What does a flavorist eat for dinner?

May 17, 2013
When you work in the food industry, travel to different customer locations, and wander around industry events (IFT, PMCA, Sweet & Snack Show), you meet a lot of people with cool careers. People who develop new products for the market, design equipment for the production of a product, develop packaging for products….but one of the coolest careers can be found in my lab: a Flavor Chemist (also known as a Flavorist).

Since I know the Confection flavorists so well, I thought I would play 20 questions with one! Maybe we can pick up some new, insightful information.  And even better, she has no idea what the questions are!  Ready?  Okay, let’s begin.

  1. What is your name?

Lindsay Mahon

  1. How long have you been a flavorist and how long have you been with FONA?

I have been at FONA for 11 years.  I completed my Society of Flavor Chemists Certification in 2010.

  1. What is your background?

During my time at FONA, I have been afforded the opportunity to work on many market segments, including grain, beverage, and OTC.  I have heavily focused on confectionary flavors for the past five years.

  1. What made you want to become a flavorist ?

While compounding for an incredibly talented Flavorist I found her ability to identify and utilize aroma chemicals intriguing. After a short time, I realized that the creativity that is involved in flavor creation was something I enjoyed and could see myself doing forever. The rest is history!

  1. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A social worker for the elderly or an author.

  1. What is your favorite flavor to make? Why?

I enjoy creating dessert flavors for chewing gum. We typically use oil soluble flavors which pose a challenge because most materials from chocolate are water soluble. In order to create an indulgent profile that tastes like the real dessert and captures the expectation of mouth feel, we have to rely on materials like pyrazines, lactones, and aldehydes. An appropriate balance of each is crucial to a well-rounded flavor that consumers prefer.

  1. What is the worst flavor you have made by accident?

I created a ripe strawberry that contained a sulfur compound for increased ripe character. I quickly learned that a little of this material goes a long way. I had created an incredibly rotten strawberry that my team members were less than thrilled to taste.

  1. What is the most unusual customer flavor request you have made?

I worked on a flavor that had high levels of 4 methyl Octanoic Acid for a goat type flavor. It definitely was goaty…to the extreme.

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

The ability to insert humor and create laughter no matter what situations arise. Some may argue I already possess this power. I might also enjoy the power of magically being able to fill my coffee cup by just waving my hand over my cup.

  1. What is your favorite type of music?

Country…the new type with minimal twang.

  1. Dream vacation: Where would you go?

 The Galapagos Islands

  1. Would you rather have breakfast or dinner?

Breakfast for dinner!

  1. What is your favorite ethnic food?


  1. Who do you admire?

Amelia Earhart- she pushed the boundaries of cultural expectations for women and achieved many successes. She never gave up!

  1. If you were to write your life story/memoir, what would the title be?

Hope Captured

  1. Do you prefer wine or beer?

This is completely dependent on what I am eating. Favorites include Moscato wine and Bud light lime.

  1. Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?

Read the book then watch the movie and get annoyed at all the great parts of the book that were left out of the movie.

  1. What is your least favorite food?

Bananas-this is more of a phobia

  1. If you could start at new food trend, what would it be?

Crackers that include different seasoning packets within the box. Depending on my taste preferences I could use a different seasoning.

  1. And lastly, what does a flavorist eat for dinner?

During the week this Flavorist usually is cooking frozen pizza. On the weekends I spend time preparing complex new meals for my family to try. One of my family favorites is steak Diane. I started with a recipe I found on the food network and each time I make it I add a new ingredient to create more complexity.