My Food Job Rocks!

There is very little awareness of what the people in the food industry actually do. This stems back to the lack of knowledge and awareness of the range of degree courses and programs available that will equip them for a career in food. My FoodJobRocks! by Adam Yee is the first podcast of its kind that allows listeners to hear directly from people who are in the food industry and have a passion for what they do. They share how they became involved in food and describe what it is they do, plus a few more fun questions just to keep things entertaining. Listen to them here, and stay tuned for a new episode every Monday.
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My Food Job Rocks!


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Jun 20, 2016
Welcome to the My Food Job Rocks Podcast with me, Adam Yee. This is episode 5. We’re going to try something a little bit different this time, I think every 5 or so episodes, I really want to do a deep info session on certain things people don’t know about the food industry. In this episode, I want to talk about what is Food Science, and really, how to become a food scientist. I hope to use this episode to tell all of my friends what the heck I do. Moving to Phoenix where I absolutely knew no one, I’ve met a lot of new people and in most situations, I’ve had to say what I do for a living. I’ve tried things like my actual vague job title, when I first moved to phoenix this was: food processing technologist! What the heck was that? Then I changed to: “I work with food” but I’ve felt most comfortable saying what I’ve studied: I’m a food scientist. In most situations in my life, whenever I tell someone I’m a food scientist, they give me some strange look and tell me what the heck that is. I’m sure my colleagues will nod in agreement that this has happened once in their life. I hope in this episode, to really bring a brief introduction on what is Food Science and how you can remember this profession.
Key takeaways:
  • The definition of Food Science, and what they do
  • Where you can study food science
  • The difference between Food Science and Nutrition
What We Talk About:
Google’s definition of Food Science Institute of Food Technologist Sodium Benzoate in Soda Ethlyene  Splenda  Stevia Bacon Soda Chicory Root Fiber Flaming hot Cheetos EXO Cricket Protein Pea Milk (Ripple) Chapman University Food Science Accredited Food Science University Chipotle E.Coli Freeze Drying Extrusion American Institute of Baking Food Science vs Nutrition The next sewage blockage of 2016 (read the reviews)  Download Episode
Official Transcript:
If you google “Food Science”, the institute of Food Technologist writes up this definition: Food science is the study of the physical, biological, and chemical makeup of food; and the concepts underlying food processing. Food technology is the application of food science to the selection, preservation, processing, packaging, distribution, and use of safe food. What this means is that every single item of food or beverage you buy in a grocery store has been influenced by a food scientist. I find that this is honestly the best explanation of being a food scientist. The best way I can explain the benefits of a food scientist is that they try to make food last as long as possible without it causing harm to you or have it taste awful. We are indeed responsible for adding preservatives to soda but we are also responsible for finding a way NOT to use preservatives, while also lowering the calories. We are responsible for pumping ethylene oxide into apples to make them grow bigger but also responsible in making sure organic, non-GMO apples get to the grocery store safe and sound. We are the ones who make splenda and stevia palatable and how to make soda taste like either root beer or bacon We are the ones who make your protein bars have chicory root fiber and the ones who make your Cheetos puffy or spicy… or whatever you desire. We can create bars out of crickets or milk out of vegetables. We are the ones who make sure you don’t get sick drinking juice or prevent bugs in your bread And whether you love these things or hate these things, we’re just doing our job: to feed the world. And most likely, we will need your help accomplishing this. To become a food scientist, you can either get a job at a facility that deals with food or major in food science at a university. Most people who claim themselves to be food scientists have food science degrees. I would argue that if you are a food technologist, whatever your educational background may be, which I think is a confusing title in itself, you can call yourself a food scientist. Food Science is a niche profession and an even nichier major. I hope that’s a word… Most who join the major don’t really know what it is and quite a few people switch majors right away once they find out that you might end up in a factory your whole life. Hey, I’m not going to sugar coat it, there are jobs in food science that may require you to be in a factory and as much as we don’t imagine the glamour of being in a factory making granola bars all day, you sometimes realize just how valuable that job experience has been. Speaking from experience, I sort of enjoyed the factory life for a year or two and you actually make quiet a bit of money because of how much overtime you make if you’re into that. In fact, most of the time, the factory life will highly out pay a product development job but the tradeoff is a stable work/life balance. Besides the point, I really want to dive in about all aspects on food science. So here are three common questions I’ve gotten as a food scientist. I’m sure a lot of my friends who are also food scientists get this a lot.
Question 1: Where can you study Food Science?
Food Science is usually offered in land grant universities or universities that have a department of agriculture. There are exceptions to both situations. For example, the University of Arizona does not have a food science program even though it is a land-grant university and private institutions like Chapman University have started offering food science in their curriculum. For a list of accredited food science universities, please make sure you go to the show notes and check out the accredited food science programs available across the nation. Food Science is decently Chemistry based and a lot of the focus will be in Biochemistry because you are dealing with macromolecules such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins on the daily. The more you really understand basic chemistry, the more food science starts to make sense. Probably the second most important class to focus on is microbiology as the most important part in the industry is to understand how to prevent bad stuff like salmonella from growing. Pro tip, it’s mainly the amount of water and how much heat it takes to kill the things. Most curriculums offer a buffet of professions including: Quality Assurance, Food Safety, Sensory Analysis, Food Chemistry, Food Analysis, Food Law, Food Engineering, Packaging, Processing, and Product Development. Each one of these subjects act as kind of a job orientation and throughout your food career, you can kind of choose which subject you would like to follow. For example, you can choose to be Quality Assurance Manager, a Sensory Scientist, a Flavor Chemist, or a Product Developer. So some of these sound weird, right? Let me explain some examples of the subjects the universities teach: Quality Assurance: Where we make sure that the processes and ingredients we use to make food are in compliance with the government and with the consumer. You will learn what’s really needed in the food industry to make sure your food is consistent and edible. Food Safety: Basically how to react and prevent food outbreaks. We hear all the time on how E.coli or listeria can cause massive recalls. Food Safety classes are designed on how we can keep our food safe, which is the most important thing you have to think about when making food and distributing it to millions. Food outbreaks can literally kill a food company. Sensory Analysis: Literally a class where you eat things all day. Applying statistics, you will learn about how to find if results between two to ten things are significant or not. We use sensory analysis a lot in the food industry because people have to actually like the taste of the food that is being sold. We also use sensory to replace ingredients, for example, if this organic version can match the original version, or if this new flavor is better than this old one. Food Chemistry: Basically applying what you know about biochemistry and using it on food. In this class, you understand how things get thick when you add flour to soup, why you should coat biscuits with oil before packaging, and why some sugars are super sticky and why some are rock solid. Food Analysis: This is a cool class, but I’d say is very niche in the industry. Here, you understand how to use machines and chemicals to break down food to its basic components and measure its content. This is used extensively with nutrition labeling on your little nutrition facts on every food product. Food Law: A dry subject, but very important; Here you will learn about the FDA and USDA as well as knowing the regulations it takes to slap on a label for food products. Things you would never notice has to be on the package such as: net weight, manufacturing date, and what fonts to use on the label. Food Engineering: The most confusing topic to discuss with your friends because it makes people believe you’re really smart when it’s basically just moving water around mathematically. It’s basically using very basic engineering concepts to help you do your job. It’s meant for you to be the middleman between the scientist saying how much water needs to be in this bottle and the engineer/mechanic to adjust the machines to do such a thing. Some examples of applying food engineering include:
  • measuring the expansion of water when frozen in orange juice concentrates,
  • how much you have to adjust the amount of water when switching to a more watery syrup, and,
  • how many ingredients you need to add back in when your professor accidentally spills part of your incomplete mixture of BBQ sauce!
Packaging: Why do we package food? To keep it safe, contained, and as a wicked marketing tool. You also learn about how paper, glass, metal and plastic are made and why they are so versatile. Processing: Here you get to learn how we can create 10,000 lbs of granola bars a day. Basically, learning about all of the necessary machines to make a lot of food. In basic classes, you learn how to dehydrate, refrigerate, and pretty much boil water but in more advanced classes, we learn the science of how freeze drying, microwaves, and extrusion works. Product Development: You make your own product using all of the skills you learned in your previous class. So you will also take some microbiology, statistics, calculus, organic chemistry, biology, nutrition, and physics courses. You know, the fun stuff. There are also plenty of electives you can take. I’ve taken an awesome bakery science course and my friends have taken things like fermentation, meat processing, wine making, and cheese making as one of their electives. If you don’t like science, food science might not be for you. But if you truly love food, then you will find this a very rewarding profession.
Next Question: What’s the difference between food science and nutrition?
A lot of my food science friends mock this question when their aunt questions them: “Oh, food science? Is that like nutrition?” On my first day of orientation to the food science major, the room was shared with food science students and nutrition students. Heck, even before orientation, I didn’t know the difference either What the professor said has resonated with me ever since: Food Science is farm to fork, Nutrition is afterwards. In other words, Food Science is before we eat the food, Nutrition is what the food does to the body. Food Science includes but is not limited to growing, storing, processing, distributing, packaging, From apples to apple sauce, to apple strudel at your hotel breakfast, all have been inspected and blessed(-ish) by the science of safety, quality, sensory, and processing. But don’t get me wrong, these two professions are getting ever more intermingled and every year it seems like the line blurs more and more. You see, us food scientists need to listen to nutritionists to make our products more attractive and more healthy. That’s the trend nowadays: food needs to be healthy. No matter what. In my situation, I work for a popular health and wellness company and I talk to nutritionists daily to make sure my protein bars are low in sugar and high in protein, while maintaining taste, not decaying rapidly or turning as hard as a rock. I also love talking to nutritionists about which and how much fiber I can use without causing the next sewage blockage of 2016! And again, most nutritionists understand that certain things are needed to make our food taste better or last longer and I suggest really talking to someone who is actually a dietician the next time you hear a food is bad for you. Not your aunt. Unless your aunt is a nutritionist. Most bloggers who tout the media on stuff used in the food industry don’t really have the credentials to stake claims they make. I’m not naming names, but you see it all the time on social media how a blogger who as a major influencer can convince even the largest of companies not to put certain ingredients into their products. As an old professor used to say, “It’s not the poison, it’s the dose”. You can overdose on water, sugar, caffeine, and aspartame but science has proven through 100's of studies, they are OK in the recommended doses. There are millions of tests that the government mandates that tell people what’s safe and what’s not safe and in what amounts.
Final Question: Do you get free food every day in your job?
Short answer: yes Long answer: As long as you don’t work in a microbiology lab or you’re allergic to peanuts in a peanut factory, you will get free food. When I worked at a slaughterhouse for turkeys, I got a lot of free deli meat from the other plants. One time, I got steaks for a dollar a pound. When I worked at a granola bar factory, I ate granola bars for breakfast every day. My current job at a health and wellness company means I get free Whey Powder, pre-workout, and meal replacement bars. I don’t buy groceries. I would say the best perk in a food related job is the fact that you are guaranteed free food. It’s just how the industry works. Defects are going to be thrown away so you’re either going to get it for free or super cheap. So the next time you meet a food scientist, tell them you know what they do. The next time your cousin is choosing majors for college and you notice he loves food a lot, mention food science as an option. The next time you go to a grocery store, think about what goes in a food that uses good old fashion, science. Thank you for listening to episode 5. I hope you enjoyed this little lecture. Let me know what interests you. As always, sign up for our email list, like foodgrads on facebook, rate us high on itunes, leave a comment, and share with your friends. If you show interest in being interviewed, know someone who would be a great interviewee, or just really want to help out like I did, make sure to email us at  
Jun 20, 2016
This episode's a funny one, I interview Food Technologist Taryn Yee (no relation) from Albertsons/Safeway and we reminisce on the good times and get kind of obsessed with Pad Thai. About Albertsons (from Wikipedia): In January 2015, Albertsons acquired Safeway Inc. for $9.2 billion. The newly merged company has more than 2,200 stores and over 250,000 employees, which makes it the second largest supermarket chain in North America after Kroger, which has 2,424 stores. Prior to the merger it had 1,075 supermarkets located in 29 U.S. states under 12 different banners. Its predecessor company, Albertsons, Inc., was sold to Albertsons LLC (a Cerberus Capital Management-led consortium), CVS Pharmacy, and SuperValu Inc. in 2006. CVS acquired the freestanding drugstores while the Cerberus-led consortium (Albertsons LLC) and Supervalu (New Albertsons, Inc.) divided the supermarket divisions among themselves. After selling the majority of its stores to various buyers, in January 2013, Albertsons LLC, acquired SuperValu's remaining Albertsons stores, as well as its ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw's and Star Market brands, in exchange for $100 million in cash and $3.2 Billion in SuperValu debt. The sale was completed by March 2013. The company's corporate name was Albertson's until 2002, when the apostrophe was removed. About Taryn Taryn has her Bachelors in Food Science and a Masters in Dairy Science from Cal Poly. She’s worked in a bunch of companies including Albertsons, Land o Lakes, startups and restaurant jobs. She was very involved in college and you should also be involved in college! Key Takeaways -What are Copackers -Why the Food Science Major is really fun -Acronyms in the Food Industry What We Talk About Mama Papa Luthuanian Cuisine Alameda Library Albertsons Safeway The Deal Copacking Cal Poly San Luis Obispo  Building 24 Masters of Professional Studies (Dairy) IFTSA Disney Competition Land o Lakes Condensed Butter Monster Energy Red Cups from Starbucks  Natural Color vs Artificial Giant Microwaves How microwaves work A watched pot never boils  If you give a mouse a cookie Chopsticks – How to use chopsticks Training chopsticks Pad Thai – Fish sauce, Malagang root, tamarind Mango Sticky Rice Download Episode
Jun 12, 2016
So today we are going to talk about consulting (kind of). Consulting happens when you have a bunch of connections and they know you are good at what you do. In Brian’s case, he works for a consulting company called the Helmsman Group a company many organizations trust to launch their food products for retail sales. About the Company:
At The Helmsman Group, we look at the big picture to understand how our recommendations will affect the company as a whole. We strive to offer you the best advice not just for the present, but that will also grow with your business far into the future. While we strive to understand the implications for every action on your company as a whole, we are meticulous in our attention to detail to ensure that there are no loose ends as we work through all changes with your organization.
About Brian Chau Taken from the Helmsman Group Website
Brian serves as Food Technologist for The Helmsman Group. He handles product development, quality, food safety and regulatory aspects for client projects. By taking client feedback, he will serve to make client ideas become reality and ensure the product falls under regulations and food safety parameters. His research and development experience draws from his time at Mattson and Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and his quality assurance experience stems from his work at Kerry Ingredients. His alma mater is the University of California, Davis where he earned his Food Science and Technology degree, HACCP certification and ServeSafe Food Handler's Certificate. He earned an opportunity to travel to Japan to intern at Kagawa University for Food Toxicology and Technology during the summer of 2013. Any time is Chau Time, as long as Brian Chau is here. Food scientist, fungal fanatic and charismatic chemist, at your service. Brian is very passionate about fungi, having come up with his own fungal puns because mushrooms are not to be truffled with. Aside from fungal hobbies, Brian is an assistant editor to the NCIFT Hornblower and an educator having been a tutor for 8 years and a volunteer teacher for Stanford SPLASH program for 3 sessions.
What We Talk About Serendipity UC Davis  That tea from dubai  Mushrooms in a box   Expo West  Lorrie Colwin Eating with Friends and Talking about Eating Morelles  Candy Caps Driscoll’s Chicken Adobo Curry Dandelion Chocolates Quebec Canada Soylent Download Episode
Jun 12, 2016
In this episode, I will be talking to my good friend Trevor Fast on why he likes chocolate so much and what happens when you follow your passion. About Dandelion Chocolates: Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District of San Francisco.
We opened our workshop out of a lifetime love of chocolate. Our friends often said that given enough time, it seemed inevitable that one of us would open a chocolate factory. They watched as we experimented with growing small cacao plants in our apartments, pan roasted beans in the oven, and ate our way through the many of the chocolate shops of the world. In early 2010, we decided to share our craft chocolate with our friends and family and have expanded since. Currently, in our factory in the Mission district of San Francisco, we roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch, and temper small batches of beans and then mold and package each bar by hand. By sourcing high quality beans and carefully crafting tiny batches, we try to bring out the individual flavors and nuances of each bean. We’re excited to bring artisan bean-to-bar chocolate back to the bay area. Like many, we miss Scharffen Berger now that they moved east to join Hershey’s. We lost our local source for cocoa nibs and some of our favorite bars of dark chocolate. We hope and aspire to take over where others have left off and bring quality, local chocolate back to the area.
About Trevor Fast: This interview within Dandelion speaks for itself:  We’d like you to meet Trevor, one of our lead chocolate makers who has an endless supply of corny jokes and puns that we never hesitate to steal and use as our own.  Q: What is your superpower? A: The ability to tell jokes. Q: Tell me your best joke. A: How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?  Q: How many? A: Ten tickles. Q: (pause) That’s your best joke? A: No. It’s one of my best jokes. Q: How many do you have? A: Infinite. Q: That’s a lot of jokes.  A: Have you ever seen an elephant hiding in a tree? Q: No. A: That’s because they’re so good at it. What We Talk About: Dandelion Chocolate   Chocolate Process Winnower Melanger Bean to Bar TonKatsu Learn by Doing Cal Poly Food Science Program Cal Poly Chocolate Program Dandelion in Japan Download Episode
Jun 12, 2016

In this episode, we talk to Nicole and Juliette from about why food is so relatable and why we've decided to do something new. About Food Grads Every job seeker has a unique story to tell and we want to help them tell it. Online networking can be a powerful tool for connecting employers and job seekers. However, after working in recruitment for over a decade, we know that finding the right networking opportunities online can be tough. What’s more, attracting high quality employees is expensive, and, as a new professional, job seeking can be time consuming and frustrating, so, we created a new way for employers and job seekers to connect. Our passion and knowledge of the food sector led us to focus only on companies and professionals in food science, agribusiness, nutrition and food research. was born. We are an exclusive online community only for food professionals. Network with future employers and build your professional online profile so that employers can engage you on a whole new level and get to know the real person behind the resume. About Nicole and Juliette Nicole and Juliette are both British and they both coincidentally moved to Canada around the same time. After seeing each other on and off, they bumped into each other at a Yoga class, got talking and decided to create FoodGrads. What We Talk About: Food Science Major My Food Job Rocks ReBar Twitter Linkedin Radical Remissions by Kelly Turner - Jamie Oliver Simon Sineck  Ratatoullie Stilton Cheese

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Jun 12, 2016

Why does your Food Job Rock? This and many other food related questions are the things we ask the passionate people we interview here. This podcast is to celebrate the people who make our food and show aspects of the food industry people don’t really think about. It recognizes the unsung heroes that make your food what it is today. I’ll be saying a small blurb at the beginning of each episode about updates going around and about the people we interview. If you are interested in the many career options in the food industry, this podcast is for you. We not only show you what people do, but why they love what they’re doing. You are going to realize, that these are people who truly love food and are so proud to be in this industry. Whether it’s chocolate, butter, granola bars or bacon, you will see a first hand, personal experience on what these passionate people do for a living. The jobs, ranging from managers to chefs to writers, each put their own little ingredient in the boiling pot which is the food industry. We interview young people straight out of college, and older people who’ve had a couple years in the industry, and then some retired people who still do their work with food. This podcast would not be possible with the help of an amazing company called FoodGrads. If you are truly interested in not only learning about the food industry, but also have the opportunity to get a job in the industry, be sure to go to their website at I’ll be seeing you guys every Monday early in the morning. We have plenty of channels you can download this but always make sure to check the FoodGrads blog as the kind of central hub for this podcast.

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