By John Mattson
What do ant-covered shrimp, cricket-covered chips, and fly-covered sashimi have in common? Tufts students can’t get enough of them!
Enter Brooklyn Bugs, a company that describes itself as “an advocate for edible insects”. Helmed by chef/owner Joseph Yoon, the company brings together delicious, creative cooking, and a passion for sustainability and education.
Yoon’s efforts are certainly supported by authorities like the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, which reports that common livestock needs up to six times more feed than insects for the same amount of protein. And not only that, insects have large amounts of essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and iron. Of course, the only problem is that in the West, people are generally very reluctant to eat these edible insects. That’s where Brooklyn Bugs comes in.
On Thursday evening, in partnership with the Tufts University Green Fund, Brooklyn Bugs came to Tufts ready to feed some curious palates and introduce us to a new kind of delicacy.
The Edible Insects Feast took place in the atrium of the Science and Engineering Complex, where tables of adventurous foodies were presented with a variety of small dishes, all incorporating bugs in one way or another. There were worm-covered kiwi slices, noodle cups garnished with crickets, and Italian-style meatballs that, you guessed it, had insects in them. Chef Yoon thought the crowd would take some time to warm up to the unique dishes he served. He was dead wrong. To say the least, people had no qualms with any of the insect-enhanced hors d'oeuvres.
Soon after the food started to come out, people were actually moving to other tables, trying to get closer to where the servers were entering the eating area. With each tray of food lasting all but a few seconds in the crowd, it was clear that the food was an instant hit. Throughout the evening, seeing Chef Yoon’s pride in his work was truly inspiring. In many ways he embodies the essence of Tufts, pursing his passion in a way that inspires others and aims to make the world a better place.