Mimic natural flavors, or create entirely new ones, using chemicals.
What does a Flavorist do?
Imagine being able to taste your job. Flavorists do it every day. Sometimes called “Flavor Chemists,” Flavorists use their deep knowledge of essential oils, flavor aromas, botanical extracts, and essences to recreate and intensify flavors from nature. They also create whole new flavors that people have only dreamed of.
To be a good Flavorist, you need strong technical and chemistry skills, but also a great palate and the ability to never stop trying new things.
In the modern food manufacturing world, man-made flavors have several advantages over naturally occurring ones. You spend your days developing the flavor formulas that will deliver a stronger taste, have a longer shelf life, or possibly avoid setting off allergies.
The possibilities are literally endless. Two different Flavorists can come up with radically different formulas for the same taste. Creating new flavors is all part of the fun!
But don’t expect your day-to-day job to be like something out of Willy Wonka. Flavorists are serious Chemists. For your first five years, you’re an apprentice, often working more than 40 hours per week, learning the ins and outs of the job. And even when your apprenticeship is over, you never stop working as part of a team, and long hours may still be required.
Most Flavorists work for a small community of “flavor houses” on the east coast (with a few scattered in the mid-west or California). These houses compete to secure contracts with large-scale food companies. As you work your way up the ranks, you may be called upon to make presentations to help your company win the next big contract, based in part on the strength of your work, so good communications skills are vital.