Recipe Tester: Food Development Done Right

With so many recipes appearing on food packaging, in magazines pages, and even in a checkout lane rack, how can one be so sure they will turn out tasty? The sole purpose of a recipe tester – a person with plenty of culinary experience - is to ensure that written recipes are accurate and deliver the exact flavors and appearance required. 

The Role of the Recipe Tester
Recipe testers stand in for the home cook, making sure that the instructions given will deliver a delicious dish. They are careful to follow the same path as an ordinary cook by reading the recipe, shopping for the required ingredients, and preparing the food exactly as written using ordinary kitchen equipment.

Testers may run into challenges that have to be taken into account such as cooking altitudes, ingredient omissions, or even errors in the directions. They will confer with the recipe writer by clarifying ingredient choices, measurements, or even cooking techniques so that everything is correctly tweaked, changed or noted in the recipe.

Where the Recipe Tester Can Be Found
Food manufacturers maintain test kitchens so that testers can prepare the recipes and give immediate feedback about the cooking process and end result. It is imperative that the recipe looks and tastes exactly as intended with understandable directions. If the recipe calls for additional ingredients produced by the company, the tester needs to be sure they are available to the market where the product is sold.

Food magazines and cookbook publishers also require testers to prepare specific dishes and give vital feedback before they go to print.  Their knowledge and expertise come in handy if they know certain ingredients are unavailable to certain markets, or if different ingredients, measurements and temperature settings listed in the recipe are not working out.  They rely heavily on testers to ensure that the instructions and ingredients listed result in a tasty and appealing dish, just like the pictures.

Education and Training of a Recipe Tester
Training in a culinary and food science program helps equip students with the skills to understand how cooking times, weights, volumes, temperatures, altitudes and various ingredients function together to create a perfect dish. Because food testers must have a honed palate to know how foods should look and taste when cooked properly, a culinary school can help with the proper foundational training.  Recipe Tasters usually have an extraordinary amount of culinary experience.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Boston for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.