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UBC cooking competition aims to show bugs are great to eat

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There was only one rule contestants had to follow at a cooking competition held at UBC on Tuesday: the dishes had to include bugs.

Four groups presented judges with their creations – shortbread, tacos, cheesecake and ginger cookies – all made with cricket flour or mealworm.

Dubbed the Great UBC Bug Bake Off, the event is designed to show students and the public that insects are edible, nutritious and packed with protein.

“So that the negative feeling that people have about insects should be lessened, or should go away, or should be eliminated,” said Dr. Yasmin Akhtar, lecturer in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.

Marks were given for ingenuity, texture and, of course, flavour.

“Ew, gross, sure, but you know, we have to have a more healthy relationship with our food system,” said UBC executive chef David Speight, who was one of the adjudicators.

“Our food system is broken, and if we are going to feed 10 billion people down the road, we really do have to rethink our relationship with food,” he argued.

There is also an environmental benefit to eating bugs. Rearing them requires less water, feed and space.

“Insects are just like animals that we regularly consume, just like beef, chicken, pork,” said student Nicole Lee.

In the end, the chefs who made the shortbread with cricket flour were chosen as the winners.

The cookies were sweet and crunchy, with just a hint of bug.  

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