Abstract: The flavor of food is what compels us to eat certain items. The taste sensations of different food combinations are at time mesmerizing. The restaurant industry has long been based on tending to the need of the consumer, feeding them good food. As economic times change, there are more appearances of chain casual dining restaurants. Consequently, the change brought a need of consistency of food products. food science is a field where the study of people and food.
The field has been contributing immensely to the successful expansion of the food chain or restaurants">chain restaurant industry. The science of flavor has proven to be extremely marketable and flavorful. Science of Flavors And the Restaurant Industry The restaurant industry has long been established on the service of good food. Stand alone restaurants bringing the fine and new flavorful cuisines are very hard to come by nowadays. The massive trend of chain casual dining restaurants is in effect, and it does not seem to be slowing down.
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Since the chain system of restaurants works on brand recognition there is a standard system for every aspect of the restaurants niche that each establishment must follow. In addition, since these casual dining establishments work on a volume base commission, they need to produce good food, fast; furthermore, each dish needs to be the same every time. The consistency of the food throughout every chain establishment produces a problem in the casual dining nation, which is why all the franchises are turning to the science of food; in other words, food science. Food science has been producing phenomenal feats throughout the restaurant industry.
The study of food and people’s perception of flavors has proven to be very marketable throughout the casual dining sector. The Science of Flavors First and foremost an diminutive understanding of flavor is necessary. Flavor is a complex mixture of sensory input of the food being eaten. The composed sensory input is: taste (gustation); smell (olfaction); tactile sensations; and visual sensations. Although people may use the word “taste” to mean “flavors” in the strict sense it is applicable only to the sensation arising from specialized taste cells in the mouth. Those taste cells are the taste detectors distributed all throughout the tongue.
The taste detectors are specialized configurations commonly referred to as taste buds. (Margolskee, Smith 2001) Usually the first step in food consumption and much of food’s flavor is perceived through the olfactory impression on the mind. The reason being is that humans can distinguish and recognize several thousands of odors and some in very small concentrations. (Drewonski 2001; Levenson 1995) The next step in eating’s sensory input comes from the four basic categories of taste perceptions.
The four basic taste perceptions around the whole tongue are: saltiness; sourness; sweetness; and bitterness. However, Asian science has long disputed for the fifth quality sensed by human taste, which is ‘um ami.’ All in all the whole eating process starts with what one eats. Taste Buds The perfect tool in order to visualize what our taste receptors are would be to give a step-by-step illustration. Thomas Levenson gives an appealing visualization of what humans tongues are made up of with his work with Linda Bartoshuk, a leading authority on taste: First Bartoshuk paints the front third of my tongue with a blue stain and then holds a glass slide over the blue patch… video microscope positioned above it… What the camera records is a peculiar, almost science fiction-inspired landscape: dark mounds topped with white hollows, like craters atop long-dead volcanoes, and walls that fall abruptly to surrounding valleys.
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Hidden within the crater lie the taste buds, chemical receptors that detect the four basic tastes… (Levenson 1995) The vast majority of taste buds are located within papillae, these are the tiny projections that give the tongue a velvety appearance. The fungi like papillae, mostly noticeable in the front area of the tongue, sometimes have no taste buds or even several. Human taste buds are onion-shaped structures of between 50 and 100 taste cells, each of which has finger like projections called micro villi that poke through and opening at the top of the taste bud called the taste pore. Chemicals from food named, dissolve in saliva and contact the taste cells through the taste pore. There they interact either with proteins on the surfaces of the cells known as taste receptors or with the pore like proteins call ion channels.
The interactions cause electrical changes in the taste cells that trigger them to send chemical signals that ultimately result in impulses to the brain. The electrical changes in the taste cells that prompt signals to the brain are based on the varying concentrations of charged atoms, or ions. Taste cells, like neurons, normally have a net negative charge internally and a net positive charge externally. Tastants alter this state of affairs by using various means to increase the concentration of positive ions inside the taste cells, eliminating the charge difference.
Viewing the following drawing figure 1 will help visualize the tongue, taste buds and the process of tasting. Figure 1 Salts Such as sodium chloride (NaC I) is a vital nutrient. Salts trigger taste cells when sodium ions enter through ion channels on micro villi at the cell’s top and / or side’s surface. The accumulation of sodium ions causes an electrochemical change call depolarization that results in calcium (Ca++) ions entering the cell. The calcium, in turn, prompts the cell to release chemical signals called neurotransmitters from packets know as vesicles.
Neurons receive the message and convey a signal to the brain, Acids The taste of sour we can relate to with lemons or vinegar, the taste seems to of evolved to taste and discriminate against un-ripened fruit. Acids taste sour because the generate hydrogen ions (H+) in solution. Those ions act on a taste cell in three ways: by directly entering the cell; by blocking potassium ion (K+) channels on the micro villi; and by binding to and opening channels on the micro villi that allow other positive ions to enter the cell. The resulting accumulation of positive charges depolarizes the cell and leads to neurotransmitter release. Sweetness Sugar is a person’s energy; however, many people know artificial sweeteners taste sweet as well, but they are not a source of energy. The taste cells are triggered to change by the presence of sweet.
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The chemicals bind to the receptors on a taste cell’s surface that are coupled to molecules named G-proteins. This prompts the subunits of the G-protein: alpha; beta; and gamma, to split into alpha and beta-gamma. The enzyme beta-gamma that is activated by this process converts the cell to close potassium channels indirectly; the closing potassium reaction from the enzyme is dubbed a “second messenger.” Sweetness provides a strong impetus for the ingestion of carbohydrates. Taste signals also evoke physiological responses, such as the release of insulin, that aid in preparing the body to use the nutrients effectively. Bitter Bitter is the dominant taste sensation. Bitter is most often attributed to items like tannin, coffee, or quinine; furthermore, bitter taste is a well-known poison detector.
Bitters acts through G-protein occupied receptors and second messengers. In this instance, however, the second messengers cause the release of calcium ions from the endoplasmic reticulum. The resulting buildup of calcium in the cell leads to depolarization and neurotransmitter release. The bitter taste compounds all do not have similar structure. There is a wide variant between the compounds that aid sweet flavor or suppress them. Bitter is the most complex taste.
UmamiAmino acids such as glutamate, which stimulates the taste are known to bind to G-protein coupled receptors and to activate second messengers, however the intermediate steps are unknown. Umami is sometimes associated with a feeling of perfect quality in a taste, or of some special emotional circumstance in which a taste is experienced. Umami is also said to involve all the senses, not just that of taste. There is more than a suggestion of a spiritual or mystical quality about the word.
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(Levenson 1995; Margolskee, Smith 2001) Cite for Science of Flavors Section The ‘Specialness’ of Bitterness and Sweetness Out of the four main taste sensations bitter is the most complex; however, bitter has a partner in crime, sweet. There are certain well known compounds that are categorized as bitter are amino acids and peptides, esters and lactone’s, phenols and poly phenols, and terpenes, caffeine, saccharin, and (in) organic salts. The chemical and electrical mechanisms, the reactions to taste sensations display commonalities with bitter and sweet. Adam Drewnowski further in Nutrition Reviews (2001), “Small changes in chemical structure can convert bitter compounds to intensely sweet or vice versa.” As science has further investigates taste perception for the food industry even more commonalities are established. For instance: The perception of bitter and sweet tastes may share some common pathways. ‘I’s mall structural changes convert some compounds from bitter to sweet.
Ne hesperidin, a bitter, converts to neo hesperidin, an intense sweeter. By contrast, sucrose ester such as sucrose are intensely bitter. Saccharin and many intense sweetener have a bitter aftertaste, especially at high doses. (2001) Many food and beverage research kitchens are studying bitter and its ability in food and beverages.
Bitter has the ability to enhance sweet in beverages without actually adding more sweet. On the other hand, some bitter compounds actually suppress the sweet sensation. Tongue Myth Even to this present day the old-fashioned “Tongue Map” is misleading. The map shows large regional differences in sensitivity across the human tongue as one can see in figure 2.
These maps indicate that sweetness in detected by the taste buds on the tip of the tongue, sourness on the sides, bitterness at the back and saltiness along the edges. In reality, all qualities of taste can be elicited from al regions of the tongue that contain taste buds. Sensory information from taste cells is critical for helping us to detect and respond appropriately to needed nutrients, ie. Yen.
... would therefore contain harmful bacteria. Salt food is vital for the function of our cells. Bitter tastes are associated with plant chemicals that ... These make us sensitive to a range of taste qualities. For example, sweet foods are usually associated with carbohydrates that are a great ... to avoid food that makes them ill. This is a powerful mechanism that can help keep them alive. A research study by ...
(Margolskee, Smith 2001) Just as important as ingesting the appropriate nutrients is not ingesting harmful substances. The universal avoidance of intensely bitter molecules shows a strong link between taste and digest. Toxic compounds, such as strychnine and other common plant alkaloids, often have a strong bitter taste. In addition there is a universal avoidance of acid products.
(Margolskee, Smith 2001) Aging Taste Buds As everyone knows we grow old with age. Tall tale signs are ones like: losses of motor skills; loss of memory; loss of agility; and loss of taste. However, even though there is a deg ra dati on of the tongue’s taste buds ability to perceive, certain areas are affected more than others. For instance there is a significant decline in the ability to perceive bitter and salty tastes.
Consequently, their decline in tasting perception, when people age they have a tendency to wane over to more of a liking for bitter foods and beverages. (Drewnowski 2001) Early Flavors “Before they are even able to crawl, infants have learned much about their new sensory world,” Mennella and Beauchamp state in Nutrition Reviews (1998).
Infants are distinguishing from their sensations and discriminating with them at the same time. An infant’s earliest perceptions form very similar reactions to adults. However, there is an enormous expansion on the knowledge about breast-feeding. Olfactory perception with infants is goes follows; infants prefer unwashed breast, due to the odor emanating off the mother are calming and relaxing.
Mother’s milk is rich in all that she eats, and her infant does perceive the sense when nursing; consequently: The flavor world of breast-fed infants is potentially much richer than previously though. Because the chemical senses are not only functioning during infancy, but change during development, breast-fed infants may be afforded an opportunity to learn about the flavor of the foods of their people long before solids are introduced Food science has expanded upon an infant’s life and shown that babies actually know a lot more than most people think. The link of pleasurable foods is in order for humans to quickly learn what foods can be consumed. Men vs. Women For the most part men and women taste perceptions are approximately the same.
... down before it gets to cold. Sit down restaurant or fast food what would you prefer? Sitting down talking, ... time. Some people may think fast food compared to sit down restaurants are almost the same but they ... stomach.. To me having something fun at your restaurant is good it gives the place character and ... Taco Bell but Texas road house always fulfills my taste buds and its worth the money every time. ...
However, bitter is an underling category that women tend to dislike; Valerie Duffy and Linda Bartoshul’s study in American Dietetic Association (2000) show the proceeding results: o Women perceive more bitter Men and Women perceive and like sweetness approximately the same, unless paired with increasing bitterness then women tend to dislike o Men and Women perceive and like fatty items the same, unless paired with increasing bitterness then women tend to dislike The Need for Food Science There is an ever-growing need for food science, especially here in the United States. The ‘Melting Pot’ is a culture of many cultures. Consequently, there is a mass exposure to different substances; therefore, needs and wants are changing, specifically in the food industry, just about everyday. There has been an uprising of restaurant chain companies that are tackling the casual dining segment of the U. S. Therefore, these restaurants need to keep up with the trends and the consumers’ wants and needs; hence, food science is the path for the vast expanding casual dining chain market.
Jessica Gorman states in Science News (2001): As people work and travel more, for example, they demand a greater variety of prepared foods. Consumers also want some traditionally seasonal foods, such as strawberries, plums, asparagus, and lettuce to appear in grocery stores all year round. To make these products crispy, moist, and fresh tasting, even in the dead of winter, companies need to develop methods of producing and packaging them that retain their structural and textual properties. Food science has brought to the world researching food for mass consumption. There are questions about the public’s eating habits food scientists constantly investigate. o What does the tongue do? o What do the teeth do? o Does the mouth go up and down? o Which vegetables or fruits grown because they cook up better? o What is the best combination of the above? o What are consumer trends? o What are fine dining establishments venturing into? Most every detail of one putting a piece of food in one’s mouth is observed.
Everything must be covered in order to stay competitive in today’s market. The company that keeps up with the nation’s food trends will set them and make the first money. The Research Chef The dawn of food science and the creativity of a chef have once reluctantly avoided one another. However, in the United States age of ‘Melting Pot’ consumerism with the rate of change and expansion has brought upon the U. S. the research chef.
The kitchens of research chefs are quite similar to a la carte kitchens; however, there is unique cross between that and a science lab. There are heavy-duty mixers, salamanders-tools for browning as well as graduated cylinders, measuring cups, and scientific balances. (Crosby 2002) Research chefs are call upon to develop food for numerous places like restaurant chains, coffee shops, and food manufacturing companies. There is a unique combination of culinary training and food science within research chefs. As creative culinary chefs they can make their products taste good and be visually appealing; however, they can also incorporate food preservation mass production and technical terms used by scientists. (2002) Research chefs tap many different resources available to them and their creative expertise in order to continue their job services.
There is tremendous demand to contrive ideas from numerous sources. Research chefs’ use: o Customer survey so Suggestions Variations on recipe so Consumer trend so Fine dining establishment so Travel abroad Culinary Magazines Culinary Cookbooks Benefits of a research chef: o Earnings vary between $70, 000-$90, 000 o Standard business hour so Relaxed pace Chain restaurants are the usual scope for research chefs. All of the restaurant chains have research chefs, whether they are Applebee’s or Taco Bell. The new research chefs, needing the culinary background have the capability to marry science and technology. Subsequently, that is what the modern research chefs do.
Felicia Fuller states in Restaurants & Institutions (2003): There is a critical need for food scientists and chefs in the development of products or multiple units. There are challenges in formulation and engineering that are beyond the talents of even the best-trained culinary artists. On the other hand, chefs have the intuition, creativity and often the marketing know-how that most scientists do not. Each draws from the other’s strengths. Famous Research Chefs The concept of a research chef is still not widely known. However, there are many very successful chefs in the food science field.
They have made a name for the field and themselves. The food science field requires a common background of food science and culinary education. From there, the possibilities seem almost endless. Rick Crossland is a senior vice president of culinary and beverage development at Bahama Breeze. As many chain restaurants are doing to find their viable niche, they use research chefs to unfold the recipes that will work for them. After leaving T.
G. I. Friday’s vice president of R&D Crossland moved Bahama Breeze. There is working to bring the chain to a national level with the combination of cuisines. The combination of cuisine is from the Caribbean, which happens to be a collection of: Spanish, French, Dutch, English, Portuguese, West African, Indian and Asian. (Cavanaugh 2003) Crossland is always researching in varies of ways, whether they are from magazines, cookbooks or whenever he eats out.
The food science industry needs to keep up with the culinary trends. A very famous chef that just so happens has a degree in food science is the very recognizable Martin Yan from Yan Can Cook! Yan actually has numerous talents and capabilities like his TV personality, cooking teacher, cookbook author, research chef, food-industry and restaurant consultant and a restaurateur. Yan was born in Guangzhou, China and left for Hong Kong when he was 13 years of age. He moved to North America and earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in food science. Yan is not only a research chef by degree and practice he is a culinary one and he states, “Marry art and science, keep up with the trends, do market research, go out shopping and understand what is available out there and what is your competition before you even design a product” (Caldwell 2001).
Like many research chefs, Yan is now using his talents and knowledge in food science in the chain industry, opening up four Yan Can in California ten by late 2003.
The Food Art of Science The Research Chefs Association has renamed food science to a more proper fitting category, Culin ology: The New discipline in Food. Culinarian with science backgrounds are storming the food industry. The consuming nation that the U. S. has come to be is in ever needed of the culinary scientists. (Thorn 2002) The corporate food chain industry is a growing standard throughout the country, just as a start we have T.
G. I. Friday’s, Applebee’s, Taco Bell, Benni gans, Bahama Breeze and Olive Garden. Nation’s Restaurant New reports (2001): The need for better-quality prepared foods is 3-fold: 1. Americans know more about food than they did a decade ago and have higher standards. 2.
Restaurant chains, from fast food to fine dining, continue to expand. 3. Labor shortages for kitchen staff continue to hinder operators’ efforts to prepare all their foods in house. The most influential chefs are developing products that are mimicking what many of the top celebrity chefs are doing. The knowledge that these culinarian’s are receiving and the power that they have on such a vast market is phenomenal.
The food art of science is taking from, following and contributing to many different markets. Conclusion The science of flavors, culin ology has taken the restaurant segment of hospitality by storm. The science of what people like is indubitably going to be more of an expanding market. When more is discovered on human taste, future culin ologists will develop the next best thing. Chain restaurants are continuing to saturate the casual dining segment of the United States and succeeding. The scientific process that use appears to be a proven method and the consumer market will reap the benefits in many forms for many years References: Beauchamp, Gary; Mennella, Julie (July 1998) early flavor experiences: Research Update.
Nutrition Reviews Caldwell, Mary (Jan 2003) The NRN 50: R&D culinarian’s-Martin Yan. Nation’s Restaurant News Cavanaugh, Bonnie (Jan 2003) The NRN 50: R&D culinarian’s-Rick Crossland. Nation’s Restaurant News Crosby, Olivia (Fall 2002) You ” re a what? Research Chef. Occupational Outlook QuarterlyDrewnowski, Adam (June 2001) The Science and complexity of bitter taste. Nutrition Reviews Fuller, Felicia (March 2003) Artistry meets Technology.
Restaurants & Institutions Gorman, Jessica (Feb 2001) From Metal Bars to Candy bars: Materials scientist turn to what you ” re eating and how you eat it. Science News Levenson, Thomas (Jan 1995) Accounting for Taste. SciencesMargolskee, Robert (March 2001) Making Sense of Taste. Scientific American Nation’s Restaurant News.
(2001) The rise of Research Chefs. Thorn, Bret (June 2002) Mixing Food and Science a True Art. Nation’s Restaurant News.