5 Questions With Disgusting Food Museum Curator: Dr.Samuel West
When our friends at VICE covered the Disgusting Food Museum, we had to take a look at what was all the hype. Our first reaction was why would anyone want to willingly eat disgusting food? Well as it turns out, disgust is more culturally acquired than we may think…
The evolutionary function of disgust is to help us avoid disease and unsafe food. Disgust is one of the six fundamental human emotions. While the emotion is universal, the foods that we find disgusting are not. What is disgusting food for one person, is a delicacy for another.
Beyond the entertaining shock value of such an adventurous Foodie culture trip, we knew there had to be more to why Dr.Samuel West (curator of The Disgusting Food Museum) decided to curate over 80 “disgusting” foods from around the world. We caught up with Sam yesterday at his hotel, while our staff enjoyed Cricket protein bars, to get into the mood of obscure & sustainable food.
(Jody Penhall) What is the most disgusting taste & smell at the museum. Let’s just get the most obvious potential visitor question out there?
(Sam West) It’s quite the competition between Swedish Surströmming (you can lose friends just from opening up a can!) & Nordic salted licorice. They have both sent visitors in Malmo & L.A straight to the barf bag!
JP: Are insects the future of food? I think we can agree that they are but how fast until a STARBUCKS for example is serving up a latte with coco ant powder?
SM: Oh very soon. The rise of the internet has allowed new foods and trends to hit the mainstream a lot faster than 20 years ago. If you think that it has taken sushi 20 years to go from a dangerous raw meat concept to a universal foodie favourite. I would even say that we are in an era of cultural expansion in the food industry. Everyone wants to try exotic grains, black burger buns, cocktails with dry ice… insects are going from eww to new faster than you can say: coco ant vanilla latte with black rice milk please.
JP: What messages about sustainability do you most want to get across with the Disgusting Food Museum?
SW: The non sustainability and ethical implications of the mass produced meat industry, inspired me to want to advocate insects as the sustainable food of the future. Disgusting Food Museum, is a way to do that.
JP: What is the most pleasant surprise at the tasting bar of the Disgusting Food Museum?
SW: Durian from Thailand. Everything about this fruit screams don’t eat me. From it’s Jurassic armoured exterior to it’s Diaper smelling interior, it’s flavour is often a very pleasant surprise indeed. The fruit flesh is both delicious and confusing. It tastes a lot like creamy caramel with a hint of chives. See that doesn’t sound good but it is. It sort of tastes like fusion cuisine. Crickets surprise people too as they imagine such a complex creature to match in taste. They are pleasantly surprised to find out that they are much like chips fried in nut oils, but with the added benefit of being high in protein and rich in minerals like phosphorus, iron, & calcium!
JP: You mentioned you think the show would do well in Montreal, explain?
SW: Often described as half Paris, half Brooklyn – I have been told that Montreal is a high culture magnet for foodies, artsies and celebrities hiding out… it’s already on my bucket list of places I should have been already! I also like the geography that it’s a thriving Metropolis on an island with a constant flow of obscure festivals and I think the French influence makes the locals even more food adventurous as well as the well integrated population of mixed races and cultures. It’s an avant-garde city recognized for high fashion, high tech companies and great food culture!
The Disgusting Food museum is currently in LOS ANGELES
Until Feb 17th, 2019
If all this food talk has tantalized your taste buds, you may want treat your palate to some tapas at the Bureau Bar.