Nutritionist and Molecular Biologist Marlene Haimovitz On The Power Of Bugs

You might call her a “dieteticist.” She’s trained in nutrition, food science and psychology, and when she’s not cooking up a batch of waffles or mixing up a delicious salad, she’s refining the biological processes inside our bodies.

Marlene Haimovitz is the chef and co-founder of Butter Burger. And as a professional culinary chef, she’s spent time in high-profile kitchens from restaurants like Shokunin in Japan and Arthur Grumman’s Corton in New York City. But she’s best known as a scientist who’s drawn from her clinical experience to help people alter their eating habits.

When she has time, Haimovitz likes to work with kids, since she can teach them basic lessons. “It helps them develop new healthy habits and develops an appreciation for it,” she says. Haimovitz and her team at Butter Burger often give kids three meals a day: lunch, dinner and dessert. They look at what they eat, what they drink and what they exercise and learn to integrate all those aspects into the natural world of nutrients in the food they eat.

Haimovitz says that if families are willing to work on the nutrition of what they eat at home, it can set the stage for a more successful diet later on. It doesn’t matter if your kid is eating five or 10 servings of fruit a day or 10 servings of veggies, the point is to make them eat healthy. “All those little changes lead to bigger changes,” she says.

Haimovitz is also passionate about harnessing the power of bugs in our food. The bugs Haimovitz loves to cook are ones that have been raised on research farms, like many insects. “When you meet someone who is going into their backyard and they have a collection of sugarcane flies, and they’re sending them off to an experimental farm, that’s food for me,” she says. Because these bugs are hand-taught and her philosophy is that we should treat them as much like animals as possible, Haimovitz makes them into a delicious dish.

The one insect she doesn’t like to cook is the common one, silk worms. They are boring, she says, but the sex organs of these worms are nature’s best cotton candy — “They melt into chocolate,” she says.

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