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Grub’s up for reporter in bizarre insect-eating challenge

Salt and vinegar crickets, roasted locusts and chocolate-covered bugs were among the delicacies sampled by a regional daily reporter in a bizarre eating challenge.

Jen Mills, of the South Wales Argus, gave the grub a go after reading about a so-called “pestaurant”, which is set to open later this year.

Jen asked Argus deputy news editor Rob Owen and deputy editor Nicole Garnon if they’d be happy for her to take part in a tasting session in Cardiff on Wednesday, promoting the cafe, for the paper’s food pages.

They agreed and Jen will now write a feature on her experiences for the Newport-based newspaper’s It’s The Weekend magazine.

Jen, pictured left, samples a chocolate bug and, right, the restaurant's menu

Jen, pictured left, samples a chocolate bug and, right, the restaurant’s menu

Said Jen: “Some friends joked that I must be new to the Argus to have been tasked with this but I’ve actually been with them for two years and volunteered, although I did have second thoughts after starting work at 6am and feeling a bit queasy on an empty stomach.

“I’m interested in sustainable ways of eating and farming so when I heard the ‘pestaurant’ would be setting up in Wales for the first time I was keen to go along.”

The trial was run jointly by pest control business Rentokil and Grub Kitchen, a cafe serving insects which is set to open in St Davids, in Pembrokeshire, later this year.

Jen, who has worked at the Argus since June 2013 and covers the Welsh Assemby for the paper when not eating locusts, also sampled bug blinis, peanut butter cookies made with cricket flour and scorpion lollipops.

She added: “Rentokil assured me that the insects were farmed for food and not collected from their pest control business.

“This was the first time I had eaten insects and I would do it again.

“They didn’t taste of very much but are apparently a great source of protein, with crickets containing roughly five times the amount of protein than beef does per 100lbs.

“The dry roasted crickets tasted like Rice Krispies and were quite palatable, although as freelance photographer Mark Lewis put it – ‘It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not steak.'”