Life as a Professional Food Taster
Food-lovers, it’s not a hoax. You can truly eat and get paid while you do it.
“These people are trained, just like you train athletes,” explained Fred Caporaso, director of Chapman University’s Sensory Evaluation Laboratory. “You want someone with aptitude, whose tongue works a little bit better than average.”
So what is a day in the life of a food taster?
Fox News follows Godiva chocolate taster Jennifer Koen who begins her day isolated in a “tasting room” surrounded by a myriad of chocolates.
Koen utilizes all her senses as she begins her job. She first inspects the chocolates for aesthetic appeal, observing sheen, visible flaws, and design. Next step, she quickly smells the chocolate.
“Eighty percent of taste is smell,” Koen explained. “You want to capture the aroma.” The freshest chocolates have the most intense, rich smells.
Finally, after most of us would have already been tempted to take a bite, Koen slowly and “professionally” tastes the chocolate.
“You have to feel the bite as you take it,” Koen said. “You want to move it around all areas of the mouth because there are different tastebuds in different areas of the mouth. You want to get sweet, sour and bitter, so you move it all around to get the full intensity of flavor.”
Kirsten Hoskissen, the taste and development manager at The Jordans and Ryvita Company goes to the same process as she tastes cereal products.
“Has it got a good spread of fruit? What about the cluster size? Nice clusters. Golden, with not too much pink dust [from the strawberries],” Hoskissen recounts her thought process.
A downside about the job is that you’re often forced to try things that you don’t particularly like. “I don’t like avocados,” Hoskissen revealed. “That’s the worst thing for me because you have to put your personal preferences on one side and put a consumer hat on. Bananas I also can’t abide. We use banana in some of our products at Jordans so I just have to embrace it.”
And what about the downside of gaining weight after all that tasting? “We do spit out a lot of the time,” she also added. “But with something like this I would probably eat it because you have some taste buds at the back of your throat. Likewise for texture, you have to swallow.”
So, if life as a professional taster seems a bit too rigid for you, you could be a regular consumer taster. All you would need to do is judge whether you love or hate the product, just right after the professionals get done with perfecting it.
Check out a few quick tasting tips from an expert food taster below.