New trend creeps into London

For diners seeking something a little different, an experimental kitchen in London is catering to those bored of the everyday cuisine. 

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is breaking away from convention by providing an array of Mexican insects on its menu.

Chef Jozef Youssef is the brainchild behind the innovation, after creating the idea from his combined love of Mexican culture and entomophagy (the practice of eating insects). His aim is to promote insects as a high-end restaurant trend and believes that the consumption of insects may be a solution to global malnutrition. Youssef’s ethos has been echoed by a recent UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report that argues our diets should include more insects.

Entitled ‘Edible insects: future prospects for food and feed security’, the report highlights that insects have protein, fat, amino acids and other nutritional benefits. The authors state that the consumption of insects is “particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children”.

Youssef worked alongside Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory Professor Charles Spence, the Mexican Embassy and the Mexican Ambassador H E Diego Gomez Pickering to come up with the menu featuring a selection of the UN’s 1,900 insects identified as being edible by humans.

The chef hopes to cast out preconceived ideas that Mexican foods consist of mainly meat and spice. Mexico by Kitchen Theory promotes Mexico’s diversity and aims to educate Londoners into the country’s variety of culture.

“What we have in store for our guests is a refined modernist interpretation of Mexican ingredients and gastronomy,” said Youssef. “We want to enlighten our guests as to what modern-day Mexico signifies; its cuisine, art and the rich cultural culinary history.”

Youssef stressed that his concept wasn’t just a novel approach to the consumption of insects, but instead a credible source of nutrition for malnourishment.

“Don’t expect to be confronted by insect kebabs and deep-fried critters seen on south-east Asian streets,” continued Youssef. “Mexico by Kitchen Theory has been created to help the Western world understand just how environmentally beneficial, and tantalisingly delicious entomophagy can be. Our chefs will be using insects to subtly enhance dishes in a way that’s easy on the eye yet seriously appealing to the taste buds.”

Youssef isn’t the first to venture down this route. Entomophagy-themed restaurants have received acclaimed success in the past. The New Yorker described Synaethesia by Kitchen Theory as: “More than a gastronomic gimmick, these meals illuminate a key truth about the mind: the senses do not work in isolation but in concert.”

Mexico by Kitchen Theory launched on 1 October and will continue with its dinners series until the end of December.

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