If you are anywhere close to Lyon next week, then you should consider heading to À La Piscine for a unique six course dinner. The guest for two evenings on 15 and 16 September is Sardinian chef Roberto Flore, who works at Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen with world renowned chef René Redzepi of Noma fame.
Roberto is probably the leading chef in the world working to understand the reasons why people eat insects and how this is considered normal in many cultures around the world.
A Sardinian, he discovered the ‘holy grail’ in Sardegna when he was still 8 years old. It was here that he came face to face with casu marzu, a cheese that is literally translated into English as “rotten or putrid cheese”. This is a traditional sheep milk cheese that contains live insect larvae (maggots).
He says that the seed of his fascination with why people eat insects was planted over 25 years ago at the end of that lunch. “A friend arrived with a piece of casu marzu with maggots jumping all around. Some of the guests were happy to eat it with bread and wine while others ran away because they were disgusted. I have always been fascinated by new flavours and new tastes and on that day I decided to stay and eat the cheese and it was delicious,” he said.
Roberto says that cheese would become part of a food revolution since for the rest of the world, the Sardinians were a community of insect eaters. “For us, it was just food.”
Very interested in sustainability, Roberto is always on the lookout to discover new flavours but also to study how what today is a revolutionary topic is part of human evolution because insects have been part of human diets for thousands of years.
Roberto is fascinated by the fact that people eat insects for a variety of reasons but mainly they are eaten because they taste good. Insects are collected fresh from the wild so then can be a seasonal delicacy and are also free. Insects are cooked fresh like a normal ingredient such a herb in various parts of the world he says.
He believes insects have to be the key to make us reflect on our capacity to embrace food diversity.
For more details about the two dinners at À La Piscine including a profile of the chef by Andrea Petrini visit the website.