Umami, Kokumi, FlavourVision™

ChefsCouncil™ Hong Kong 2010 provides a forum for world-renowned chefs to collaborate and share knowledge with Givaudan's own chefs – to inspire forward-thinking ideas, profile targets and customer concepts for Umami, Kokumi and FlavourVision™. During the course of the ChefsCouncil™, Givaudan's chefs collaborate with world-renowned guest chefs to explore the global 'gold standard' Umami and Kokumi tastes relating to ingredient discovery and flavour creation. By preparing a variety of dishes featuring Umami and Kokumi, we are able to gather actionable ideas for designing and promoting Umami- or Kokumi-rich flavours and applications.

The tastes of sweet, sour, bitter and salty have been accepted for hundreds of years. Only in the 1980s was a fifth taste fully accepted: Umami. A Japanese term which literally translates as 'delicious taste', it is a traditional, natural Japanese stock (dashi) which uses kombu (seaweed) as a key ingredient. These days, the term Umami is used to describe the enhancing effect of other naturally occurring taste enhancers rather than MSG specifically. Through ChefsCouncil™, we discover and demonstrate how Umami appears in indigenous ingredients and dishes across cultures and cuisine types.

Literally translated from the Japanese to mean rich (koku) taste (mi), Kokumi is a taste sensation which is generated from a complex mix of ingredients that work in harmony with each other to provide balance and richness. There are a number of ways in which Kokumi can be created: slow cooking of stocks from bone or meat and stews are rich in Kokumi; and gradual maturation, curing and drying processes generate highly complex tastes over time. In the same way that the reduction and drying process causes complex interactions between ingredients, the processes of roasting, searing, confit and braising can also create Kokumi.

FlavourVision™ is Givaudan’s global trends programme which offers us important culinary insights on flavour trends. Through these, we explore cultural, consumer and food and beverage influences that shape the future of the flavour horizon. During the course of the ChefsCouncil™, the external chefs discuss and demonstrate the use of the top five savoury trend flavours and pairings. We explore why they are special, why they are popular and how they are being used in savoury dishes of beef and chicken. This discovery and insight relating to flavour trends will help us drive the FlavourVision™ 2011 programme.