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Competitive eating already tends to be pretty disgusting, but downing hot dogs like you suck in air is nothing compared to a roasted cricket consumption contest. That’s one of the activities going down Wednesday at The Occidental, of all places, for a pop-up “pestaurant” hosted by Ehrlich Pest Control, part of a global company called Rentokil. Yum?
In an attempt to “raise awareness about pests and pest control,” guests will be able to try Mexican spiced mealworms, salt and vinegar crickets, and buffalo worms. The Occidental’s chef Rodney Scruggs has also created a grasshopper burger made with ground turkey, piquillo peppers, and avocado puree on a sweet potato bun. For dessert, there will be scorpion and cricket lollipops plus bubble gum flavored ant candy.
“They bite us, we thought we’d get our chance to bite back at them,” explains Randolph Carter, Ehrlich’s VP of marketing for North America. (Never mind that the critters that people will be eating aren’t typically the “pests” that Ehrlich Pest Control deals with. There’s no roach and bed bug burgers, after all.)
Carter says Ehrlich Pest Control did not actually kill the insects it will be serving. “You’ll be delighted to hear that we are not just recycling,” he tells Y&H. “All the pests are coming from approved suppliers. They are essentially farmed for human consumption.”
Similar “pestaurant” events will take place in a dozen countries around the world on the same day. And in D.C., the company will donate $5 for every attendee to D.C. Central Kitchen.
The event, which goes from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., is completely free. And should you decide to partake in the cricket eating contest, no need to sign up in advance. Just show up. Competitors will have to eat as many cupfuls of crickets as they can within a set time period. Carter says there will be prizes for the winners, but he’s not sure what yet. Hopefully, it something better than Raid.
Photo by Andrew Moonen