A flavorist, also known as flavor chemist, is someone who uses chemistry to engineer artificial and natural flavors. The tools and materials used by flavorists are almost the same as that used by perfumers with the exception that flavorists seek to mimic or modify both the olfactory and gustatory properties of various food products rather than creating just abstract smells. As well, the materials and chemicals that a flavorist utilizes for flavor creation must be safe for human consumption.
Flavorists, as profession, came about when affordable refrigeration for the home spurred a major growth of food processing technology. Processes used in the food industry to provide safe products often affect the quality of the flavor of the food. To the detriment of the manufacturer, these technologies remove most of the naturally occurring flavors. To remedy the flavor loss, the food processing industry created the flavor industry. The chemists that tackled the demand of the food processing industry became known as flavorists, and, thus, the flavor industry was born.
Educational requirements for the profession known as flavorist are varied. Flavorists are often graduated either in Chemistry, Biology or Food Science up to PhDs obtained in subjects such as Biochemistry and Chemistry. Because, however, the training of a flavorist is mostly done on-the-job and specifically at a flavor company known as a flavor house, this training is similar to the apprentice system.
Located in Versailles (France), ISIPCA French School offers two years of high-standard education in food flavoring including 12 months traineeship in a flavor company. This education program provides students with solid background in flavor formulation, flavor application, and flavor chemistry (analysis and sensory).
In the United States, a flavorist can join the Society of Flavor Chemists, which meets in New Jersey, Cincinnati, Chicago, and the West Coast 6 to 8 times a year. To be an apprentice flavorist in the society, one must pass an apprenticeship within a flavor house for five years. To be a certified member with voting rights, one must pass a seven-year program. Each level is verified by a written and oral test of the Membership Committee. As an alternative to training under a flavorist, rather than the above-mentioned cases, a 10-year independent option is available.
In the United Kingdom, a flavorist can join The British Society of Flavourists, which meets near the London area. To acquire membership, applicants must be sponsored by at least two voting members, shall not be under thirty years of age, and shall have been engaged as a creative flavorist for a period of at least ten years. To be an associate member, applicants must be either a full-time creative flavorist with at least four years' experience, a flavor application chemist, or a food technologist responsible for flavor blending, assessment, and evaluation for a period of at least five years, or a person of such standing in the flavor-producing or using industries as satisfies the Membership Committee that he/she is eligible for membership. An Associate Member must be proposed by two voting members. To be a student member, the applicant must be a new entrant to the flavor industry, not yet able to qualify as an Associate, and proposed by one voting member. To be an affiliate member, applicants must be Technical and Marketing Consultants, Commercial and Technical Managers having a direct relationship to the flavoring industry, and sponsored by three voting members.
Grandma would make this concoction with rice and the sauce that she had; it was a combination of brown sugar and butter. It tasted good, obviously. They'd put it over the rice and eat it as a kind of a treat on Sundays...
Pamela Low, a flavorist at Arthur D. Little and 1951 graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a microbiology degree, developed the original flavor for Cap'n Crunch in 1963 — recalling a recipe of brown sugar and butter her grandmother served over rice at her home in Derry, New Hampshire.
Robert (Bob) Reinhart developed a technique in the manufacture of Cap'n Crunch, using oil in its recipe as a flavor delivery mechanism — which initially presented problems in having the cereal bake properly. The cereal required innovation of a special baking process as it was one of the first cereals to use the oil coating method to deliver its flavoring.
Having arrived at the flavor coating for Cap'n Crunch, Low described it as giving the cereal a quality she called "want-more-ishness". After her death in 2007, the Boston Globe called Low "the mother of Cap'n Crunch." At Arthur D. Little, Low had also worked on the flavors for Heath, Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars.
- "Pamela Low, Cap'n Crunch creator, RIP". Boingboing,net, David Pescovitz, June 7, 2007.
- Marquard, Bryan (7 June 2007). "Pamela Low; kin's treat inspired creation of Cap'n Crunch flavor,". Boston Globe.
- Gregg, John P. “Love the Guilty Pleasure of Cap'n Crunch? Thank New London's Pam Low”, Valley News, 3 June 2007, p.1. Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
- "Pamela Low, 79; created flavored coating for Cap'n Crunch cereal". LA Times, June 6, 2007.
- Umstattd, Thomas, Jr. (7 November 2008). "Bob Reinhart, Inventor of Captain Crunch, Dies at Age 84". ThomasUmstattd.com.
- "Meet the Mother of Cap'n Crunch". Alumni Profiles. University of New Hampshire.
- "Inventor of Cap 'n Crunch dead at 79". SlashFood, Huffington Post, Bob Sassone, Jun 9th 2007.