The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Ingredients - 92Y, New York

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The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Ingredients

James Briscione with Ted Allen
The Flavor Matrix

James Briscione, Director of Culinary Research at the Institute of Culinary Education, shares how his research into flavor, and previous work with IBM supercomputer Watson unlocked insights into unexpected ingredient pairings and possibilities for inventive new dishes.

“I realized that chemistry could reveal the invisible filaments that bound ingredients together.”

James Briscione

In 2012, IBM approached ICE to collaborate on a cooking project with their supercomputer Watson. Using data, Watson would pair ingredients that it predicted would taste good together when combined — but that did not commonly appear together in recipes. That experience launched Briscione on a quest to document the connections between ingredients of all sorts — a journey that sent Briscione plunging into academic journals and chemistry databases, and which ultimately led to The Flavor Matrix, a groundbreaking ingredient pairing guide and cookbook filled with deliciously innovative recipes and comprehensive infographics for combining uncommon flavors. Pairings such as garlic and cocoa, pork and jasmine, corn and coconut, and squash and caramel seem like unlikely combinations, but The Flavor Matrix teaches cooks to understand flavor based on their chemical makeup, rather than rely on a preconceived understanding of what foods taste good together.

Briscione brings us behind his research and shares a new way of looking at pairing ingredients based on the chemical overlap between them. Learn how shared aromatic compounds can explain common pairings like tomatoes and mozzarella as well as new ones like strawberries and mushrooms, or white chocolate and caviar.

A book signing follows the event.

James Briscione

Celebrity chef and instructor James Briscione is the director of culinary research at the Institute of Culinary Education, lead chef on IBM's Chef Watson project and the first-ever two-time Chopped champion.

Ted Allen

Emmy Award-winner Ted Allen is host of the hit prime-time competition series Chopped on Food Network, and a frequent contributor to The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

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