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September 23, 2010 Meeting

September 15, 2010

In his talk, Can Food Pairing Save the World? Bernard Lahousse will discuss how a combination of local products can replace foods and beverages that have a high carbon footprint. Most flavors are not unique to one food product. Rather, it is the right combination of flavor molecules that make up a basil, orange, or meat flavor. This means that almost every food product can be replaced by a combination of other products. Already the founder of Sense for Taste—the organization behind Foodpairing and The Flemish Primitives, an avant-garde cooking event in Belgium—he will launch his new site, carbonfoodprint.be, live at the meeting, focusing on how to replace oranges in areas where they are not local.

With a master’s degree in bio-engineering and intellectual property rights, Bernard Lahousse makes it his life’s work to ponder the intersections of food and science. He has worked as a research and development manager at several food companies, and as a consultant for innovation processes for various global enterprises. Lahousse’s passion for food and innovation has also lead him, along with Johan Langenbick and Peter Coucquyt, to start the Belgian-based food research company Sense for Taste in 2009. The company’s mission is to develop methodologies to support chefs in their creativity and create tools for the food industry to develop more efficient food products.

In 2007, at Lo Major de la Gastronomia in San Sebastián, Lahousse launched the interactive website http://www.foodpairing.be. The site features easy-to-follow graphs, known as “foodpairing trees,” with branches of other foods that share common basic flavor profiles on a molecular level. Its purpose to help inspire chefs and anyone interested in food to experiment with new combinations. The site was met with immediate success and has evolved into a useful tool for chefs and mixologists alike. In 2009, Lahousse organized a Foodpairing event, called The Flemish Primitives, in Belgium where several of the world’s greatest chefs, including Peter Goossens, Sergio Herman, Heston Blumenthal, and Albert Adrià, discussed how they use the Foodpairing concept as a vision for their own creations.

Lahousse puts his bio-engineering degree to good use as the company’s science director. Sense for Taste is currently working on a portfolio of several new food technologies that will enable the food industry and chefs to make better tasting all-natural products.

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