Ep. 095 – Expert Food Product Development Advice from the Silicon Valley Consultant with Rachel Zemser, Independent Food Science Consultant at A La Carte Connections

Listen to Rachel and I talk about formulating products here

I knew Rachel before I even graduated and she didn’t know me.

She might have actually been the first person I’ve ever seen who was a consultant. I think it’s because she took advantage of the online space and I stumbled onto one of her articles, or e-books, or something.

Anyways, if you’re in NorCal, and you don’t know Rachel Zemser, you might actually be living under a rock.

Her presence online and offline makes it seem like she’s everywhere. And she needs to be as it’s necessary navigating the Bay trying to solve silicon valley’s greatest challenge: consumer packaged food.

In the bonus episode, you might have caught a bit on how Rachel networks, but this episode talks much more on being an expert formulator, even if you aren’t already in R+D.

Not only that, but she gives some life advice to young professionals who might not want to leave home, gives some amazing insight on new food ingredients, and rants and raves about her favorite restaurants in the world.

Key Takeaways

  • On mentorship and being a pro developer
  • Why young professionals should move
  • How to be a regulatory consultant

Question Summary

How did you find out about food science?: I picked it out randomly
How do you become an expert formulator?: If they only make one product, they will get to know all the procedures fast. Books  can help, but you have to live it. You have to learn through mentors. However, if you were in a big company, you can go and be friends with the R+D department. Keep on learning from all avenues
How to get Mentors and Mentees: Symbiotic relationship
Quick Tips: If an intern is really really new, in general, it’s a negative Return on Investment
How long do you think someone should be in a company before leveling off their skill set?: 5 to 6 years
Depends on what position you are. There is not a lot of turnover in food companies. They won’t get rid of you.
New Jersey and Chicago: a lot of competition. Arizona not so much.
Young Professional Advice: if you’re 22 to 32 years old and have no kids, you should go out and explore the world. Don’t be afraid to leave the coop.
Tips on Starting your Career: I meet so many graduates from Davis who will never ever leave the Bay Area. Rachel suggests that they should leave and explore.
Quick Tip: Keep on going for food science and you can be a consultant for life
Food Trends and Technologies: Protein Powders, Fat Powders, Botanicals and Antioxidants
TIC Gums, Colony Gums have teams to support you. Ingredient companies have a huge technical support network to help you out
What is one thing in the food industry you’d need to be more about?: More education for fats and oils
Coconut Oil was bad in the 70s. Palm Oil is bad now due to sustainable concerns
U Mass Amherst: Gum and Hydrocolloid class
What’s the hardest part about being a consultant?: Hard part about being a consultant is that you know a lot of things, but not everything
Favorite Kitchen tool: Chocolate Melange: Can make her own peanut butter and chocolate
Favorite Quote: Are you a nutritionist? Nutritionists care what you put in your body
Do you have any advice for anyone in the food industry?: You have to love it.
Where can we find you?: Burlingame, IFT, RCA, World of Flavor Shows, Expo West, Fancy Food Show
Website: Alacartconenctions.com @culinologist, facebook page for the ebook, google her

Other Links

Chenowith Labs
Fancy Food Show
Food Science: The university’s best kept secret
Food Blogger Conference in San Francisco
Alton Brown inspired Millenials to be food scientists
Gen X: chefs and military find out about food science
Research Chef Association
Free IFT Powerpoint for Food Science
Food Science versus Nutrition
Regulatory Consultants
Love on the ingredient statement
Potato Protein
Impossible Foods uses potato protein
Olestra in fat trends
Gelatin, Collagen
Supply Side
World of Flavors
El Bulli – but I got food poisoning in Madrid
The Fat Duck
Farm to Table
Tablet compressor bench top tablet press
Ray Krock McDonalds story

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