FOOD & DRINK

Grub’s up! Ferne McCann helps launch edible insects

Will you be bitten by the bug? (How many bad puns can we work in here?)

Ferne McCann, the TV personality who famously ate a live spider on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, has joined more the two billion people worldwide who already eat insects to supplement their diet.

The popular Mexican restaurant chain, Chiquito, has launched the FREE edible insects with every pint or standard bottle of Corona and Brooklyn Naranjito. The two flavour options – Chilli & Lime and Peri-Peri crickets – will also be available to be purchased separately for 99p, and come in a 12g pack when they hit Chiquito next Wednesday. The crunchy roasted crickets can be eaten alone, sprinkled on top of the food or are a great pairing with beer or tequila and available while stocks last.

Ferne, 29, who currently stars in her own TV show, Ferne McCann First Time Mum, tried the bugs with a beer and tequila!

McCann said: “I was so pleased to be invited to this partnership. Despite loving my time in the jungle, I can say for certain that being in a Chiquito and having roasted crickets with a side of beer was by far a much more enjoyable experience. I even got creative and sprinkled some on my nachos! I’m also delighted to get one of their Amigo black cards, so I will definitely be coming back to try some more of their delicious food.”

She added: “I’m now reliving my dreams of being on I’m A Celebrity, eating crickets and they go so well with tequila!”

Chiquito managing director, Angelo Gabrilatsou, said: “We pride ourselves on being the brand that brings the best of Mexican flavours and culture to the UK. Through our food and environment we always allow our guests to be as adventurous as they want with a range of dishes that go from mainstream to more authentic. Bringing edible bugs felt like a natural next step into driving that real Mexican experience, allowing our guests to be a little more daring.”

Edible bugs have been part of the diet of many cultures around the world throughout history. I can attest to this. My wife, who is Thai, used to regularly eat deep fried crickets when we lived there. I’ve even seen her place live ants in a red, chili-heavy paste (which kills most of the ants) and then get them down her. Not my idea of a light repast, but then, she has never warmed to Indian curries. It take all sorts.

Back in Mexico, these edible bugs were an important source of protein for Mexico’s pre-Columbian peoples, and a variety of species continue to be consumed by many to this day.

Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, is practiced by the inhabitants of many states in central and southern Mexico, including those in parts of Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas, Campeche, Puebla, and others. 

Some experts estimate that up to 500 different bug species are used as a food source in Mexico and they are now creating a buzz in the UK.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie says she likes hers ‘with a beer’ and Barclays Bank claims they could be as popular as sushi. They may not be on your lunch menu just yet, but more than two billion people around the world already supplement their diet with insects, and crickets, mealworms and other creepy crawlies. So, don’t rule it out.

Their appeal is that they are environmentally friendly, because they take up fewer natural resources than rearing livestock, and are also a healthy alternative to meat.

For example, 100g of crickets contains 121 calories, 12.9g of protein, 5.5g of fat. This, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, compares favourably with meat, as while 100g of ground beef has more protein, it is also much higher in fat.

A study last month from Teramo University in Italy found silkworms have twice the level of antioxidants — chemicals that protect our cells from damage and ageing — as olive oil. Crickets, meanwhile, pack almost as much of an antioxidant punch as fresh orange juice.

All of which might help explain why Barclays predicts the global market for edible insects could be worth almost £6.5 billion by 2030.

Note to Editors

  • Chiquito is a restaurant specialising in Mexican cooking. The company was established in 1989 and has 80 restaurants around the UK. Chiquito, the Original Mexican Grill & Bar, is part of The Restaurant Group.
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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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