Umami, kokumi and undeniable richness
Bridging the gap between convenience and authenticity is no easy matter. At the Givaudan’s Chef’s Council Hong Kong in 2010 we challenged a group of world renowned chefs to focus on two key attributes in savoury taste: umami and kokumi. The objective? Translating the flavour experience of rich, authentically prepared food into everyday consumer products.
The event was designed around developing a deeper understanding of umami and kokumi elements and how these tastes are presented in cuisines from around the world. From start to finish consideration was given on making the translation into flavours in a variety of foodservice concepts, snacks and ready meals.
Our team of world-renowned chefs brought to life their ideas and insights from techniques and recipes through cooking demonstrations and thoughtful explanation. This was followed by tasting and analysis of each dish by Givaudan chefs and extended regional teams – from base-line control samples to those with added umami and then kokumi creations. The sampled dishes included different cuts of cooked beef, smoked vegetables, pasta and noodle recipes, bouillons and snacks.
The Givaudan’s Chef’s Council Hong Kong guest chefs included:
Alex Atala (D.O.M. Restaurant) São Paulo, Brazil
Alvin Leung (Bo Innovation) Hong Kong, China
Jordi Roca (El Celler de Can Roca) Girona, Spain
Paul Virant (Vie Restaurant and Perennial Virant) Chicago, USA
One of the five basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter, salty. Umami is described as savoury taste and is characteristic of stocks, fonds, broths and cooked meats.
Japanese term used to describe a desirable taste attribute in slow cooked dishes. Kokumi goes beyond the effects of taste of salt and umami more to body, thickness, lingering, hearty, rich, delicious
A good illustration of how Givaudan’s Chef’s Council can trigger an avenue of research and product development is the groundbreaking innovation that came out of this event. We set out to better understand the two Japanese culinary concepts of ‘umami’ and ‘kokumi’ and their relevance to cuisines globally. After the event, we went through the findings in order to explore these concepts of richness in greater depth. Ultimately, this led to our launch of TasteSolutions® Richness.
Richness is brought about through a complex blend of taste and aroma components working in harmony to provide a soothing, succulent and desirable taste profile. The Givaudan’s Chef’s Council allowed us to develop Richness technologies and products to close the gap between authentic home cooking and the taste experience at shelf.