristan - It looks like a load of bugs have got into your crisps. How do they make them crispy? Do they oven roast them, or fry them, or...

Chris - Yeah how do they make them? And why are we eating insects?

Eleanor - Sorry. I've got a mouthful of bugs.

Chris - They're quite nice, actually. I'll have another one.

Eleanor - Yeah, they are! They are really good. Eating insects is absolutely brilliant for the environment. So they're very good for you, they're very high in protein, very low in fats and that kind of thing. But then on top of that, they are very good because you hardly need any water to produce invertebrates. They're very, very efficient at turning food and water into protein. They're great for the environment. So everyone should think about trying them.

Chris - It has been catching on though, hasn't it? Because you can rear insects on the kinds of foods that actually wouldn't make it onto the supermarket shelves. So they can turn what would be trash into sort of nutritional treasure, in some respects.

Eleanor - Yeah definitely, definitely. And you have to remember that they're eaten all over the world, it's a very common thing to eat invertebrates. We're just very odd in the UK to not have entered into that. So actually we keep catching up with the times.

Chris - Serve these in your restaurant, Tristan?

Tristan - Not just yet, no. Could you imagine the crickets running around the kitchen? That'd be hilarious, wouldn't it, Oh god, we'd probably get shut down, I don't know! These are roasted? And they taste quite nice, they're crispy! Do you know, I think I'm coming around to it. It's not terribly bad, is it?

Eleanor - You mean it's fabulous? "Not terribly bad" - it's fabulous!

Chris - They are actually very pleasant, I'm very impressed. And Eleanor, thank you for introducing me to them. I would not eschew a cricket in the future.


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