Reigning BugFest Critter Cook-off Champ, Chef Michael Lee of Sono, returns to defend his title against Jibarra’s Chef Oscar Diaz
RALEIGH — Japanese and Mexican bug-inspired cuisines take center stage at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ annual BugFest Critter Cook-off on Friday, September 14, at 11 a.m. in the first floor Treasures Hall of the main building of the Museum.
The Critter Cook-off is the official start to BugFest 2012, which is the next day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. This insect version of Iron Chef features Chef Oscar Diaz, Executive Chef at Jibarra, and Chef Michael Lee, Executive Chef of Sono, who is the reigning BugFest Critter Cook-off Champion! The public and media are invited to attend. The Critter Cook-off will last about an hour, with opportunities for the media to sample critter concoctions and interview chefs, judges, and the public.
Each chef has 50 minutes to create an appetizer, entrée and dessert using mealworms (mealworm beetle larvae), wax worms (caterpillar larvae of wax moths), crickets, super worms (darkling beetle larvae) and a “mystery” bug. Each dish will be judged on taste, originality and presentation. The chef whose buggy grub wows our panel of celebrity judges earns the title of BugFest Critter Cook-off Champion 2012!
Returning this year is a panel of esteemed, seasoned bug eaters including Steve Daniels, from ABC-11, Debra Morgan, of WRAL-TV 5, and Dr. Meg Lowman, Director of the Museum’s new wing, the Nature Research Center (NRC). New to the judge’s panel is Julie Fertig, News 14 Carolina. A special guest at this year’s Critter Cook-off will be Dr. Mark Moffett (aka Dr. Bugs), author of “Adventures Among Ants” and one of the featured speakers at BugFest. It will be hosted by Brian Malow, Curator of the Daily Planet and Assistant Communications Director, Emelia Cowans.
BugFest, the Museum’s largest event of the year and the largest one-day bug event of its kind in the country, takes place on Saturday, September 15 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with free admission and activities.