Zach Rosenthal’s chosen career path sits in the sweet spot of his two greatest loves: food and science. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Zach uses his food science degree developing tools and techniques to ensure our Green Chef boxes balance efficiency with high quality. Below, Zach talks about a food scientist’s approach to cooking and eating, the future of the food industry, and why customer experience always trumps the bottom line:
What got you started in this field in the first place?
Food has always been a big part of my life. I’ve always loved cooking, and I’ve always had a love for science. I entered college as a biology pre-med major, and my freshmen year I took a Food Science elective. I saw a list of classes, and it seemed like a pretty cool class to take. After that, I just fell in love with the subject. I ended up switching my major pretty much immediately after that class. I realized that this is what I wanted to do. This is where my passion lies. It definitely didn’t hurt that the university I went to had the #1 ranked department for Food Science.
Has being a food scientist impacted what you eat?
Oh, it definitely has changed the way I eat, just knowing what goes into making certain products. Certain sugar products you think are very natural and made in a very natural way, once you start learning about it, you realize they’re not. You realize that there’s certain things they had to do to it in order to make it a viable product.
When I walk through a grocery store now, I understand the process that goes behind making all those products. Where in the past I would walk through and just look at the label and throw it in my cart if I liked it, now I’m actually going in-depth into what the food is, looking at ingredients, figuring out how they’re making something. It’s definitely changed my perspective.
Has it changed the way you cook?
I’m really into molecular gastronomy, so using science to make cool and new foods that don’t look like foods. That’s what I enjoy. Same thing with sous vide cooking. Sous vide is a cool concept where you place your meat in a vacuum-sealed bag and you place it in a water bath at the actual temperature that you want the meat to be. And you leave it there for hours and hours until it reaches that temperature. And then you sear it on the outside, and you basically get a perfect steak every time. Those are some pretty cool concepts that I like to show people.
Do you see progress on finding natural ways to grow foods and combat disease?
Yeah, there’s research going on every day about this. That was the big focus of my senior year research project, finding natural ways to eliminate these pathogens that haven’t been thought of before. We developed a treatment for plants that was an organic, non-GMO process that had the same effect as a conventional process.
This type of research is going on in university labs all across the country as well as industry labs. The research is there, it’s happening, it’s just a matter of finding the right method that people are comfortable with.
What do you enjoy most about working with Green Chef?
Honestly, what I love most about working here is that everybody has an open mind to anything. We just have a culture here of wanting to do good by our customers. We’re willing to take any avenue available to ensure that our customers are getting a quality, safe, but wholesome, product. We’re willing to take any steps necessary to go about that.
The culture is really geared towards the customer experience rather than our bottom line, which is something I really like. We care about how our customers experience our product most of all. It’s the number one thing we care about and think about when doing our development.
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Got a question for our resident food scientist, ask Zach in the comments below!