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Just quit my job as a professional gum & candy taster.. Ask Me Anything

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  • Just quit my job as a professional gum & candy taster.. Ask Me Anything

    So in October I fell off the primal wagon, then set the wagon on fire, and gained back most of the weight I had lost. Shortly after I beat out 700 other applicants and was offered a job as a professional gum & candy taster for an international brand's tasting panel. Just a few days ago, half-way through training I couldn't bring myself to continue and quit. So now I'm back here -- prodigal son coming home and all that.

    There are probably less than 100 professional gum & candy tasters in the US (as most brands can't or won't pay for them) so thought you all might have some questions about the industry and my experience. Feel free to ask anything and I'll try my best to answer. (Just don't ask what company, I'd rather not say.)
    Last edited by DashFire; 04-02-2013, 05:50 PM.
    My Primal Journal - Food, pics, the occasional rant, so...the usual.

    I love cooking. It's sexy science that you stuff in your face. - carlh

  • #2
    it sounds sickening, lol, but were you tasting "new" test flavors?

    what are the qualifications for something like that?

    i mean, they use humans as dog food tasters too.
    As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

    Ernest Hemingway

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    • #3
      Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
      were you tasting "new" test flavors?
      both in-house and competitors existing products (for comparison and reference) and products under development.

      Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
      what are the qualifications for something like that?
      not so much pre-existing qualifications as tested abilities -- discerning palette, consistency of results, etc. It's surprisingly complex. There were dozens of factors we were tested on.
      My Primal Journal - Food, pics, the occasional rant, so...the usual.

      I love cooking. It's sexy science that you stuff in your face. - carlh

      Comment


      • #4
        That's a super interesting job, although I can see how you'd want to quit with the primal thing and everything. I'd also be interested to know about the qualifications. And how you went about developing a discerning sense of taste, or is it more of an inborn thing that a person either has or doesn't have?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by liminal_luke View Post
          I'd also be interested to know about the qualifications. And how you went about developing a discerning sense of taste, or is it more of an inborn thing that a person either has or doesn't have?
          Honestly I can't say if it is inborn, though it seems logical that different people would have varying palette abilities. However, I think it has more to do with food experience and what variety of foods people are exposed to and with what frequency. I'd always been fascinated with food, cooked since I was a kid and have taken time to try and get to know food. So it doesn't surprise me that I may "naturally" have a more discerning palette.

          Regardless, I absolutely believe anyone can be intentional and train themselves to be more discerning. It was quite frankly a very, VERY intensive training process. We started every day tasting dozens of "reference" foods or flavor solutions to calibrate and further hone our senses.

          If someone is wanting to increase their abilities in this regard... I'd recommend starting with a single type of foods (whether that's spices, cheeses, fruits, veggies, coffees, wines or whatever), take the time to taste and savor a variety, learn about the differences, and then taste them over and over. After a while move on to another group.
          My Primal Journal - Food, pics, the occasional rant, so...the usual.

          I love cooking. It's sexy science that you stuff in your face. - carlh

          Comment


          • #6
            DashFire! Glad to see you back! Sorry the job didn't work out, but it is still very good to hear from you again!
            I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

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            • #7
              Thanks Crabbcakes! Glad to be back.
              My Primal Journal - Food, pics, the occasional rant, so...the usual.

              I love cooking. It's sexy science that you stuff in your face. - carlh

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DashFire View Post
                different people would have varying palette abilities.

                >>snip>>

                have a more discerning palette.
                gaaaah, pet peeve. i work as a sommelier. PALATE. PALATE.
                As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

                Ernest Hemingway

                Comment


                • #9
                  I work in private label development "frozen grocery"... it is very hard as I am constantly benchmarking new and existing products... I always spit the food out... but senses get ignited...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why candy? After going paleo for a while how did you end up in that space?


                    While tasting groups of foods for palette training did you ever get ideas for flavour combinations in your own personal cooking that you never thought of trying?

                    Did the job itself turn you off of food in off hours or did your eating habits remain the same?

                    Welcome back by the way! Missed you on the boards!
                    SW (Nov 22nd 2011): 333
                    Current Weight as of Nov 25 2015: 248
                    Short Term Goal: Fit into the shirts I got on my honeymoon at disney and universal in august next year when I go back to for my 1 year anniversary
                    Met Goal: Be a 2x Shirt, Fit in a standard airplane seat belt without the use of a seat belt extension
                    Long Term Goal: 166lbs (One day!), Buy whatever cloths I want to wear.
                    Pain is temporary, quitting is forever- Lance Armstrong #NoExcuses

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                    • #11
                      Are most or all of the professional tasters overweight?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Forgotmylastusername View Post
                        Are most or all of the professional tasters overweight?
                        Are all restaurant critics overweight?
                        My chocolatey Primal journey

                        Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sakura_girl View Post
                          Are all restaurant critics overweight?
                          I honestly have no idea. lol
                          I'm assuming candy tasters would be much more likely to be overweight though

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Forgotmylastusername View Post
                            I honestly have no idea. lol
                            I'm assuming candy tasters would be much more likely to be overweight though
                            Why? Is there a rule that states you have to swallow everything you put in your mouth?
                            My chocolatey Primal journey

                            Unusual food recipes (plus chocolate) blog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by noodletoy View Post
                              gaaaah, pet peeve. i work as a sommelier. PALATE. PALATE.
                              Ha. Thanks for the correction noodletoy. I'm so used to seeing "palette" written out in a creative context and only every hearing "palate" spoken, I don't even think about the different spelling. So don't get your hopes up.
                              My Primal Journal - Food, pics, the occasional rant, so...the usual.

                              I love cooking. It's sexy science that you stuff in your face. - carlh

                              Comment

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