Lecturers Home page
Making sense of cuisine



 As a Lecturer in Gastronomy in the seventies, I worked with students to improve their ability to taste a range of food and beverage [F & B]. One activity can be seen at  


Go to Ch 10 and then p 233.

The idea is to suggest that statistical techniques can be applied in the situation.   Imagine a situation where food and/or wine is set out for a taste evaluation.  Participants are given paperwork enabling them to record their conclusions.  You will need to determine what results you want.  Perhaps it is, in each case, like-dislike on a scale of one to ten.  Putting results in preference order is more complicated.

One of many interesting elements to a taste activity is  "to enable comparisons to be carried out".  Participants will conduct their own comparisons.  If it is worthwhile, these can be brought together to see if participants agree with one another.  Other analyses can be carried out as well.  Perhaps how the men fare compared with the women.    That's not the same as agreeing with each other or concordance.  Perhaps men are not so good at determining the fragrance  of a dish.  You will need to qualify fragrance.

In outline, decide what you want answers to, devise a way of obtaining the info, select a tool to analyse the info and then be sure that your results have statistical validity.   

Organisers might discuss preliminaries such as:

  1. Stats applied within the Food & Beverage situation can highlight, to many unfamiliar with what stats might help with, the extent to which men and women differ in their broad taste preferences can be tested.  There was not much emphasis on this in the  Gastronomy etext account. 

  2. If you want to test the assertion that more men than women favour "umami" [savouriness] , it would not be done [ a commmon thought within our groups of students in the seventies/eighties ] in tandem with wine assertions such as more men than women prefer red wine. [Any chance of contact with wine was to be promoted, no doubt.  "Umami" as a term was created after the seventies.]

Along the way, you progress to assessing how your results can aid the management process. 

Starting with questions like "Is Beef Wellington more popular than Sole Colbert? over a specific period, you can test the effects of changes in price and other variables over that period.   "When did Sole Colbert go into decline?"  is another question in different contexts - change of price or change of chef etc.  Similar questions may be asked within a hospital, even a holiday camp.  The contexts may vary.       

The big question these days might well concern closing down a unit.  That may be answered by pressing management accounting etc buttons.  In between are the smaller investigations which, together, help see the big pic.

More later.

Meanwhile, a way-out treatment of umami is available via the Contact page.



WelcomeAllGreenSociety/1Society/2..IWFSDrinkPubsCuisineHaggis HealthStudentsLecturersAuthorSpeakerContact Common Page