As anyone who has held their nose in an effort to swallow something unpleasant is aware, our ability to taste is inextricably linked to our sense of smell. While the mechanics of olfaction rely on a bulb of nerves and cilia on the roof of our sinuses—the olfactory epithelium—the ability to discern aromas and flavors whether they’re emanating from jasmine absolute or Cabernet Sauvignon requires considerable skill.
When it comes down to differentiating molecules, perfumers are among the most highly trained. Winemakers study their methods to identify the specifics of terroir and to eliminate unwanted aromas and flavors in wine. Chefs of all kinds are increasingly drawn to their materials and, more particularly, to those of natural perfumer Mandy Aftel. Aftel’s home studio sits on a quiet street in Berkeley, California, tucked behind what has long been a mecca for gustatory flavor seekers, Chez Panisse. Andwhile she opens the doors of her sanctuary to the public only one weekend a year, her atelier is, in effect, an exotic, olfactory counterpoint to that temple of California cuisine.
Read the article here: Mandy Aftel Piece (Clever Root)