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Society Report: British Society of Flavourists Training Course

Posted: May 30, 2007

The fifth British Society of Flavourists (BSF) training course for potential creative flavourists was held in May 2007 at the University of Reading, School of Biosciences, in conjunction with the University. The course duration was three weeks and was attended by nine trainee flavorists from Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Korea, Malta and the United States.

The emphasis in the first five days was on practically tasting, smelling and getting to know and recognize the utility of about 100 raw materials of importance in flavor creation. This was intended to provide a methodology for the evaluation of any new raw materials that they might encounter in the future. The delegates were required to use the knowledge gained during this process to create simple flavorings. In addition, lectures were provided on flavor chemistry, biochemistry and analysis. The emphasis in week two was on natural raw materials including essential oils, oleoresins and other extracts of importance to the industry. Again the practical use of these materials in flavor creation, particularly in conjunction with nature identical raw materials, was emphasized.

For the second time this year two days were devoted to the creation, production and evaluation of modern savory flavors. This proved to be of outstanding interest to the delegates and will be incorporated again in the 2008 course. Lectures during the second week were on subjects as diverse as flavor legislation, process flavor chemistry, delivery systems and practical flavor processing. During the third week the delegates continued to create flavorings, having available all the raw materials that they had previously evaluated. These flavorings became increasingly sophisticated as the delegates became more skilled and confident. During this third week there was also a visit to, and a presentation by, a flavor company specializing in the cultivation and manufacture of English essential oils and extracts. This visit included a review of different methods of physical extraction of vegetable source materials including steam distillation, high-vacuum distillation, vacuum fractionation and liquid and supercritical CO2 extraction followed by a factory tour to demonstrate them being used.

Throughout the course, particularly in weeks two and three, the emphasis was on practical flavor creation and the evaluation by the group on the sensory characteristics of the results. Guidance was provided during this time by experienced flavorists from the BSF.

Finally each candidate was required to demonstrate two of their creations in an easy-to-prepare application and to complete a written examination as part of their final assessment. All nine candidates passed with flying colors and were presented with their certificates by Don Mottram of the School of Food Biosciences and BSF membership by the BSF principal lecturer, Jack Knights, at the course dinner.