BOZEMAN — Montana State University will host its 32nd annual Bug Buffet from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Ballroom A of the Strand Union Building. The event is free and open to the public. It is one of several events to be held Feb. 8-14 highlighting edible insects.

MSU Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez

The Bug Buffet features free samples of dishes prepared with insects. This year’s menu items will include cricket acorn bread, chapulines (grasshopper) sunchoke chips with crème fraiche, Tenebrio (mealworm) quesadilla with chapulines salsa, Orthoptera three sisters soup, smokey jumper watermelon-jicama salad, Tenebrio Montana lentil succotash, Bombyx (pupae) wild rice with juniper berries and spruce, iced Mexican chocolate brownies with cricket and black ant chokecherry smoothies.

Samples will be prepared under the supervision of MSU chefs Jill Flores and KayAnn Miller and food safety supervisor Dustin Schreiner. Individuals with allergies should be aware edible insects can trigger shellfish allergies. Gluten free options will be available.

The Bug Buffet will also include opening remarks at 12:30 p.m. by MSU President Waded Cruzado and informational booths about the nutritional and environmental benefits of edible insects. A variety of vendors in or related to the industry will also be on hand.

This year’s guest chef is Joseph Yoon, executive director of Brooklyn Bugs and a chef in New York City who has previously given presentations on food insects in Bozeman. Yoon will also judge a student cook-off and speak at an academic conference hosted at the Museum of the Rockies as part of the week’s events.

Other events to be held throughout the week include:

  • On Saturday, Feb. 8, MSU and Gallatin College MSU students will compete in a cook-off, with the public invited for tasting and awards presentation. The cook-off will begin at 2 p.m. with the tasting and awards to follow at 4 p.m. in the Hannon Hall kitchens.
  • Workshops on topics ranging from sustainable foods and nutritional science to cultural entomology and chemical and biological engineering will be held for students, faculty and staff Feb. 10-14.
  • Field trips will be conducted Tuesday, Feb. 11, to Cowboy Cricket Ranch Farms Inc. and its commercial kitchen in Bozeman and to the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. There will be additional tours highlighting technologies produced in labs on MSU’s campus, including microalgae production and a Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) mass culture.
  • Several short films and a feature-length film will be screened in the Procrastinator Theater, Tuesday, Feb. 11., hosted by Yoon and Eric Chaikin, a graduate of MSU’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking program.

The week’s events will culminate in an academic conference, “Novel Foods, Sustainability and Innovative Manufacturing Technologies,” which is set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies.

Alison Harmon, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development, and Sreekala Bajwa, dean of the College of Agriculture, will deliver opening remarks followed by a keynote address from Sonny Ramaswamy, president of the Northwestern Commission of Colleges and Universities. Ramaswamy is well-known for his views on food insects’ role in reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture.

The conference will feature presentations about the environmental and nutritional benefits of insects for food and feed from insect scientist Arnold van Huis and animal scientist Dennis Oonincx from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and from Brian “Yazzie the Chef” Yazzie, a Diné chef from Dennehotso, Arizona, located on the northeastern part of the Navajo Nation. Guest chef Yoon will present on insects as a gourmet food, and Purdue University food scientist Andrea Liceaga will share her team’s research on cricket protein. And MSU’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering will present a panel on the potential of other novel foods.

Lunch for the conference is $15. RSVPs are requested and may be made to Cameron Doran at camdoran1@gmail.com. The conference will be streamed online as well.

For more information about the Cowboy Cricket Farms field trip, contact James Rolin at james@cowboycrickets.com. For more information on the Bozeman Fish Technology Center field trip, contact Yigit Sagiroglu at yigitsagiroglu@gmail.com.

Support for the Bug Buffet is provided by MSU’s Office of the President, College of Agriculture, College of Education, Health and Human Development, College of Letters and ScienceNorm Asbjornson College of Engineering, MSU Extension, Office of International ProgramsBuhler, Inc.,  Brooklyn Bugs and Cowboy Cricket Farms Inc.

Event co-organizers are Florence Dunkel, associate professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology and Holly Hunts, associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Development.

- By MSU News Service -