Improving Culinary Skills

by : Dilip Shaw

Folding culinary arts into food service - includes related article on trendy food manufacturing.

It is increasingly important for food manufacturers to utilize both culinary professionals and food scientists in their Research and Development efforts, else we are heading towards a society where there wont be any good food to eat.

Food flavors can be either added to foods or developed during cooking processes. However, processes used in the kitchen usually produce different results than those in manufacturing.

Culinary professionals can help scientists envision fine restaurant food presentations, which can then be taken and duplicated on a large scale through flavor and/or process technology.

The Odd Couple?

Although working together can be challenging, food scientists and culinary professionals can benefit from learning each other's perspectives on product development. Language/terminology differences can create communication gaps as are often the case when people in different disciplines work together.

Matthew Walter, corporate chef at a flavor and ingredient house, says, "To work with manufactured food, a chef does not need to become a food technologist, but does need to understand the ingredients and the parameters within which they are working. When both the culinary and technical views come together, the highest quality product results." Walters also adds that it is definitely possible to have fine restaurant-quality manufactured food. "Anything can be done for a cost, and while cost has traditionally been the biggest inhibitor of high quality, people are willing to pay for good food," he adds.

Some feel that a smaller setting can be a friendlier atmosphere for a combination culinary/food science developed product. The larger the company, the more challenging it can be for the two disciplines to work together. Developing a product with fewer people allows everyone to wear more hats and it may be easier for the group to collaborate. People tend to be more specialized in larger companies with each person providing a specific contribution to a product before handing it off to someone else.

Although it is still not extremely common to have personnel from these two differing disciplines working together, the end product is often superior and more quickly developed when scientists and culinary experts put their heads together. This combination of talents creates a synergy that helps the product development team cover all its bases.

Does this mean that a new hybrid type of food expert will soon be in demand in the industrial food world? To a certain extent, this is already true. However, some in the industry are concerned that with a hybrid food backgroundHealth Fitness Articles, expertise in each area will become diluted. Evolution is a slow process.

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