Get a Whiff of New 'Flavor' Exhibit at Brooklyn's MOFAD

The city's newest museum is all about food and its first exhibit takes a look at the industry that shapes the taste of everything edible. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

Taking a whiff from a machine and letting you experience a variety of aromas from the food world is part of an exhibit appropriately titled Flavor, making it and faking it.

"Whenever you sit down to eat, it's pretty much a certainty in what you're eating has been adjusted by the flavor industry," said Museum of Food and Drink Executive Director Peter Kim.

It's the debut exhibit for the Museum of Food and Drink's new lab space on Bayard Street in Williamsburg. Previously the museum existed through pop-up exhibits and programs. 

Founder Dave Arnold hosts a radio show about cooking and owns a cocktail bar. He says a space for the museum has been in the works for more than a decade - before food and drink was his even his job. 

"I had no credentials in the food world proper. So my entire career in the food world is so that we can have a museum like this," Arnold said.

Of course, visitors are not only going to smell flavor at MOFAD, they can taste it too.

The vanilla story is told there and while one may think that's the least exciting of the flavors, think again.

"It was an incredibly rare ingredient. Takes a lot of labor and particular conditions to grow vanilla. And the very first sort of flavorists, they discovered they could copy the flavor of vanilla through this chemical vanillan, which can be found in anything from pine trees to paper pulp," Kim said.

The lab will host the exhibit through February 28. Along the way there will be a variety of related programs like food science demos and a pickling workshop. The folks behind it all call it an appetizer for what they hope will be a full course meal of a museum. 

"First our lab, then our larger museum and then hopefully before I die a much larger museum," Arnold said.

For more information, visit mofad.org.

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