Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Interview with Bernard Lahousse‏

Bernard Lahousse is the mind behind the Foodpairing.be, a unique website providing information on food pairing, otherwise known as Sense for Taste. Here is what he thinks about taste, food pairing and Belgian chocolates!

1. What was the stimulus or the motivation of the foodpairing.be?

Five years ago I started to work with Michelin star chefs just for fun. One of the questions they asked was: “why combines this with this product”. One of the chefs, Sang-Hoon Degeimbre of L’Air du Temps, was working on surprising combinations like kiwi-oyster. I started to make a database with food products and their flavors. When Sang and I were invited to Lo major de la gastronomia and as already a number of chefs were asking me about combinations, we had the idea to make a website where you can search for combinations based on scientific analysis. As a company (Sense for Taste), we do research on flavor technology, but also we develop methods based on scientific analysis (Foodpairing is one of them, as Foodpairing is based on the fact that products can be combined with each other when they have key odorants in common).

2. How long did it take to develop? Is it an ongoing process (always updated?)

Five years. We have now almost 1,000 products analyzed at universities. The current site is updated in the sense that if we obtain new insights, we add them directly and trees are adapted. For the new website, you will see, it is dynamic and has more functionality.

3. Is the site only for pastry chefs or also for the consumers?

The Foodpairing.com website is for everybody. The chocolatefoodpairing.com website is focused on chocolatiers and pastry chefs  but of course consumers passionate about chocolate can also visit it.

4. Do you work close with chocolate pastry chefs? Who are they? How do you pick them?

Dominique Persoone is the chocolatier we work the most with. But we also have contact with Jocky, the pastry chef of The Fat Duck, with Ben from Moto and others. Mostly starts with a mutual interest or passion.

5. What is your favorite chocolate flavor?

You mean combination? The one our chef has made with bell pepper and strawberry, I like it a lot.

6. What is your best chocolate destination in the world? (I am sure you will say Belgium!)

Of course…

7. Do you organize chocolate seminars in Belgium for the public or for food writers like me?

We organize the Flemish Primitives (http://www.theflemishprimitives.com/ ). Our next event will be on  March 14th, 2011.  René Redzepi and Michel Bras  have already confirmed.