Robyn Shapiro 
Co-Founder of Seek
New York City, New York

How did you become interested in edible insects?
I first became aware of the potential behind edible insects, like many of the other contributors to this movement, from the 2013 United Nations Food and Agriculture Report on the subject. However, even prior to then I had a strong interest in projects with a nod to the future. I worked as a a rooftop farmer at Eagle Street, the nation’s first commercial green roof farm, and currently serve as the Deputy Director at the Lowline, a solar illuminated future underground park with plants and vegetables. I am energized by working on projects today that have the ability to solve the issues of tomorrow. And specifically, I feel there is a great need to work on solutions to improve our food systems. 

Congratulations on the launch of your new product, Seek. Did you work with a chef or are these your own creations?
I have always had a strong love of food and the majority of my time at home is spent in my kitchen experimenting on new recipes and cooking for friends. When it came time to develop Seek, I wanted there to be a very personal connection to the brand, so I ended up developing all the recipes. However, I refined the product with the help of some talented chefs that I know! And beyond our Seek Snack Bites, I make a lot of different foods with crickets and other insects. Just last night I made cricket croutons for the first time. 

Where do you draw your flavor inspirations from?
I drew on inspirations that were nostalgic, such as with our Banana PB+J Snack Bites, as well as combining ingredients that have traditionally paired well together such as Cashew Coconut and Chocolate Chili. I wanted to create a tasty product that felt familiar and new at the same time.   

Have you raised any of your own insects for consumption?
I often purchase live insects to cook with, but have not raised any myself, at least not yet. There are a ton of great things happening in the edible insect space though — and we will start to see more home kits for raising your own insects. I plan to delve into the fun when these become more readily available. One of the exciting things about eating insects is the education that surrounds this practice too, there is a lot you can learn about science and sustainability in addition to offering an exciting new source of protein. 

 Where do you recommend adventure seekers source their insects (other than crickets) from? I know you experiment with several different types of insects.
Right now, sourcing different insects is not as easy as going to your local grocer— but one day hopefully it will! I recommend picking up a copy of David George Gordon’s Eat A Bug Cookbook as he offers a lot of great resources for where to buy and forage for a variety of bugs!

What’s the flavor profile of the crickets you use and how do you blend the distinct nose of the product? 
I describe crickets as having an earthy, nutty flavor and I have also heard people describe what I make as having a deep umami taste. Given this, I chose to pair crickets with nuts, dried fruits and spices — all familiar ingredients with loads of delicious flavor combinations.