Located in the former legendary Screen Actors Guild headquarters, The Guild takes the farm-to-table movement to new heights by using locally grown crickets.
A rainy night in Los Angeles will keep most locals bundled up at home, especially on a Sunday evening. Contemporary LA restaurant The Guild, however, was packed with a crowd of entrepreneurs, entertainment executives, actors, and bloggers. The room buzzed with nervous excitement, as the dinner on the menu was anything but ordinary.
In collaboration with Aly Moore (that’s me!) of Bugible.com and Scott Trimble of Entomophagy.com, The Guild hosted the inaugural private dinner of a series called Divergent Dining. Like-minded influencers gathered to learn about how bugs are the ecologically sustainable (and delicious!) protein source of the future. Owner Diego Leporini is one of the first in Hollywood to open his mind and stomach to this new trend in food. Guests ate dishes ranging from cricket-mushroom bruschetta, wax worm curry, roach chili, mealworm pasta, cricket bolognese, and cricket chocolate ice cream. Local cricket farm Coalo Valley Farms and Entomo Farms supported the event with bug products.
Guests were selected from all different backgrounds with one thing in common: expertise in media, communication, and storytelling. Most were new to the idea of eating bugs, but they put on a brave face to gear up for this unique experience. Guests received a vague invite and given the following explanation:
Why: Just like sushi came into popularity in the 1980s, insects are the next big trend. Not only will they be able to feed billions of people, but, as very close relatives of crabs, lobsters, crawfish, and shrimp, they have been overlooked for too long.
As the guests arrived, the room filled with nervous chatter. The destination of choice? The bar. Clearly those new to the idea of eating insects needed some liquid courage.
Our strategy was to ease guests in with some familiar dishes that contained insects and to migrate to progressively more obvious dishes. The menu was designed to have a mix of “trojan horse dishes” (ie items like pasta made from cricket powder in which the insects could not even be detected) and “photo-op dishes” (ie salad with mealworm croutons). Although the future of insects as ingredients may have more subtle inclusions of insects, our goal was to educate people and get a conversation going online… the best way to do that is to serve food that makes great social media content!
Dinner time. To kick things off, we took one of The Guild’s popular menu items and added crickets & cricket salt to it to create cricket mushroom bruschetta.
The dishes continued to come out – one tasty bug treat after another.
It is my hope that through hosting more similar events, the community of Los Angeles will open their collective minds and stomachs to the concept of eating bugs. The night of this dinner (Sunday, November 20th 2016) was a huge step in the right direction for the edible insect community.
The Guild continues it’s tradition of stretching diners’ imaginations by becoming one of the first West Hollywood eateries to serve locally grown insects in popular dishes. Although exotic to the west, global top Michelin starred restaurants like Denmark’s Noma have been crafting gourmet dishes with insects for years, taking advantage of their delicate and diverse flavor profiles.
At the helm, Owner Diego Leporini says “Our goal is to excite diners’ palates and have them experience dishes they have never tasted before. We are proud to introduce new and interesting ingredients on our menus, including insects.” Leporini is no stranger to exotic produce, as he already incorporated bee pollen and escargot into dishes. There are at least 1900 identified edible insects – that’s a whole world of unexplored flavor!
About The Guild
The Guild is a contemporary American restaurant, rustic wine bar, and artisanal retail store ensconced in the former headquarters of the historic Screen Actors Guild on West Hollywood’s iconic Sunset Boulevard. The menu features approachable yet progressive California cuisine with global inspiration. Owner and Wine Director Diego Leporini selects an extensive wine list, which includes boutique producers worldwide and a robust collection from California. Further complementing the restaurant is a charming wine bar and retail shop, offering a selection of unique wines, fine cheeses, charcuteries, olive oils, jams, pates, and culinary accessories for purchase as well as seasonal bites available for dine-in. The design of the space pays homage to the building’s late 1930s’ history fused with modern and rustic accents and furnishings. Located at 8741 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, CA, the restaurant is open for lunch, weekend brunch, Happy Hour, and dinner daily. For additional information, please call 424.279.9601, follow the restaurant on Facebook, and Instagram, or visit www.TheGuildLA.com
About Aly Moore and Bugible.com: Aly Moore has a background in public health and entertainment. While Bugible started as a blog about edible insects, it has evolved into a platform for building awareness around edible bugs through creative events, dinners, and brand building.
About Scott Trimble and Entomophagy.com: Scott Trimble is a Hollywood producer and location scout, and the founder of the Entomophagy.com website.