the definition of taste

  3 min

expert opinion

peter-klosse-1.jpg

The definition of taste

Moniek de Jongh Xiao Er Kong

What’s the anatomy of a successful dish? How do you create successful combinations between food and drink? And in what way do you properly explain the taste of a dish to your guests? Professor Peter Klosse knows everything about taste. In 2004 Klosse obtained her PHD on the subject of taste styles. He became a doctor of health sciences and has since been known as a 'taste professor'. He is a man with a mission: “The traditional way of thinking around taste holds us back”. A couple of quotes explained.

Three quotes by taste professor Peter Klosse, explained

“Two concepts are central to gastronomy: a product's taste, and our perception of that taste. Products have taste and a person tastes. “If you perceive both as something human and personal there is no arguing about the definition of taste. But that’s precisely what’s prevented gastronomy from developing as a science over the past 2,500 years.”

Taste is a product characteristic, just like color. Something that is objective, measurable and feasible. “That makes chefs, winemakers and beer brewers into tastemakers. They use preparation techniques and processes to accurately achieve the taste they want.” Scientifically, taste is the actual effect that different types of molecules have on our sense of taste. But people also form a perception of the things they taste.

“The assumption that taste is something personal has obstructed our way of thinking for centuries”

schaduw-boom2.jpg

“Tasting is a multisensory perception”

“Everyone knows the so-called basic tastes - sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami - but the term basic tastes is actually wrong. They aren't basic flavors at all, they have a supporting role in the whole taste experience. A more correct description is "gustatory flavors", which are the flavors that are tasted with the taste buds on the tongue.

Tasting - perceiving and interpreting taste - involves all the senses. Also volatile aromas that are perceived with the nose and especially the mouth feel (textures) have a major influence on taste, and ultimately the taste experience. And hearing - crunch and crispiness are linked to freshness - and sight - an attractive presentation counts - indirectly also influence the experience of taste.

Those who are concerned with taste would do well by delving into questions around why we eat what we eat. We eat for two reasons: out of biological necessity and for pleasure. Control and saturation take place in two different areas of our brain. These centers also pass the final verdict; delicious or gross.

“We can assume that 'tastyness' is an evolutionarily and biological way to lure people to the nutrients they need: sweet, salty, fat (energy) and umami (proteins and amino acids), and keeping them away from things that can harm us: bitter (poisonous). Enjoyment is not important here, it is about survival. Sight and the sense of smell are also important for that primary function of liking and not liking.”

The place in our brain where the perception of taste takes place, is the area joy and rewards are created. The substance in our brain that does that, is dopamine. Dopamine gives a pleasant feeling that’s addictive. Food can also be addictive. The western world today has an abundance of safe food: we now base our food choices on what is the most delicious. The big challenge for the future will be how we manage our food intake, by ourselves - with the continued abundance and risk of addiction.

“Our reward mechanisms are evolutionary.”

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  3 min

The definition of taste

Moniek de Jongh Xiao Er Kong

What’s the anatomy of a successful dish? How do you create successful combinations between food and drink? And in what way do you properly explain the taste of a dish to your guests? Professor Peter Klosse knows everything about taste. In 2004 Klosse obtained her PHD on the subject of taste styles. He became a doctor of health sciences and has since been known as a 'taste professor'. He is a man with a mission: “The traditional way of thinking around taste holds us back”. A couple of quotes explained.

schaduw-boom.jpg (copy)

“Two concepts are central to gastronomy: a product's taste, and our perception of that taste. Products have taste and a person tastes. “If you perceive both as something human and personal there is no arguing about the definition of taste. But that’s precisely what’s prevented gastronomy from developing as a science over the past 2,500 years.”

Taste is a product characteristic, just like color. Something that is objective, measurable and feasible. “That makes chefs, winemakers and beer brewers into tastemakers. They use preparation techniques and processes to accurately achieve the taste they want.” Scientifically, taste is the actual effect that different types of molecules have on our sense of taste. But people also form a perception of the things they taste.

“The assumption that taste is something personal has obstructed our way of thinking for centuries”

schaduw-boom2.jpg

“Tasting is a multisensory perception”

“Everyone knows the so-called basic tastes - sour, sweet, salty, bitter and umami - but the term basic tastes is actually wrong. They aren't basic flavors at all, they have a supporting role in the whole taste experience. A more correct description is "gustatory flavors", which are the flavors that are tasted with the taste buds on the tongue.

Tasting - perceiving and interpreting taste - involves all the senses. Also volatile aromas that are perceived with the nose and especially the mouth feel (textures) have a major influence on taste, and ultimately the taste experience. And hearing - crunch and crispiness are linked to freshness - and sight - an attractive presentation counts - indirectly also influence the experience of taste.

Those who are concerned with taste would do well by delving into questions around why we eat what we eat. We eat for two reasons: out of biological necessity and for pleasure. Control and saturation take place in two different areas of our brain. These centers also pass the final verdict; delicious or gross.

“We can assume that 'tastyness' is an evolutionarily and biological way to lure people to the nutrients they need: sweet, salty, fat (energy) and umami (proteins and amino acids), and keeping them away from things that can harm us: bitter (poisonous). Enjoyment is not important here, it is about survival. Sight and the sense of smell are also important for that primary function of liking and not liking.”

The place in our brain where the perception of taste takes place, is the area joy and rewards are created. The substance in our brain that does that, is dopamine. Dopamine gives a pleasant feeling that’s addictive. Food can also be addictive. The western world today has an abundance of safe food: we now base our food choices on what is the most delicious. The big challenge for the future will be how we manage our food intake, by ourselves - with the continued abundance and risk of addiction.

“Our reward mechanisms are evolutionary.”

peterklosse.jpg

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