In the first, we see these adults laying eggs on a sieve of organic wheat bran. In a second, the collected eggs develop into larvae for five to six weeks. “It is at the time of the mutation into a pupa that these larvae are removed and placed in the refrigerator to put them to sleep before they die in the freezer”, explains Mr. Bagilet. Next step: cooking, 4h30 in the oven with equally organic sunflower oil for a dry product that he intends to offer for tasting on April 17 at the next Floirac au Castel market.
“For one kilo of larvae, you need two kilos of food. For a kilo of beef, you need 13”
Caramel or Espelette pepper
Plain with a slight roasted hazelnut taste, salty, with Espelette pepper or even slightly caramelized: four varieties that you taste with the pinched and conservative mouth of the novice. It’s crunchy, as the other would say. And very good. We can imagine it as an aperitif or in a salad. The market, organic groceries and also restaurants are Metaver’s areas of development. If the transformation for direct human food is not yet possible, European legislation authorizes since September 2021, meal made from insects to feed chickens and farmed pigs. Another outlet and not the least.
The pandemic, the more than alarmist IPCC reports, his experience of collective catering (that of the Post Office in Bordeaux Mériadeck) where the food buyer was already looking to get out of the ordinary: a cocktail that pushed the fifty-year-old to act even more concretely. “The idea has been running through my head for a few years: how to balance food without unbalancing nature,” he continues. As early as 1993, a UN report (1) recommended animal proteins made from insects, which a third of the world’s population already consumed. »
Short and organic circuits
And to praise the nutritional virtues of his critters (proteins, lipids including Omega 3 and 6, trace elements, vitamin B12, etc.), their breeding conditions (above ground, no soil, saving of resources, especially water) , the absence of chemical inputs, antibiotic treatment, animal suffering. “For one kilo of larvae, you need two kilos of food,” he recalls. For a kilo of beef, you need 13.” At Christophe Bagilet, mealworms, an insect that has existed since flour existed, feed on carrots from Cestas, wheat bran from Saint-Germain-du-Puch “and the neighboring agricultural cellar supplies me with the first green leaves of endive”.
In the laboratory, a temperature of 25 degrees and 65% humidity, conditions for the reproduction of mealworms. “It is an endemic species, without nuisance: it does not fly, does not cry, does not smell”, he underlines. This type of activity can be set up almost anywhere. In a corner of the remaining 100 m², bottles full of droppings from its breeding: this mealworm guano can also be used in agriculture or for gardens or indoor plants, as nitrogen-rich fertilizer, devoid of odors and products chemicals.
An agricultural company for breeding, a commercial company to perhaps soon transform and distribute: the entrepreneur, also elected (Génération. s) in the plural left majority in Floirac, wants to add a social dimension to his project: “I set up on purpose in this priority area and I would like to develop back-to-work jobs,” says Christophe Bagilet.
It also remains to make the eating of insects, in one form or another, part of popular culture. Christophe Bagilet is confident. “My wife had a phobia of creepers and I managed to introduce her to mealworms and make her eat them for a month,” he smiles. His two young children are in tune. During the inauguration at the end of March, deputy and mayor also tried their hand at it with pleasure. The insect makes its way, soon deeper underground.