The discovery of the umami seasoning is commemorated every year on July 25th, which is the day Professor Kikunae Ikeda submitted his patent application for the mass production of the umami seasoning monosodium glutamate (MSG). He was the first inventor who developed an industrial process to produce for the first time a pure umami seasoning that ended up being known by its chemical composition, monosodium glutamate aka MSG.
The International Glutamate Information Service (IGIS) sponsored a webinar on Tuesday July 28th so all IGIS members and their stakeholders could learn from specialists the story of the discovery of MSG.
As most of us are stranded in our countries, IGIS prepared this virtual webinar commemorating this year’s Umami Seasoning Day. The webinar featured two 20-minute presentations from experts on Professor Kikunae Ikeda and the invention of the umami seasoning MSG.
The expert presenters were: author and professor Takashi Yamamoto from Kio University and currently the Chairman of the Umami Information Center, and Dr. Kumiko Ninomiya, who is Director of the Umami Information Center and a founding member of IGIS. She is very well known for her contributions related to the recognition of umami as a basic taste.
Dr. Takashi Yamamoto
Dr. Yamamoto was a Professor at Osaka University until 2007 and he is now a Professor at Department of Nutrition, Kio University, and also Director of Health Science Institute of Kio University in Nara, Japan. He was President of Japanese Association for the Study of Taste and Smell from 2000 to 2006 and served as the President for the 14th International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste held in Kyoto in 2004. He is now Chairman of Umami Information Center, Tokyo (since 2014~). His research topics are behavioral and brain mechanisms of taste and feeding behavior.
Dr. Kumiko Ninomiya
Dr. Ninomiya graduated in chemistry at the Graduate School of Sophia University. For her doctorate degree, she studied at the Graduate School of Biosphere Science in Hiroshima University how the cooking method affects the content of umami substances in Japanese and Western soup stocks. She is an expert on umami taste and has been dedicated to the dissemination of accurate information on umami taste. Since 2006 she has served as Director of the Umami Information Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to spread worldwide correct information on umami taste.
SOME QUESTIONS THAT WERE DISCUSSED:
- Is umami a taste or a flavor? The two terms are often confused — how are they best used with regard to umami?
- What are the most commonly used ingredients in cooking to impart the umami taste?
- Is the umami taste best described as savory taste?
- How is umami seasoning produced?
- How can you instruct people who want to experience the umami taste and understand it better? What are some of the best “taste tests” to identify umami?
- What are some of the latest trends in the culinary world where chefs are featuring the umami taste?
BENEFIT OF PARTICIPATION:
Remember the saying “learn something new every day”? Even if you are very knowledgeable about umami you too will learn something new about umami as a result of this webinar!