On World Taste and Smell Day, Sept. 14, the New York-based World Taste & Smell Association launched a #DeliciousForAll Culinary Challenge to encourage chefs, food industry leaders, and consumers to consider the unique needs and preferences of individuals with taste and smell disorders.
“The driving force behind this competition is to spotlight how each sense contributes to the joy of eating and drinking,” said Brad Barnes, Certified Master Chef and #DeliciousForAll Chairman. “Our mission is to build an inclusive culinary landscape that caters to all, including those with taste and smell impairments. We invite you to join us on this flavorful journey, celebrating diverse culinary perspectives as we seek multi-sensory, delectable recipes that everyone can savor, regardless of their sensory abilities.”
The challenge’s panel includes globally renowned triple-starred Michelin chef Kyle Connaughton, “MasterChef” winner Dara Yu, Certified Master Chef Rich Rosendale, Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ winners Odd Strandbakken and Alyssa Heid of Four Season Hotels, Derek Brown (Champion of zero-proof drinks), and more.
“While there are numerous resources available for crafting multi-sensory dishes, simplicity is key in this context,” said Dan Vinh, CMO of the Culinary Institute of America and World Taste & Smell Association Board Member. “We aim to trigger cherished memories for individuals with taste and smell impairments by embracing straightforward ingredients and techniques. The #DeliciousForAll Culinary Challenge is about setting an inclusive table—especially during the holiday season and amid cold/flu/COVID times. We want everyone to relish Thanksgiving and holiday meals. The goal isn’t to make every dish universally loved, although that would be ideal. Instead, it’s about offering something for everyone to enjoy at the table.”
In addition to the culinary competition, the Coalition of Culinary Experts for #DeliciousForAll will continue to promote research, share resources, and collaborate with medical professionals and advocacy groups with the goal of building more understanding and empathy within the food industry.
“We believe it’s essential to recognize that millions of people silently experience temporary or permanent taste and smell loss and chemosensory distortion, and we are committed to changing this by creating awareness, kindness, and advocating for a more inclusive dining experience,” said Mindy Yang, sensory expert, co-founder, and chief engagement officer of the World Taste & Smell Association.
Grocery retailers have an opportunity to show their shoppers who have taste and smell disorders support this holiday season by highlighting a variety of sensory experiences in their prepared foods departments and in-store bakeries.
“Unfortunately, there is significant shame and stigma attached to loss of smell or taste,” said Dan Davis, Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. “I think it’s important for those who suffer from these conditions to know that they are not alone and for others to be aware of the challenges they face.”