Your taste buds will really get down and party at this special event, the New Frontiers of Taste,celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Dr. Kikunae Ikeda’s discovery of *Umami, the 5th taste. This major event is timed to coincide with the International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste (ISOT), and will draw a variety of attendees that includes chefs, culinary students, food and wine experts, scientists, journalists, and palin old food lovers.
You’ll learn more about this elusive taste sensation from heavy hitters ,Thomas Keller of The French Laundry; Hiro Sone of Terra, Ame; and Kunio Tokuoka of Japan’s Kyoto Kitcho, who are joining together with leading food scientists and culinary experts to discuss and celebrate the fifth taste, umamiat the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.The symposium, New Frontiers of Taste, will discuss the impact of umami in a casual panel conversation that includes Harold McGee, Ph.D. (food writer and molecular gastronomist). Following the discussion, internationally accredited chefs will serve a multi-course lunch to demonstrate umami. Highlights of the menu will include seared Japanese spiny lobster, ginger-poached Georgia shrimp and watermelon salad and Salle d’Agneau: lamb sous vide. Tim Hanni (master of wine and wine educator) will introduce a number of wines at the luncheon to demonstrate how they can successfully be paired with umami-rich foods. Tickets are available at www.umamiinfo.com for $100 (or $50 for students with valid student I.D.). 11:30 a.m. Hyatt Regency San Francisco, Embarcadero Center, 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-788-1234, 800-233-1234.
*What exactly is umami?
The flavour of food is determined by a number of different factors including taste, smell, colour, temperature and overall appearance, as well as by physiological or psychological conditions. Some of the most important factors are the basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.
It was Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda who first discovered that glutamic acid, an amino acid, was responsible for the umami taste of Konbu.
Although there is no English word for it, umami is a savoury taste imparted by glutamate and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.
The taste of umami itself is subtle. It blends well with other tastes to expand and round out flavours. Most people don’t recognise umami when they encounter it, but it can be detected when eating ripe tomatoes, parmesan cheese, cured ham, mushrooms, meat and fish. Umami plays an important role making food taste delicious.