It Takes a Village…of ChefsAccording to the Research Chefs Association (RCA), “Culinology®,” a term they coined, “will become the universally recognized integration of culinary arts with foods science and technology, and its practitioners will define the future of food.” This fast-growing discipline is indeed “on the rise,” which was also the theme of the 2007 RCA Annual Conference and Tradeshow.

Look no further for the emergence of culinology than to one of the largest flavor and fragrance companies in the world--International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF). IFF employs and grooms top chefs in their CulinEssence™ program. As raw material suppliers and food development companies have switched from focusing on the ingredients to providing service and consulting in the development of recipes and formulations--in essence, application development--CulinEssence is promoted as a “creative combination of cutting-edge flavor technology and global culinary arts that takes food to a new level, by delivering authentic global culinary taste for customers’ food products.” 

Acting as the global leader of IFF’s CulinEssence team is master chef, Florian Webhofer. Chef Webhofer has been with IFF since 1988, originally as an applications specialist in its Hilversum Flavors Creative Center, after gaining experience with some of the most famous restaurants in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Chef Webhofer has also prepared dinners for royal families and has won many gold medals in Europe, at the Chefs’ Olympics and in Canada. He earned his master chef VDK in Germany in 1977 and SVH in Holland in 1985. Today, in his role with the CulinEssence team, he continues to take sabbaticals with many of the world’s finest and most innovative chefs, such as Ferran Adria and Heston Bluemental.

The CulinEssence team blends chefs from wide backgrounds to create a synergistic team that can handle today’s emerging trends in food. For example, certified research chef David Horrocks specializes in this CulinEssence team as a “Power Food” developer. As he is armed with a specialty in culinary nutrition, he has an unusual ability to link food science with the culinary arts and handles products with challenging parameters in the South Brunswick, N.J., IFF facility.

Executive chef Kevin McDermott, on the other hand, brings a strict culinary perspective to the world of flavor technology. He is well-suited for the current trends in natural foods, as his passions are shared between food and nature. For example, chef McDermott says, “In my off-hours, I enjoy fishing and gardening. Even when I am relaxing, however, I am thinking about how to prepare my catch-of-the-day or freshly-harvested vegetables from the garden.” He wants to share this passion for the freshness of food with a wider audience, and IFF is the vehicle, as its reach is worldwide with sales, manufacturing and creative facilities in 30 countries.

As an example of how customers utilize IFF’s CulinEssence team, a current recipe for Buckwheat Sour Dough Crepes with Wild Mushroom Filling was featured at the 2008 RCA meeting. “This recipe marries yogurt with the savory flavors of mushrooms and garlic. Though not unheard of in many world cuisines, it is still unusual in the U.S. We bring some of these more unusual concepts to our customers to show how even unexpected flavor combinations can be delicious and accepted by the consumer,” says CulinEssence chef McDermott.
--Kerry Hughes, Contributing Editor

For more information:
International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. * New York, N.Y.
Carol Brys * 212-708-7121 **

Buckwheat Sour Dough Crepe with Wild Mushroom Filling
Method of preparation:
Combine dry ingredients and sift. Add liquid ingredients and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate one hour before cooking and then cook in a non-stick pan on both sides until slightly browned.

For the wild mushroom filling: Cook mushrooms in hot olive oil until browned. Cook in batches, so as to not overload pan. Sauté minced shallots and garlic in olive oil; combine with cooked mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper and herbs.

Assembly: Spread herb-flavored Greek yogurt on the crepe. Top with warmed mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with seasoned garlic breadcrumbs. Roll in cylinder shape and cut on a bias and serve.
Source: IFF CulinEssense™