Clean as possible
MCTs, the type of fat needed to follow the ketogenic diet, are the principal ingredient in many Bulletproof products.
“Because we ‘load’ fat into food products, we look for creative and clean-label ways to stabilize the product and keep the oil or fat from ‘leaking’ out of the food," Ms. Schaub said. “This involves working closely with suppliers to find natural fibers and gums to help keep the food integrity intact while meeting the flavor and appearance requirements, such as keeping a food bar flavorful and firm enough to eat.”
Ms. Schaub said challenges always arise.
“Sourcing clean label ingredients is our biggest challenge across the companies I have worked for,” she said. “Consumers are believed to have certain expectations about the appearance, flavor profile or shelf life of foods, such as snack bars or chips, and our task in clean label product development is to meet as many of those expectations but without using many of the additives and preservatives that have been used in historical and conventional food product development.”
For example, mouthfeel serves as a key attribute in beverages, but certain stabilizers or thickeners, such as carrageenan, are not permitted in some interpretations of clean label development.
“We work closely with suppliers to find other ingredients that can provide alternatives,” Ms. Schaub said. “You won’t find carrageenan in Bulletproof beverages, but you will see other ingredients that are approved for usage, such as gum acacia.”
She stressed that Bulletproof avoids using ingredients sourced from genetically-modified raw materials as well as sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup and others ingredients commonly perceived not on the better-for-you spectrum.
Ms. Schaub loves her job as research chef and knowing how food gets from farm to plate. One of her favorite childhood memories involves playing chef with her little brother.
“We literally pureed everything in the refrigerator in my mom’s blender and left cups and bowls, all labeled with the original food item and our comments about the taste and texture,” she said. “My mom still tells that story.”
While taste and texture remain part of her day-to-day work, Ms. Schaub seems to take the Bulletproof motto to heart, working smarter, thinking faster and building the best life — and career — she can. To do this, she relies on her unique professional background, with a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science from Pepperdine University and culinary arts training at the Seattle Culinary Academy.
After serving as an active-duty captain in the US Air Force, she commercialized cookbook recipes developed by Galloping Gourmet Chef Graham Kerr. She discovered the sweet spot merging nutrition science and culinary as a development chef at Nathan Myhrvold’s Cooking Lab working on the bestselling cookbook “Modernist cuisine at home.”
It was at these posts that she was bitten by the publishing bug, and was inspired to embark on one of her latest enterprises: airing a trailblazing Culinology-themed podcast that earned her this year’s Research Chefs Association President’s Award — along with the enthusiasm of listeners who tune in for lively interviews with culinologists who share her love for adventure.