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Chef Lisa Teaches Science of Food Class About Umami

Chef Lisa spoke with students from the Upper School’s Science of Food course about umami, the fifth basic taste, and its role in the kitchen. Her presentation covered its discovery in the early 1900s and the science behind it (check out The Umami Information Center for additional information). The group did a umami tasting–trying foods high in glutamate, like tomatoes and parmesan. Chef Lisa also shared how she and her team cook meals that have high umami synergy, or "the amplification of the taste of umami by combining foods that are high in glutamate with foods that are high in umami nucleotides (inosinate, guanylate or adenylate)." On a recent blog post she used Taiwanese beef noodle soup as an example, writing, "We have fresh brisket, which is high in inosinate, and we cook it with tomatoes, onions and soy, all of which are packed with glutamate, thus we get a much higher umami in the final dish." Students also got a chance to ask Chef Lisa questions about how the lessons they've learned in class translate to the kitchen.