National Starch opens texture center

by Jeff Gelski
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National Starch Food Innovation opened its Texture Center of Excellence on June 5. Wylie Dufresne, founder and chef of wd-50, a New York restaurant, and Alex Stupak, pastry chef at wd-50, kicked off the day with demonstrations showing how food science and culinary skills may deliver distinctive textures. The chefs later collaborated with National Starch’s Culinology Team in the center’s new kitchen and created a texture-inspired tasting menu using National Starch’s texturizing ingredients for a champagne reception.

Two presentations covered the perceptual and scientific aspects of understanding and using texture to create better, more pleasing foods. Gail Vance Civille, president of Sensory Spectrum, Inc., showed how to use sensory evaluation to develop products with sensory qualities that please consumers and emphasized the strategic role of sensory in the new product development process. Dr. Jozef L. Kokini, associate dean for research and Bingham Professor of Food Engineering at the University of Illinois, discussed the use of scientific methods to define the dimensions of texture and investigate consumer perception of such qualities as creaminess.

Participants also toured the Texture Center and the Process Innovation Center, where National Starch’s innovation and manufacturing teams optimize and scale up new products and refine manufacturing processes for the company’s 10 production facilities around the globe.

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