Food Flavourist Sophia Ranjani Shares The Delectable Details Of Her Profession
- IWB Post
- July 24, 2019
While only a handful of people know that you can actually be professional food flavourists, if you really think about it, it is actually the profession that makes all our worlds go round. Food flavourists are the people who infuse magic into our processed food by adding it with just the right kind of flavour.
Sophia Ranjani is one such food flavourist who is bringing taste to our lives. She specialises in brown flavours like butterscotch, chocolate caramel, and hazelnut.
If you are one of those smitten by the lip-smacking flavour of Maggi peri peri hotheads then Sophia is one of those you should be thanking. “Peri Peri was first introduced in India in McDonald’s outlets. Soon, we got requests from clients to develop a similar flavour with an Indian touch to it. The flavour consisted mainly of garlic, lemon and chilly. We improvised on the taste and after close to 15-20 trials, we tasted success,” she shared in an interaction with The News Minute.
Sophia holds a masters degree in food technology and is currently working with Mane, a French flavour and fragrance manufacturer. “I am a complete foodie and I love trying different cuisines. I have always had a good palate and over the years, I learned to refine my ability to taste. I think it’s my enduring affair with food that helped me land in this little-known profession,” she says.
Sophia shares that food flavourists spend hours and hours in laboratories to bring back the aroma that the food loses during processing. “Many of the products you consume have added flavours, such as beverages, yogurts and candies. During processing, procedures like heat-treatment cause food to lose its aroma. We help the food get back its lost aroma, as consumers like food that smells good,” she explains.
As intriguing as it is, the profession involves a lot of precision and hard work. People from different places and different age groups perceive food differently and it’s the job of the food flavourist to tap the stated requirements and create a flavour accordingly.
Sophia explains, “There are a hundred different tastes to a single flavour. For example, your client can find the same mango juice you found amazingly delicious to be bland and tasteless. The pizza seasoning that you found to be extra spicy would be perfect for your client’s taste buds. So, we usually ask them for samples and specifications to know what exactly the food matrix should be.”
She adds, “For a child, a strawberry will have a strong, intense taste. We will even add some raspberry or vanilla notes to underline its candy aspect. But for an adult woman, we’ll look for the fresh sensation of a fruit that has just been picked.”
Further dwelling into the nuances of her job, Sophia shares, “Flavourists develop synthetic flavours that can give the exact taste and flavour. They are made through chemical synthesis, but they are chemically identical to a substance that exists in nature. Synthetic flavours reduce the cost and bring aromatic intensity to food.”
Would you believe it if I tell you that some of the vanilla or orange flavored goodies that you eat, don’t contain even an iota of either vanilla or orange? “Because if there had to be vanilla extract in every vanilla product consumed in the world, well, there simply wouldn’t be enough vanilla in this world,” Sophia explains.
Sometimes I wonder what would life be like had it not been food. Is there a joy bigger than the burst of flavors each time a lays chip takes over your palette? Well, I’d certainly thank food flavourists along with my food Gods next time I have one.
H/T: The News Minute.