At a first glance, nothing about Peter stands out. He’s a likeable guy, who could be your neighbor or a friend of a friend. You'd probably get along quite well with him at let's say a garden party. You would find out that he is a cook, and might even ask him a few follow-up questions that he would partialy answer. But Peter is not your average chef. He cooks insects.
Peter Ocknecht is from the Czech Republic and is a pioneer with 13 years of experience in the practice of cooking and consuming edible insects, or in other words, entomophagy. Peter is a professional and the official chef at SENS Foods, our hero basically. Having the chance to talk to him really sheds light on a whole new and interesting world just waiting to be discovered. We sat down with Peter to learn more about his world and practices.
What is your favourite recipe?
Well, my absolute favourite is cricket on butter. It’s a really easy recipe to make, you only have to know how to deal with the cricket. It’s also one of the most popular dishes at the food festivals – people tend to try it with grasshopper on couscous or desserts.
You organize degustation events as well. What type of people are most interested in tasting insects?
Travelers in general, women, and young people. Humans are becoming more and more open minded. They don’t mind the insect, they just admire the taste and want an unusual experience accompanied by a little adrenaline. If you have a little bit of creativity, incredible things can be done.
Back to crickets. Why them?
Crickets have quite a neutral taste, making it easy to work with them. They're also a great source of protein, energy, calcium, and other great things such as vitamin B12. Crickets are raised in extremely hygienic conditions and are a lot healthier than beef. These are the reasons why we use cricket flour as the key ingredient in SENS Bars.
Why is entomophagy shocking to some people?
It’s a question of how we were raised. Our parents used to tell us that insects are… gross. It’s psychological, nothing more. If they had told us stories about how insects were healthy and nice to eat, we probably wouldn’t question it at all. Europe is a continent that's rich in other basic foods, so “we can allow ourselves to not eat insects”. However, we should know that these little creatures are the simplest “fast food” in a way that, if for example, you feed the crickets carrot, they will basically become great sources of vitamin A as well.
Enjoyed the interview? Stay tuned and tag along on this amazing experience and the birth of something new, innovative and very healthy.