Slowly, slowly more and more people in the Western world accept insects as food, and a larger group of early adopters that have overcome their fear/prejudice even eat insects and like it.
I firmly believe that the most important part of making edible insects (like cricket powder) a food ingredient among others is that people in general plainly accept that certain edible insects are food. Not everyone will eat insects, but in the not too distant future most people will acknowledge that edible insects are part of our cuisine just like shrimps and lobsters.
That acceptance is vital and celebrities and influencers play an important role in paving the way for edible insects. In this continually updated article I will keep tabs on which celebrities have stated their support for edible insects. It is a top 5 list, and I list the people in accordance with what impact they have made and how convincing their support for eating insects is.
Place #1: Robert Downey JR
In recent years actor Robert Downey JR is most famous for his role as Tony Stark, the brilliant inventor/billionaire who became the superhero Iron Man. This role, and many others have made Robert Downey JR a wealthy man and he has decided to put his money and his name to good use and help save the environment. In 2020 he started the Footprint coalition with the idea of finding new tech that can save our planet, and then together with other investment partners fund the company behind the technology.
In November 2020 it was official that French insect farm company Ÿnsect received funding from the coalition. And in February 2021 Robert Downey JR made a big splash when promoting edible insects (mealworms) on The Late show with Stephen Colbert. (See Youtube clip above)
Place #2: Nicole Kidman
The American Magazine Vanity fair invited celebrities to be part of a series of films where they showed off their “secret talents”. Nicole Kidman’s talent got a lot of attention, three times more views than Tom Hanks “I know how to change ribbons on old typewriters”-film. Nicole ate insects, four different species, and she even ate them alive… (which I don’t recommend). Extra credits for calling them “micro livestock”, and adding that eating insects isn’t weird at all, 2 billion people eat them regularly. But few of these 2 billion people eat insects with the same flair as Australian actress Nicole Kidman.
Place #3: Gordon Ramsey
Always good when chefs treat edible insects with respect, and it is great to see that one of the world’s most famous tv chefs Gordon Ramsey has done this several times. At least the last couple of years. When he was served Casu marzu, Sardinian maggot cheese, in 2008 he was a bit skeptical, but in 2010 he learnt that the best chutney in the world is made with ants… in 2019 he made scrambled eggs with worms in Peru and when going to Cambodia he made a serious attempt on hunting, frying and eating tarantulas. He appreciated the legs.
Place #4: Salma Hayek
Born and bred in Mexico, a country where over 500 insect species are traditionally eaten, actress Salma Hayek knows how to eat them. And she has several times shown the rest of the world how great insects taste. In 2007 she visited Ellen DeGeneres and showed an excited audience how to eat chapulines. In 2010 she explained to David Letterman why she eats insects and in 2015 she showed her fans on Instagram how to eat crickets. Looking forward to Salma setting up her own edible insect brand! (she should!)
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 20, 2017
Place # 5: Angelina Jolie
In early 2000 the American actress Angelina Jolie spent a lot of time in Cambodia filming Tomb Raider. The visit made a big impact on her and she adopted a boy and became a first-time mother. She also brought home Cambodian culture and cuisine, and in many interviews claimed that she and her kids eat crickets. When visiting Cambodia in 2017 a tv crew from BBC filmed her when the family ate tarantulas and scorpions. A widely spread film clip that made her one of the eat-insects-celebrities.
Have you seen the scifi-film trilogy Divergent? Then you’ve seen the starring actress Shailene Woodley. She earns place five on this list for publicly stating that she has tried ants and june bugs and think they were great:
“I think the future of food is in insects, so we’ll see what happens.”
The statement was made in an interview with Nylon Magazine in 2015.
Artist Justin Timberlake served snacks with ants and grasshoppers at his new album listening party in 2018. The snacks were made by famous Danish restaurant Noma.
Actor Zac Efron showed the audience at the Lopez show in 2012 that eating insects isn’t a big deal at all. It even tastes good.
Anna Faris, Tituss Burgess & James Corden
In this case I will have to send my regards to David George “The bug chef” Gordon who visited James Cordens show and made him and some guests try his fantastic cooking:
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