Career Conversations: The secret to becoming a flavourist

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What’s the secret to having a successful career as a flavourist? Marie Wright, Chief Global Flavourist at food processing corporation ADM, says it’s all about passion.

In this episode of the Career Conversations series, she reveals all to Elisa Roche about how she rose through the ranks to become one of the best flavourists in the world.

And, although she says there are many elements to forging a successful career, passion, grit, and a desire to keep learning will get you a long way: “It’s important that you don’t ever get to a position where you say I’m there now, I don’t need to learn anymore.”

Marie’s job involves helping brands to create new flavours from scratch, or recreating complicated flavours that excite the senses. But how do you go about doing that?

She says a good analogy for her job is a perfumer, creating tastes and flavours for food.

She grew up in the UK, now lives in America, and was influenced by her Turkish father and Italian mother’s cooking. All of which stood her in good stead for the career she chose.

“I didn’t grow up in a traditional way from a food perspective,” she says. “I feel very lucky.”

And being a flavourist isn’t the sort of thing you can pick up overnight. In fact, you can’t really study to become a flavourist in the conventional way, you need to go through years of training on the job.

ADM runs a mentoring programme and it takes seven years to complete. Luckily for us, Marie founded the programme and gives us some top tips on what she looks for in potential candidates.

Listen to the full episode to find out what Marie thinks makes a good leader, why you don’t need to choose between the arts and sciences, and why a good sense of humour is a must for anyone starting out.

Marie Wright, President, Creation, Design & Development and Chief Global Flavourist, ADM

Marie manages a team of over 500 people, including 400 scientists, 70 flavourists and 12 chefs.

As a transformational leader with extensive technical marketing and global technical management experience, Marie drives creative ingenuity with her team to deliver ground-breaking flavour solutions that satisfy tastes all over the world.

Among the industry’s most prolific flavour creators, Marie has developed well over 2,500 flavours for the world’s leading CPG, private label and quick serve food companies for products ranging from plant-based burgers, to candy, snack bars, hard seltzers and more.

Whereas most flavourists specialize in one of sweet or savoury, Marie is a cross-category flavourist capable of making any type of flavour – sweet, fruit or savoury – across all market segments in foods and beverages alike.

She also formulates flavours for the nutraceutical space, creating taste-pleasing products with functional health and wellness benefits.

Marie studied Food Science and Chemistry at King’s College London, graduating with Honours First Class.

Her commitment to sharing knowledge is highlighted in the chapter ‘Creating elegant flavors’ of John Wright’s world-renowned book, Flavor Creation.

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