On March 20th I was at the Research Chefs Association annual conference in Phoenix. The RCA is an organization of chefs and food scientists who work outside the typical one-unit restaurant world. The Chefs that belong to RCA work for such varied companies as McDonalds, Brinker (Chili's), Wegman's Grocery, and multiple flavor and ingredient manufacturers. All told about 400 or so people were there.
I was invited to give a presentation on Trigeminal Sensations, which I titled "Chemosensory Sorcery." Feel free to download an Adobe PDF of the presentation here." The breakout session was supposed to have about 80 people, and 140 or so showed up for the hour long presentation, followed by a solid 45 minute Q&A. There's an excellent writeup of the presentation in the trade newsletter Food Navigator.
The Trigeminal Irritants are compounds that provide interesting textural sensations in the mouth and across oral and nasal surfaces, including cooling, spicy, tingly, electric, heat and pungency (among many others). Typical foods include wasabi, mustard, chilies, black pepper, and spearmint.
I did get a chance to step away and eat at Pizzeria Bianco for a fantastic wood fired pizza. This was one of the first wood fired pizza's I've eaten that actually had a strong smoky note to the crust, which I loved. I also had a chance to spend some time with family, whom were out visiting other family.