The first insect that Pascal Baudar ever tried eating was an ant he found in his kitchen. The verdict? "It tasted like some kind of chemical," says Baudar.
Most people would have probably given up on the bug-eating experiments right there. But Baudar? He's made it part of his life's calling.
Baudar is a self-proclaimed culinary alchemist. He is perhaps the prince of wildcrafted haute cuisine: He creates visually stunning, palate-pleasing recipes using innovative cooking processes and foraged ingredients — which frequently include insects.
Born in a small town in Belgium, Baudar is now based in Los Angeles. He's collected wild foods for Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. When gathering in the wild, he focuses on non-native and invasive plants, as well as insects, so that his harvesting actually gives Mother Nature a hand. The ecological repercussions, he says, should always be on your mind when foraging: "You don't take more than 10 to 20 percent of what you find," he told NPR in 2016.