At Kitchen Theory, we have become increasingly interested in aroma. Current research in the field of flavour perception would indicate that upwards of 80 or 90 percent of what we perceive to be flavour is actually made up by our sense of smell. This is rather easy to test as you only have to pinch your nose while eating to realise that, although you can still perceive the basic tastes of the food (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami, fatty), you cannot identify flavours quite distinctly, if at all. This fascination with aroma led us to develop an entire menu in which every dish served had an accompanying scent element aimed to enhance the diners perception of flavour. When we were tasked with developing a five course tasting menu for a press dinner to promote Hugo Boss’s “The Scent”, we became very excited to develop upon our interest in scent and aroma. As part of developing the menu, we worked with the man responsible for developing “The Scent”; Mr. Will Andrews. As an evaluator and fragrance scientist, Andrews works with perfumers, designers, and marketeers at The London Innovation Centre to design the next generation of fine fragrances for the P&G Prestige brand portfolio. His passion for fragrance creation leads him to educate and inform the internal and external world on all aspects of fragrance design and science. Together we looked at the main fragrance profiles and aromas within “The Scent”. Andrews’s philosophy that “each ingredient has a functional role and a character role” gave us the inspiration to use these ingredients as the storyline for our menu. As Andrews put it, “For Boss “The Scent”, we wanted to incorporate four personality elements, which we feel are the essence of seduction for the ‘Boss Man’: Strength, Confidence, Elegance & Style and the rather abstract, Personal Magnetism”. The main ingredients in The Scent include:
Maninka fruit to represent Personal Magnetism
This ingredient comes from the oncoba spinosa tree, colloquially known as the snuff-box tree. The fruit is most commonly used for medicinal purposes and is not something that has been used before in perfumery. It has a dried fruit aroma, but there’s also a part of it which smells like strawberries dipped in chocolate. The locals say it’s an aphrodisiac and claim that if you chew a piece of the fruit for three days, it leads to excitement for men and women!
For this dish we designed a grilled tiger shrimp, strawberries, cocoa sauce, cracked black pepper tuille, micro coriander, served with Maninka atomiser.
Ginger to represent Confidence
“I love ginger,” says Andrews, “it is bold and gives a fantastic tingle in your nose activated by the trigeminal nerve.” For this dish, we designed a grilled monkfish, ginger fume, lemongrass gel noodle, leek, burnt onion fluid gel, micro parsley – all served with a ginger dry ice cloud to stimulate the olfactory system.
Leather to represent Strength
“Leather is a familiar part of the masculine odour landscape” says Andrews. “Have you noticed how the smell of leather surrounds successful men? Their briefcase, leather shoes, the upholstery in their car?” The leather accord we used for Boss “The Scent”, has resinous, castoreum-like elements, and the wet dampness, like you get with vetiver. It’s the key to the fragrance’s longevity, and gives the fragrance the lasting impression.” For this dish we designed a braised ox cheek and beetroot mille feuille with a raspberry and rocket salad, cocoa, beetroot powder, 100% cocoa zest, beetroot leather and ox cheek jus – served with a leather atomiser and table settings.
Lavender to represent Elegance & Style
“Lavender is part of men’s subconscious – it’s the scent of our fathers and grandfathers. Lavender was key to the rise of men’s Fougere fragrances in the sixties, and has been part of the social landscape for a long time. It’s the smell of a freshly groomed male!” For this dish we designed hazelnut butter financier sponge, coconut and lavender cream, honey confit pears cubes, pomegranate reduction gel and mousse, and lavender crystals, all served with two audio tracks – each of which was designed to enhance particular flavour elements in the dish (see here for more details http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/complicity-and-the-chemical-senses/)