• Tastehead

OUR PODCAST HAS LAUNCHED!

We are delighted to share the news that our podcast, Brand New Taste has now launched and you can listen and subscribe now!



This is a podcast for people working in food and drink BRANDS, looking at NEW product development, innovation and marketing, and understanding how TASTE is vital for success.


Brandt and Micah love nothing more than sharing their passion with people and brands that can genuinely benefit from their expertise. Having developed hundreds of successful products for leading brands such as Green & Black's, Cawston Press, Heinz, New Covent Garden, Waitrose and well over 100 ambitious startups. They both have a unique blend of product development and marketing experience, whilst sharing an obsession for all things 'taste' and believe that food and drink should never be style over substance. In these episodes, Micah and Brandt share their knowledge, insights and stories from their careers that will hopefully guide and inspire marketeers, founders, sales people and many others to achieve greater success for their business.


Brand New Taste is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and a few other platforms. We hope you give it a listen, and please let us know your thoughts and any suggestions on how we can improve future episodes.


If you do enjoy the episodes, the biggest thing you could do to help us out is give us a follow on one of the podcast apps, a quick review, and share it with anyone who you feel might be interested - we’d greatly appreciate it!


New episodes out every other Thursday. Please consider subscribing so that you never miss one!


Look out for our first special guest, a genuine VIP in the industry, with a story and advice you'll not want to miss!



You can listen by following the above links on your preferred platform and there is a transcript of the first episode below.





Transcript

Episode One, Always Start With Taste

Hosts: Brandt Maybury and Micah Carr-Hill


Brandt

So, Micah, hello, episode one, here we are.

Micah

Indeed, we are, yes.

Brandt

Very excited. I can see you're struggling to contain your excitement.

Micah

Well, you know what I'm like. I'm a very excitable. Like a little puppy.

Brandt

Indeed. Indeed, it's fair to say we've been talking about doing this for a while. We've even been attempting to do it for a while. I'm not going to say which attempt number this is exactly. But here we are. We wanted to wait until we felt we were in a position where we could do it well, do it properly, keep it going. And so, after five years of working together at Tastehead, we think now is the time!

Micah

Shall we say thank you to someone first?

Brandt

We probably should.

Brandt

Nat, who is the lovely voice that you'd have just heard introducing this episode and future episodes, Nat’s our Business Development manager. Bit of a legend...

Micah

Very much so, yeah.

Brandt

So thank you, Nat. Really appreciate you helping us out with that.

Brandt

We should probably introduce ourselves next.

Micah

That is a very good idea. I'm glad you said that.

Brandt

OK, so I am Brandt, co-founder and Managing Director of Tastehead. A bit about my background. I was a chef for many years, entered the world of product development as a development chef at a number of bakery sites. Started working at Green & Black’s chocolate in 2013. That’s where I had the pleasure of meeting you, Micah, and since then we started Tastehead the food and beverage development agency in 2017.

Brandt

How about you?

Micah

So I'm Micah. I am Development Director and co-founder of Tastehead. I actually started in the wine industry many years ago. I've got my WSET diploma and still love wine, but I had a sort of epiphany and I got really into food science, so did a degree in that and, since then I've been in food development, from New Covent Garden Soup company through Whole Earth Foods, Green & Black’s, Cawston Press who I still work for and Tastehead, obviously we set up five years ago, which was all your pleasure.

Brandt

Yeah, an interesting ride it's been... So, should we perhaps just explain what our podcast is going to be about as well, just as this is the first episode, kind of tee up what to expect from us?

Micah

Yeah. So, we're going to be talking about what we do; we do innovation in the food and beverage industry and we're going to give our expertise and our learnings over the last five years, more than the last five years, the last five years at Tastehead - but I don't know how many years...thirty years for me and wine, in food and wine, and similar for you.

Brandt

Not thirty years.

Micah

No, not thirty years for you. No, you're a young man.

Brandt

I'm not the seasoned professional than you are.

Micah

Yes, but that's what we're going to do in this podcast...but what are we going to do in this episode? What are we going to kick off with Brandt?

Brandt

So, this episode we are going to focus on taste because with what you said, very much we are going to be talking about innovation -that's the heart of what we do. But I think it's fair to say that we feel we have quite a unique insight and expertise in that we are product developers, we work in innovation, we've both worked as part of marketing teams at Green & Black’s and yourself at Cawston Press. So, we have quite a lot of marketing experience and also the reason we clicked so well together when we started working at Green & Black’s was because we are genuinely passionate about taste. Sounds daft, but there are so many product developers and food scientists who when you see what they do outside of work? It wouldn't, you know, give you the impression that they do genuinely care about, taste and food.

Micah

Well, it's more, I suppose it's not their passion as well necessarily, and there's nothing wrong with that. They might be into golf or collecting little ornaments or something, but what we do when we're outside working in food and drink, is that we just consume it or we make it, and cook it and you know, it's our life.

Brandt

And we're obsessed about taste. We're not really interested in style over substance. If we go to a restaurant, it's nice having a foam of something and a tuile of something else, but you and I are very much aligned on ‘it's got to be delicious;’ it's got to be moreish and in the retail product sector that is often missed or overlooked. It's why we feel we've had the success that we have because we've worked with marketing teams and sales teams to bridge the gap, I guess, between innovation, marketing and taste sort of running throughout that. So, this episode is very much going to focus on that.

Micah

So, Brandt, why is taste such an important factor in innovation? What are we trying to achieve in this episode?

Brandt

Well, you would hope that it's fairly obvious that taste is one of, if not the most important factor of any food or beverage product, especially when it comes to repeat purchase. Your branding and packaging are going to do the hard work of getting that initial sale, but if you want people to come back to try the product again and again, your taste has got to be at least at expectations or obviously exceed expectations, of course.

Micah

Yeah, I agree, always this is the case. You see something, a brightly packaged new food or drink; happens to me all the time. Crisps particularly, I see a new snack, I buy it and you know if it doesn't perform, then that's the last time I buy it, but there are a few that I go back to again and again.

Brandt

Yeah, and given that that's the case, it then surprises us that a lot of people in the industry who are the decision makers as to which product gets launched, which recipe gets signed off, don't have the training, they might be marketeers, might be the founder of a brand. And so I think what we want to try and achieve with this episode is to offer our insights, how we approach taste throughout the innovation process and hopefully empower people to have more confidence. I think that's the key thing for me. How often do you go into a tasting session, and someone says oh, just to let you know, I'm not very good at tasting and usually its nonsense. They're usually plenty capable of being able to taste things effectively. It's just that they don't have the training, they don't have an approach. I think we see an over reliance on focus groups and consumer testing, which isn't always a great idea.

Micah

No, I agree. I mean, obviously you know the consumer groups, they're not trained tasters and what that means is they can give misleading results or results that are relevant to a certain degree, but you should never make a decision wholly based on that, and you know I think the other thing that is important is when new starters start in a company, in my experience, whether its Tastehead or Cawston Press or in the past Green & Black’s, get those new starts in and give them quite a brief tasting in a way about that product, getting to know that product and why it tastes like that. Now you’ve got to repeat this process. It's not a one off, but it's really important.

Brandt

Yeah, I think the sales teams in particular, we've spent a lot of time with sales teams educating them because they're in a position where they've got to sell this product in, literally to the trade, to their key customers and they often don't know where to start because they're not given materials, they're not given any training and so they don't have the confidence and as soon as they do... we've had so much good feedback over the years. If they feel empowered and feel that it really helps to, you know, give them an edge, it makes a difference.

Micah

Exactly. They can, or they might have sheets, sale sheets that say, you know, this product has these sorts of tastes and so forth, but unless they're doing it with someone who has expertise in it, and they can ask questions about it as well, that is, I think, really important.

Brandt

So where do we start then, Micah, what's the first topic that we are going to dive into with this?

Micah

So, the first one we're going to dive into is taste versus flavour.

Brandt

Surely, they're the same thing, Micah.

Micah

Well, it's funny you should say that 'cause they're not. A lot of people will talk about the taste of something and that is an all-encompassing word or phrase that does mean both taste and flavour often, but when you strip them down, taste is about what's on the pallet. So salt, sweet, bitter, acid, umami, which is the savoury taste, then everything else that we perceive is actually an aroma or a flavour. Now we used to do this thing so often at Green & Blacks’, didn't we?

Brandt

The pinch your nose trick? Yeah, hundreds of times, if not thousands. And if you want to try this whilst listening to the podcast, pause the episode here, go and get a piece of chocolate or a packet of crisps or a biscuit or or anything at all, and join in, because what we do is we ask people to take a sample and let's use chocolate as the example. Let’s use white chocolate, which is often seen as being boring, not having much flavour, etc. So, it's a good example of why to use this. Pinch your nose, place the chocolate into your mouth and start to eat it and see what you can detect. I think it's important to say please keep breathing through your mouth while you're eating.

Micah

Yeah, I think it's really important that people don't pass out...listen to the rest of the episode, otherwise they just don't remember it...

Brandt

So yeah, and as you're eating the chocolate if you've got your nose pinched properly, you should be able to detect that it's sweet but you shouldn't really be getting much else. You kind of get that it's creamy, but that's more of a texture thing. It's when you ask people to release their nose and take a deep breath, you get this sudden wave of Madagascan vanilla, some very light caramelization notes from how the chocolate is made, even potentially some delicate notes from the cocoa butter, and that's because taste is what's detected on the tongue, which is your 5 tastes sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, and flavour is detected by the olfactory gland in the nasal passage. So, when you're eating your foods and chewing them in your mouth, these volatile compounds are going up through the back of your throat into your nasal cavity, and it's giving you the perception that you're tasting them in your mouth. But it's actually linked to your sense of smell.

Micah

I did exactly that trick on the Martha Stewart show in the US.

Brandt

I remember.

Micah

Yes, and I tell you what. I wowed everyone!

Brandt

Of course!

Micah

The other thing that some people might have heard is the phrase, supertasters. You know what are supertasters? Are they great tasters?

Brandt

I wouldn't want to be a supertaster.

Micah

Explain why...

Brandt

Because the only difference with a supertaster is the sensitivity to bitterness, so it doesn't mean that you're any better at tasting.

Micah

I love bitter. Does that mean I'm not a supertaster?

Brandt

I think it does, lucky for you.

Micah

OK.

Brandt

So yes, you want to ideally not be a supertaster 'cause there's there's nothing particularly super about being more sensitive to bitter.

Micah

And does that make a supertaster a good objective taster, then.

Brandt

No. Because they do not represent the majority of the population.

Micah

So it's a bit misleading.

Brandt

Very much so. Not so supertasters.

Micah

Not so super - rubbish tasters let's call them, to rename them!

Brandt

Absolutely. And following on from that, do you want to explain the difference Micah, of why understanding the difference between taste and flavour is so important?

Micah

It's so important to understand the difference. So when you're tasting something and when we're developing something, you can sort of split them up and you can look at them differently.

Micah

The reason why you need to do that is that you need to balance them. So you need to balance the tastes so that the salt, sweet, bitter, if you have all those, the acidity if you've got it, sometimes you might even have the umami, you don't always have all all 5 tastes there. And it's always good to get those right, because they're the sort of structure, the base of it. Then you've got the flavours, so for instance if you've got, especially if you've more than one flavour, you want to balance those, so one doesn't dominate and then once you've got those - you sort of do this all at the same time, but it's worth understanding how you almost need to separate them in your mind because then you've got the tastes and flavours and you need those to balance as well, so the taste to balance, the flavours to balance and everything to balance together.

Brandt

And really, for me, that's the key. For a food or drink being moreish for it to be delicious, it's having what makes your mouth water its that balance of sweetness and acidity.

Brandt

And I've seen it, especially when I was a chef years ago. In restaurants you would see people developing recipes, creating dishes and if they weren't quite happy enough with the with the taste, they would think the answer was throwing some more herbs and throw in some more spices and just keep adding flavour and actually, more often than not, you end up with these convoluted recipes that just get a bit confusing and weird. It's just it's all about balancing the taste, the flavour all together. That's when food becomes delicious.

Micah

Yeah, I mean, so how often do we say to people, right, you need to add a bit more salt, you need to add some acidity, that might be a bit of vinegar, it might be a bit of lemon juice, it might be, you know, if you don't want the flavour, it might just be a bit of citric acid or malic acid or something like that, but it's so important.

Brandt

Yeah, the type of acidity, that's a big one, yeah. So there's a lot to unpack here. We won't be able to get into all of it.

Micah

Yeah, it's so important. A good example I think of something that is arguably, in balance when it's in a good state and where it goes out of balance is something like coke. Coke is pretty sweet, but has quite a lot of acidity there as you know, has the acidity that's added to it anyway, but it also has the carbonic acid, which comes from the addition of carbon dioxide. So you've got that balance of sweetness and acidity and the caramel flavours, and the spice and so forth. Now, if you let that coke go flat, you're losing the carbonic acid 'cause as the carbon dioxide dissipates, you get that a lack of or that lower acidity- higher pH and so what happens there? It just seems overly sweet.

Brandt

And you lose that bite I think everyone can relate to how different fizzy coke versus flat coke tastes. So that's classic example of nothing really changes with the flavour, but the change in the taste makes something very nice - bit sweet, but still nice. I do like a red Coke now and again - has to be the red Coke.

Micah

Yeah, I’m a red Coke man, I like to call it proper coke.

Brandt

Yeah, so it takes that from being very nice to something that most people just would not drink when it's flat. It's such a big change. I think another good example, if you take something like confectionery and you're developing a lemon candy or a lemon gummy. We worked on the Tasty Mates project recently and a big part of that was making sure you have the acidity there for these fruity flavours and it's got to be the correct of amount of acidity, correct type of acidity. Otherwise, when you get fruit flavours, if you take something like lemon let's say, you could have the best Sicilian lemon oil in the world. It's got these pithy notes, these zesty notes, the fruity notes. If it's not got the acidity there, it just doesn't come to life, it almost seems artificial and quite unpleasant.

Micah

Yeah, and you need citric acid in that sense -it's a citrus fruit. If you had something like an apple or rhubarb, you'd use malic acid because that's the driving acid naturally in that fruit if you put the wrong acidity and it tastes a bit weird, and sometimes you don't know why it tastes weird, but that's the reason why you've got to use the natural acidity that occurs with that fruit or whatever it is.

Brandt

Yeah, you often see people just add citric acid to everything, but there's so many other acids to look at, and sometimes it's combination as well - as it naturally in active fruit.

Micah

Yeah, of course. Exactly.

Brandt

So, we've got taste, we've got flavours. It's fair to say there is something else as well called trigeminal effects. This is the heat of chilli, the heat of ginger, the cooling effect of mint. These aren't tastes or flavours, they're detected by the trigeminal nerve in your mouth, and they're equally important.

Micah

The burn of alcohol...

Brandt

The burn of alcohol is a very good example, that’s why in the lower no alcohol category it's....beers are pretty good. I think wines and cocktails are getting better, into the spirit side of things there's some products there that are kind of best in class, but they're still so far away from an actual whiskey origin, and it's like, how do you replicate that bite that? That's such an important part.

Micah

It's such a burn, but it's also it gives it a weight as well, like sugar gives weight to a drink. So it does these things that are textures in the mouth as well as trigeminal effects.

Brandt

Yeah, and you see people will try to replace the burn of alcohol with pepper or ginger or chilli and it's not the same really.

Micah

It's not the same...

Brandt

They're accumulative the ginger and the chilli etc and they tend to build as well on the palette as you're eating them and over time they increase as well, whereas alcohol it's that sudden burn that then dissipates.

Micah

Yeah, another one that's always interesting is tannins. Which you know is that puckering in the mouth, it's astringency, it's a drying effect also. You get it with tea, you get it with red wine, chocolate, and but often people get that confused with and sometimes acidity, sometimes they call it bitterness. So it's good to understand these different flavours. This is what we're trying to hopefully get across is understand the difference between them?

Brandt

Yeah. And some of these things, like astringency might sound like, they're bad things - and they can be if there's too much of them, but actually, for a lot of products, you want a certain amount of them to be balanced.

Micah

Cuts through, doesn't it?

Brandt

Exactly.

Micah

So now we have all these insights into what's going on with all our senses. What's going to happen next? I mean, let's imagine the listener is either joining a tasting or even putting a tasting together. Where they're going to start?

Brandt

First of all, you need a plan. You don't want to be going into a tasting session cold, and I don't just mean putting a jumper on. I mean have a plan, sit down and think about it, have some clear objectives. What is it that you're looking for now, first of all, why are you doing the tasting session? Is it for new product developments? Is it existing product development? Is it quality control? Is it benchmarking? There's lots of different reasons why you might be having a tasting session. Once you've identified that, what is it that you're tasting in terms of the category? Every product will typically have flaws that are unique to that category. So, in chocolate it could be improper roasting or fermentation of the...

Micah

And that for quality control is very important, knowing the flaws.

Brandt

Absolutely yeah, in coffee it could be over roasting of the beans, in bakery, it could be too much raising agent giving soapiness. So, depending on the products, you'll have flaws that you want to be aware of and to look out for, so identify those first of. Once you've identified the flaws, you then want to look at what are the other focal points? What are the key elements of this product that you want to assess and are going to ultimately impact the enjoyability of the product. So, is it (going back to bakery) is it how much of the maillard reaction is there in terms of those lovely baked notes that you'd get on a biscuit or a loaf of bread? Is it the balance of acidity and sweetness? Is that going to be important? Is it having the flavours that you've added into something make sure that they're not overpowering? So let's say you're doing a beverage that's got sort of natural fruit juices in and so on, and you want to just add some natural flavourings in to round things off you want to make sure that they're in balance. So all of these things are elements that you can identify before you go into a tasting session. And just by having them written down before you go in, you're going in primed, you know what you're looking for. And I just think that action alone actually gives people quite a lot of confidence.

Micah

Yeah, and also it reminds you of certain phrases or what you're looking for. I remember we did this a lot in chocolate because chocolate is one of the most complex foods flavour wise.

Brandt

Over 600 different flavour compounds.

Micah

Exactly. Now you don't have a list of 600 flavour compounds or flavourings or whatever, but you will have some really distinct ones and they're often categorised in things like dairy notes and chocolate notes, or it might be earthy notes. And you know they can be separated down so when you're tasting a chocolate you can very much focus in on those and have that...almost...not a cheat sheet, but just to remind you what's in that, whereas like, say for something like a biscuit, you can have milliard reactions and you're going to have maybe salts because salt is so important in baking you know, things like that, really important.

Brandt

So you identify all of the elements you want to focus on. See if they need to be weighted. You know you'll score these attributes separately. You might want to weight the scoring 'cause some are more important than others. The setup of the room as well is important. You don't want to be distracted by heavy aromas, so no aftershave or perfumes. You love it when people come in with a fresh hot mug of coffee before tasting session.

Micah

All the time! The amount of times I've said right, we got tasting in in 10 minutes and then 'I'll just go make myself a cup of coffee' and I'm like, well, why would you do that? Are you some sort of idiot ?That's basically going to make your palate taste of coffee and you've prepped it with a hot drink? Get get out the kitchen, sit yourself down for ten minutes, then come to the tasting. That's what I say.

Brandt

The time of day is fairly important or can be. Mornings are better, but not immediately after brushing your teeth or having that first cup of coffee. Pre lunch time I think has been proven to be when your palettes probably sort of primed, already had something for the day and you're going to be sensitive still enough to get the best out of the tasting session. The order in which you taste the samples is obviously very important. Let’s say you're doing a tasting for Peri Peri chicken. You've got a mild, you've got a medium, and then you've got an extra extra extra hot. I would hope it's fairly obvious to taste them in that order, but it will be obvious probably in that instance. But for other products it might not be as obvious and there's different ways you can go about it as well. I remember when at Green & Black's we used to do a lot of chocolate and wine pairing and that was always a tricky one because ideally, you would want to go savoury to sweet, and then you would also want to go light flavours into more intense flavours and white wines into red wines. Because of the chocolates that pair with particular wines, you kind of had to compromise and I think they always used to go from savoury to sweet, but it did mean you potentially start with the more intense wines...

Micah

Yeah, I mean, when I used to work in wine and you know, still drink quite a lot of wine, we do always start with the like you say, the white and the lighter whites that are the more refreshing through to the more the heavier maybe Chardonnays but white Burgundies and then the reds maybe from Pinot noir through so sort of heavier Rhone or Clarets or something like that. Then last of all, you'll go into the sweet whites because you're getting dry to sweets. You gotta mix it up a bit.

Brandt

Yeah, But as long as you're just aware of that and also taste them in a particular order and don't be afraid to come back in another session and taste them in the opposite order because what you've tasted previously will impact how you perceive the next sample. That is how your palette works. That's why food and wine matching works, because the food that you've just eaten is preparing your palate in a way that you might perceive the wine slightly differently.

Micah

Good point, and it will make both the wine and the food tastes different. So if you have the bit of wine and then the food then it will taste different. Then go back to the wine, the wine tastes different. And it yeah, and that's why it's so important, well, for me to go to restaurants that have a decent wine list, or you can bring your own.

Micah

So I think the next thing that is really important is having this systematic approach to tasting, now, I learned a lot about this when I was, again going back to the wine industry, we always used to obviously look at the wine first, so it's the appearance you can get a lot of information about things like the grape variety, how intense is, how old it is, how mature it is and then from the aroma and from that you should get things like you know the grape variety, again, the age. Also, you know where that grape has been grown to certain country and maybe even region and then taste, which is there to confirm really what you've got on the appearance and the aroma.

Brandt

In wine it's so important with the appearance and the aroma and it doesn't mean that in any food or drink product you are always going to be able to know everything from the appearance or the aroma, but you're just pointing out why you shouldn't forget about appearance, and there's a lot that you can learn from just those first senses.

Micah

Exactly, and recently we used it with a product we worked on that's recently launched, Wednesdays Domain, which is a non-alcoholic wine, so I used my knowledge of tasting and my knowledge of wine and also my knowledge of how to develop a product to put together something that sort of replicated wine as closely as it could do without having that alcohol in it. And a lot of that is introducing these nuances, which are tiny nuances of flavour and as well as things like the weight from glycerol and you know a bit of sweetness which doesn't actually taste sweet but gives a bit of weight to the product and things like that.

Brandt

Another thing to consider is whether you should be tasting samples blind. It's not always necessary, but in some cases it's a good idea.

Micah

Yeah, it's good if, especially if you've got existing product development and you're changing like one attribute, maybe it might be the sweetness or you might be changing a flavour supplier, something like that. So that's where you want to show where there's any difference between two parts.

Brandt

Yes, and don't rely on... because if you're not tasting it blind, your mind can play tricks on you. The amount of times I've tasted something where I've made a change in the recipe and I think, Oh yeah, it's clearly obvious, I can really taste that difference we've gone too far. But then you do something called a Triangle Test and you figure out or you realise that you actually can't consistently pick out the change, so do you want to just tell us what a Triangle Test is?

Micah

Yeah, so Triangle Test is where you essentially have two recipes. So you got recipe one, recipe two, you take two samples from one of those and one sample from the other, and you mix these up. So, let's say you do one with two recipes of recipe one and one sample of recipe two.

Brandt

And let's say it's a cake project you're working on, and so recipe one is the standard recipe. Recipe two might be a 10% reduction in sugar. You see if you can do that without consumers tasting the difference in.

Micah

Yeah. So, there may be a number of reasons. It might, might be HFSS, it might be cost savings. There are always different reasons, but yes, you might want to take out that sugar. So, you've got those two different recipes you give those in this triangle test to a number of people, and you don't have the same some you'll give two of recipe one and one of recipe two, and the other half the opposite and you give them in different orders and let's say you have a minimum of around thirty, but that's a good statistically significant number. And then you give these to these people and what they've got to do is pick the odd one out. That's all they've got to do, nothing about what it tastes like. Just can you pick the odd one out? And if they can. If there's a statistically significant number of people who can pick the odd one, then they can tell the difference and you need to go back to the drawing board. If they can't then you can say, well, actually it's passed the test.

Brandt

OK, so everything we've discussed here gives people a framework, somewhere to start. Hopefully gives them more confidence the next time they're going into a tasting session how to record the data. Once they've got that data, once you've got your results, what would you want to do next? So how can these results be used?

Micah

So, it really depends on who's doing this tasting. So, if you and I are doing a tasting for anything that we're developing, then it's very much to understand how we can improve it, whether we've got far enough on that product when we can show it back to the client, but if we're doing it with let's say some the marketing team or the sales team, then the marketing team, they can put it into a story, and that story, you know, will give them something that they can give clear feedback to the developers because they're now speaking the same sort of language or it might be something they use to put on packaging in layperson's language to talk about the flavour or something on the back of pack to describe the products. Also though, the sales team, it's really good to be able to communicate the competitive set and to say how much better hopefully that your product tastes compared to competitors. So they can go to a buyer, go to the customer and say right, you should be buying this because more people are likely to like this rather than the competitors, so lots.

Brandt

Another one I'd like to add is taste awards, so we've been fortunate enough to judge at awards like Great Taste, Academy of Chocolate. We've been on both sides of it, actually submitting samples to these awards from Green & Black’s and then being judges at the awards as well. Funny enough, they never let me judge the Green & Black’s samples when I was judge.

Micah

Yeah, I mean, you're the most objective man I know. So, you would know where you would score them that well.

Brandt

But what I found there at these awards you would have the judge's varying levels of training, expertise, different backgrounds, often very little in the side of taste and training, etc. And so, you would have people almost hesitant to speak first and they would always go back to what was on the submission sheet with the sample and if a sample had a description of delicate notes of ginger with a background of lemongrass and cumin. If they could taste all of those things, they would say, oh I taste the cumin and taste the lemongrass. So that's very good and they would that would sort of favour positively in terms of how they scored the products. If they couldn't detect those points, then they would actually mark the product down, regardless of whether they actually thought it tasted nice or not. It was just people, really relying on what was written there, so I think being able to have the training to detect things and then using that language to tell the story, as you say. I've seen that be very useful when you're submitting samples to these awards.

Micah

Yeah, that's a good point.

Brandt

We've covered quite a lot there. I think we should quickly summarise. We started with taste versus flavour, hopefully some good insights there for people. We then talked about how balancing these is so important to make food delicious and moreish.

If you're going into a tasting session, have a plan. Take the time before the sessions to get everything in place. That will help you get better results. Yeah, help you with your confidence and then ultimately once you've got those results. Couple of insights, ideas of what you can do with them.

If people want to find out a little bit more about this subject following the episode, is there anywhere we can send them?

Micah

Yeah, I mean, there's a couple of things. Firstly, there's a book that is a US book actually, by an author called Barb Stuckey, and it's about tastes called Taste, Surprising Stories and Signs About Why Food Tastes Good, and it has a lot of what we've talked about essentially, but it also has some exercises at the end of each chapter, so it's quite a good guide and something you might learn some more from, so that's a good thing. The other thing that I strongly recommend is the WSET exams, the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

Micah

I did the diploma many, many years ago. We've got Gary, one of our development chefs. He's recently done it. You did it when I first met...

Brandt

You bullied me into doing it because when I started working with you, like most chefs, if I'm honest, I didn't know very much about wine. You strongly suggested that I go and do the course and yeah, I did. I felt I didn't need to do level one. I think you can jump straight into level two and I found it incredibly helpful. What I will say is that it means that my budget at home for wine has increased since then. So just be aware you go on these courses and all the sudden the £5 bottles of wine don't really cut it anymore. Bit dangerous in that respect.

Micah

I know, it's an addiction of mine, not so much the drinking the wine, but the spending of the money on the wine.

Brandt

But yes, a really good recommendation. I think it's just, yeah, just having that training.

Micah

It gives confidence. I think this is the thing that we want people to get out of this is to get people to be more confident in tasting and once they have all this structure and they get the results as well, this is the thing, is people then see that they're getting the results and they can say, oh yes, I'm now good to do the next one.

Brandt

I think it's been a successful first episode. Fingers crossed!

Micah

Hasn't taken too long.

Brandt

So yeah, thank you Micah. Looking forward to the next episode and more, and diving into other topics. Thank you, see you next time, bye.

Micah

Thanks for listening.

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