'Masterchef Australia' judge Gary Mehigan recommends insects as future food option

A recent study found that promoting insects as tasty, or even as a luxurious and exotic delicacy, could help achieve more sustainable food production and healthier diets.
Chef Gary Mehigan (Photo | YouTube screengrab)
Chef Gary Mehigan (Photo | YouTube screengrab)

NEW DELHI: With the increasing pressure of an ever-growing population on our planet, celebrity chef Gary Mehigan believes that ubiquitous insects can be an attractive and viable food option to fulfil the dietary requirements of the future.

A recent study found that promoting insects as tasty, or even as a luxurious and exotic delicacy, could help achieve more sustainable food production and healthier diets.

"Insects are eaten all over the world, some are absolutely delicious and with the pressure of an ever-growing population on our planet it will become a viable and attractive option," Mehigan, who has been judging 'Masterchef Australia' for the past nine years, told PTI.

However, he does not believe that super-foods, food pills and protein bars will fill in the role played by traditional foods.

"I don't think food pills or bars will replace the traditional food that we know and enjoy today. Food is not just about sustenance, it is about family and community and an integral part of our lives, our culture and beliefs," said Mehigan who was in the city to promote South Australia as a tourist destination.

According to an estimate, the world population is expected to reach a whopping nine billion by 2050.

To feed all of those hungry mouths, we will need to produce almost twice as much food as we currently do.

"The global community has to make some very real changes to the way we consume the world's resources or the outcome for humanity is not all that rosy," said Mehigan.

He noted that experimenting with lab-grown meats as green alternatives with a lower carbon footprint was a welcome step.

"The cruelty we inflict on millions of animals fills many of us with sadness, our over-consumption and food waste in the first word is horrendous," said Mehigan.

"We need to do something. I think we need to look at ways to reduce how much food we waste and consume, and make an effort to have meat-free days, if we are carnivores, and take a lesson from the vegetarian community's recipe books," he added.

According to Mehigan, India by far has the best vegetarian cuisine in the world, and the country needs to spread the word about how wonderful and flavoursome vegetarian food can be.

Indian food is very popular in Australia and there are many similarities between the cuisines of the two countries, he said.

He added that India has a complex and colourful tradition of wonderful recipes spanning hundreds of years.

"What we miss in Australia is the diversity and regionality in Indian food. We have a strong Indian community, and have always had a local Indian restaurant in most suburbs," he said.

Mehigan said his favourite is South Indian cuisine, which is full of coconut, curry leaves, often gentle spicing and a myriad of rice breads.

"As for Australian food, we have a very multicultural base to our cuisine, Vietnamese, Chinese, Lebanese, Greek, Thai, Eastern stern European etc," he said.

He said South Australia is making conscious efforts to highlight these offerings to the Indian travellers to the region.

India stands among the top 10 source markets for South Australia and that is what has warranted its attention to promoting the region actively in the country.

"On a recent visit, I fell in love with all sorts of dishes like paya and nahari, tar ghost, chhole bhatura, bhapa ilish, masala dosa, kacchi biryani from Hyderabad. If you look at those dishes they are so complex, layered with flavour texture and utterly delicious how could I say no to all of that," Mehigan said.

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The New Indian Express