[UMAMI!] What is that?


A few months ago, I attended my Professional development Summit and a Food & Culinary Professionals class titled “Where Food, Taste, and Health Collide: Discover the Power of UMAMI!!” The title piqued my curiosity. I immediately checked it out because I wanted to know what it was about, and secondly because a chef presented it.

With the title outlined above. Here is how it began.

They say “what goes around comes around,” and when it comes to views about Glutamate, the consensus of the culinary community certainly comes almost full circle.

Umami (the fifth basic taste, triggered by dietary glutamate) is now on the “What’s Hot List”. And after several decades of tough times, nutrition experts and food gurus alike recognize that a few sprinkles of MSG here and there is actually a GOOD thing.

MSGdish.com is home to this intersection, with regular contributions from culinary leaders and registered dietitians, a following of foodies, wellness advocates and Food science junkies.


Umami, which means “delicious” in Japanese, is enjoying a true renaissance, with restaurants and food manufacturers embracing the name and the concept. And with that, more interest has been generated among nutrition and health professionals, who continue to explore the vital roles that glutamate plays metabolically and physiologically. For a quick 3-minute refresher on glutamate specifics that will make you laugh while leaving you a bit smarter, check out this video.

There are many sources of umami in our food supply– shitake mushrooms, parmesan cheese, ripe tomatoes and cured ham, just to name a few. The common denominator is that they all have a relatively high level of free glutamate, which binds to receptors in the tongue, stimulating the savory, broth sensation recognized as umami. What’s that got to do with MSG? The glutamate in these foods is exactly the same in terms of the taste it imparts and the way it’s used by our bodies. For a deeper dive, The Glutamate Association website, offers a more in-depth repository of facts, studies and resources. It was developed to help professionals’ sort fact from fiction.

So whether your interest is piqued by flavor combinations that bring out the most in every meal, or by digging deep into the science for a comprehensive understanding, become a follower of MSG dish for regular updates on umami. It’s the meeting place where food, taste and health collide.

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