FlavorPrint: It’s Like Online Dating For Your Mouth
Okay, so this is going to take a little bit of explaining.
You know how when you’re goofing around with something like Pandora and you put in, say, the Dropkick Murphys and the magical elves that live inside your iPhone build you an entire playlist of songs featuring bagpipes and lyrics about punching people in the face? FlavorPrint is like that. Kinda.
Or you know how when you’re filling out you 34th online dating profile and you explain to the computer how you’re looking for a good Christian girl, 18-34, who’s into sunsets, romantic comedies and hardcore BDSM? Yeah, FlavorPrint is like that, too.
What it is, is “a personalization service that matches your personal taste, texture, and nutritional preferences with food you will love… every day, everywhere.” Or, to put it more technically:
FlavorPrint by Vivanda is inspired by a deep understanding of consumers’ food and flavor preferences. This unique knowledge base has been digitally mastered in a food and flavor genome that maps 16,000 aroma chemicals to 33 flavors and 17 textures, along with nutritional attributes and a growing library of ingredients, branded products, recipes, and menus. Today, more than 300,000 consumers use FlavorPrint to explore recipes that appeal to their unique and complex flavor preferences. The service provides compatibility scores to match an individual’s FlavorPrint with recommended food and flavor experiences. As consumer increase their use of FlavorPrint to interact with a variety of omni-channel experiences across the network of food, the more their FlavorPrint learns and evolves.
So that makes sense, right? Omni-channel experiences and digitally mastered flavor genomes are TOTALLY what I’m thinking about when facing down a plate full of tacos. Doesn’t everyone? And really, how long have I been waiting for someone to make a smart phone app to tell me what I like to eat? That kind of decision making process is obviously far too complex for any normal human to undertake without algorithmic assistance, so thank goodness that someone over there at Skynet or whatever has finally saved me from myself. No more dinners of joint compound and dryer lint for me! Because now the computers will be telling me what I like!
Ok. Maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe it’s not cool of me to call bullshit on something that I haven’t tried myself, and maybe there really is a vast and terribly confused audience of people out there who just can’t decide on what flavors they like without machine intervention. Further, if this digital brain crutch can be useful for people looking for new or interesting ways to combine lemongrass and chocolate pudding into a delightful casserole topping, I’m all for it because who am I to tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat? That’s what your phone is for.
Anyway, if you’re curious (and seriously, you should be because this whole thing sounds weird and who doesn’t love weird?), Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka (of Zama and CoZara) is the first chef in the country to partner with FlavorPrint in a restaurant setting. He’s throwing an event tonight at CoZara which will see the restaurant broken up into several different rooms where guests can “learn about and explore flavors,” and he’ll be offering a five-course tasting menu built around highlighting some of the possible flavor profiles that FlavorPrint has…mapped? Conquered? I honestly don’t even know the terminology I should be using here.
But hey, tickets are only $35 and the menu that CoZara’s crew is putting together looks pretty interesting. Check it out:
An opening course to introduce acidity with Sour and Salty Flavors
Pickled Celery Sticks and Leaves with Orange Ponzu Crispy celery pickled in a citrusy, fruity, and sweet Ponzu sauce
The experience progresses with Buttery and Heat Flavors
Hawaiian Tuna Poke
Lightly seared Hawaiian Albacore Tuna with Mango, Jalapeño, Cucumber and Micro Cilantro with a Chili Red Miso dressing
A main course with Buttery, Garlic Onionish and Roasted Toasted Flavors
Pork Belly Kakuni
Pork Belly braised in a flavorful stock served with the braising liquid glaze and a Japanese Mustard Mayo
A touch of Umami
Noodles tossed with Black Trumpet and Shitake Mushrooms and a buttery, soy truffle crème sauce
Ending with a taste of Sweet
Banana Spring Rolls
Creamy, salty caramelized, sweet bananas wrapped in fried Spring Rolls with powdered Sugar
I mean come on, right? Pork belly with Japanese mustard is good. Fried banana spring rolls are good. Tuna poke is good. And hey, for thirty-five bucks I’d even suffer through the pickled celery sticks without complaining.
So if you’re down, call CoZara at 267-233-7488 for reservations. The fun starts at 5pm and runs until 8pm. And who knows? Maybe five years from now we’re all going to look back, wonder how we ever lived without FlavorPrint, and then smile beatifically and go back to our bowls of mushroom-and-pickle-brine-flavored breakfast cereal, content that we never again have to think about what’s for dinner tonight.