Professor Participates in 2014 CAFÉ Leadership Conference

P1020692By Danielle Sweetser

Dr. Anne Rogan, Professor in the Agriculture and Food Management Department at SUNY Cobleskill, presented students with a chance to absorb the vocabulary that describes the texture, appearance, taste and smell of food at the CAFÉ’ Leadership Conference’s Educational Best Practices Day held last summer in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At the event, Dr. Rogan provided culinary students with an opportunity to learn about sensory science through the use of four varieties of potatoes, prepared using three preparation methods. The variety of potatoes, harvested at Cornell University, were used to encourage students to practice how to properly distinguish between the qualities of food using the professional evaluation of food. Through proper sensory distinguishing methods, a product’s success in today’s marketplace can be significantly enhanced.

“Culinary students need to appreciate that the sensory aspects of food include color, flavor, texture, mouth feel, and taste,” Rogan noted. “These attributes can be detected best by people since there are no machines that can simultaneously taste a strawberry or potato and recognize all of the sensory properties at the same time—but people can—and culinary professionals need to know the vocabulary of sensory science so they can evaluate and prepare delicious food.”

Allowing students to specifically identify the elements and characteristics of food instead of using words like “good” or “bad”, sensory science helps students assess the food that they have prepared. Based on that feedback, students can then devise a plan to improve the food.