Have you ever wondered why some food taste great when paired together? Tomato and basil, peanut butter and tuna, lamb and rosemary, and more. Because our imagination can only be so far, scientists have developed a computational chemistry technique to predict the flavor combinations of the future. Does this mean molecular gastronomy will be an art available to everyone now?
A company called Sense for Taste is creating new algorithms—which share major similarities with those used to find life-saving drugs and search for life on Mars—that combine information about fundamental flavor compounds to create new pairings.
Using computers to predict flavor pairings have been here since last decade when François Benzi, a Swiss chemist, started working with British chef Heston Blumenthal. They noticed that a lot of Blumenthal's more creative parings—such as pork liver and jasmine flower or white chocolate and caviar—all of this shared basic similarities to flavor compound combinations.
Inspired by Benzi and Bluenthal's work, organometallic chemist Martin Lersch decided to try his hand at using basic chemistry to predict flavor combinations. He paired aromatic compounds and through publishing his work, his pairings have become a hit in the food blogosphere. Here's one of this experiments: Strawberry and cilantro.
This is actually a good thing after all, time spent on thinking about what goes with what can now be shortened and replaced with the time spent to taste all these things. [Chemical and Engineering News]