Close your eyes and describe a flavor. Then ask Edlong Senior Flavor Lab Technician Mario Jez to give it a whirl. There’s no doubt he’d amaze you with his spot-on technical expertise. Find out what happens in Mario’s day, the most extraordinary part of his job, his happy butter flavor memory and more. Meet Mario:
Senior Flavor Lab Technician
Joined Edlong in June 2012
How would you describe your typical day?
Every morning I select one or two flavor compounds for sensory evaluation and share them with R&D’s chemistry review group. We collaborate on the profile terms and compare them to a professional tasting panel. We also discuss applications for each flavor compound. Then it’s back to the lab, working on developing flavors. I make adjustments to formulas. I continually refresh and build my flavor library by tasting flavor compounds so I can better recognize nuances, identify flavors, enhance overall perception and create new flavors.
What do you like most about working for Edlong?
I enjoy taking different finished applications—cheeses, butters, caramels, sweetened condensed milks, etc.—and constructing a flavor that tastes like the target. Breaking down each flavor characteristic in a target application is extremely difficult. And constructing an unflavored base and providing the unique flavors on top of that base to match a target application is even more challenging. And when we put all the pieces of the puzzle together, making a finished flavor in an application that works well is extraordinary.
Is there a project, application, event, etc. that sticks out in your mind or a favorite memory that you might have from your time here?
I remember working on a specific butter flavor. There were two different flavors in our customer’s bakery application, and we spent hours identifying the flavor compounds. After a few revisions, we sent them two samples. The feedback was positive, and they requested a pilot plant trial. We produced both flavors to send to the customer, and received more positive feedback. Next, we sent their pilot trials for consumer testing. Again, we received positive feedback. The customer asked for final documents, pricing and volumes for our flavors. My favorite part of this project was being able to follow the entire process flow.
How do you impact Edlong’s customers?
Edlong’s sales team communicates the customer’s project objective to R&D, and I build a flavor based on the customer’s needs. I make sure each new flavor follows the customer’s restrictions. Developing a flavor takes time. My impact on customers involves a quick and accurate turnaround on their request, from my bench top into their hands. I try my best to develop a great flavor, so the customer can start or continue their project as fast as possible.
How does your work make Edlong better?
I’m always expanding my knowledge to make Edlong better. Here’s an example. While pursuing my degree in food science and nutrition at Dominican University, I helped create a convenient dry mix for a Cheesy Veggie Bacon Quiche.
My partner, a graduate student chef from Kendall College, developed a culinary recipe with freshly grated cheese and fresh vegetables. Our goal was to match the target, with dehydrated vegetables and Edlong flavors.
Our finished formula was a hit at the Experimental Foods Industry Showcase. We successfully converted the original recipe to a dry mix that’s 50% cheaper than making the quiche from scratch, and can be prepared in under 20 minutes—a real time-saver.
I’m also involved with IFT, the Society of Flavor Chemists and the dairy industry, and continually seek new ideas for my work.
One thing your coworkers might not know about you?
I am color deficient!
Your favorite thing to do for fun?