The art of cooking insects

Insects are considered a delicacy, with some insects such as the jumile costing up to 300 dollars per kilo.

Photo: Alan Carranza
English 11/11/2016 20:22 Jimena González Bernal Actualizada 20:24
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Chef Julio Gómez travels all over Mexico to find inspiration for his dishes. While traveling, few homes let him into their adobe or wood burning kitchens. But every now and then, after a little coaxing and after convincing his hosts about the importance of sharing their recipes with the rest of the country and the world, some open their doors and share their culinary knowledge.
This is how the chef has developed a passion for the art of entomophagy: insects as food for humans. At each stop, he jots down the ancestral techniques that are still used today centuries later in certain communities in Mexico to prepare dishes using some kind of strange insect. “They say that a good chef should know how to prepare the best food from his or her own country. This is why for me it's been an enriching experience to visit pueblos and see first hand the techniques used by locals. It's truly impressive,” said the young Mexican chef.

Mexican Menu

Gómez makes his desire of respecting and honoring prehispanic cuisine through the use of insects: escamoles (ant eggs), hormiga chicatana (atta ants), jumiles (stink bugs), chinicuiles (moths), chapulines (grasshoppers) and ahuautle (fly larvae). Julio puts his own twist and special touch because he says that as a chef, “you have to constantly evolve.” So, what Julio does is prepare plates that surprise his guests because they are visually appealing, not because of the insects in the dish.

In the meal he prepared for us, Julio gets creative by cutting, dicing and mixing the insects to create a sort of camouflaging effect with all the other ingredients he uses in the dish. So, using 100% organic products, he makes a Oaxacan grasshopper dumpling soup with a mild chili powder as a garnish.

He then prepared an ant egg and stink bug taco as an appetizer, which he accompanies with picaña steak with a atta egg mole sauce. These dishes are currently served at the Amici restaurant in the María Isabel Sheraton Hotel.
“I don't want our guests to feel uncomfortable with the idea of eating insects, so I try to give dishes a different visual aspect, where the person enjoying the dish only concentrates on the flavors and not on how the insect looks,” he added. 

Insects are considered a delicacy in Mexico. A kilo (around 2.2 pounds) of stink bugs, for example, runs about 300 dollars in Mexico City's San Juan Gourmet Market.

Restaurante Amici

Address: Inside the Sheraton María Isabel Hotel. Paseo de la Reforma 325, Cuahutémoc
Phone:  5242 5555 / Twitter:  @amici_sheraton
Open: Mon-Sat 6:30 am -11 pm / Sun 11 am - 5 pm

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Mexican Cuisine chapulines
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