Chef's Use Science to Pair Foods

By: Emily Wolter

My graduate research is making its way into volatiles analysis by  gas chromatography and mass spectometry (GCMS) in an attempt to explain variations in flavor intensities as assessed by a trained descriptive analysis panel. In turn, knowing my love for food science went beyond just the lab, a colleague of mine brought to my attention an article in the November 2012 issue of The Scientist Magazine entitled, “Chocolate and Cheese”.

As it turns out, chefs and culinologists are growing increasingly interested in those chromatographic peaks that one obtains through GCMS.  Scientists have discovered that foods that pair unusually well together, such as chocolate and caviar, share key chemical compounds. In turn, chefs sought to study results of GCMS in the literature in an attempt to inspire new flavor combinations that would work surprisingly well together.

To save the chefs a lot of time, a program has been developed, Sense for Taste. Sense for Taste allows you to enter an ingredient and create a food tree that will display all of the ingredients that would pair well with that ingredient, based on a proprietary analysis of GCMS data. Science at work  in the kitchen – it makes me excited! 🙂

What is the craziest combination of ingredients that you have put together in a dish that tasted marvelous!?

Science Meets Food

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  1. Alex Lyssy

    One of my favorite snacks is popcorn dipped in mustard!
    I also love pouring peanuts into a Big Red soda 🙂

  2. Does hot pockets and chocolate syrup count? Ketchup on eggs is also pretty good!