Earning Stripes as Food Tasters

The Punk’s team road tripped to Charlottesville this week to meet with Chefs Dean and Erin Maupin for the final menu tasting. After two very productive days, we returned to Washington with a menu that has us really excited — we’ll post it here and on our website in the next few days.

Menu tasting is actually harder than it looks. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s not much better than tasting dish after delicious dish without having to cook or clean up. But tasting requires a lot of planning, calculation, and evaluation (not to mention a whole lot of self-moderation). And all this tasting work us thinking about professional food tasters.Obviously, you can’t just walk in off the street and start eating. Professional tasting takes specific and highly refined skills. “These people are trained, just like you train athletes,” said Fred Caporaso, who arranges tasting panels for companies as director of Chapman University’s Sensory Evaluation Laboratory in Orange, Calif. “You want someone with aptitude, whose tongue works a little bit better than average.”

Read the source article “Professional Food Tasters Eat and Drink for a Living” here.

In addition to his tasting skills, John Harrison, the “Official Ice Cream Taster” at Edy’s, uses a gold spoon for tasting, because apparently wood and plastic spoons leave an aftertaste. (I’m not exactly sure why Harrison jumps right from plastic and wood to gold.)

In addition to food tasters for products like ice cream and chocolate, there are also professional pet food tasters since pet food companies learned that dogs don’t give particularly descriptive feedback. And for those interested in a food tasting career but prefer not to wear lab coats, I thought I’d share an excerpt from an ad for a personal food taster originally posted on Craigslist back in 2003:

“I need a foodtaster right away…I am allergic to everything! I am a SWM 30 and a lawyer who has allergies like none other! If I taste a peanut I die. If I taste peanut oil…I die. Get the picture? I need you to be my personal foodtaster. I always eat out so I need you all the time. well, only when I am eating.”

Read the full (hilarious) ad here – definitely worth it.


One thought on “Earning Stripes as Food Tasters

  1. Pingback: The Punk’s Blog in 2010… « Punk's Backyard Grill

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