The people who have a direct impact on what Americans eat recently tested the taste of soy for themselves.
A soy workshop during a north-central regional meeting of the Research Chefs Association May 11 drew 24 attendees to the Dunwoody Baking Center at Minneapolis, MN.

Cargill, Inc., Minneapolis, co-sponsored the event along with the Sunrich Food Group, Hope, MN. The research chefs included representatives from The Schwan Food Co., Marshall, MN; Tyson Foods, Inc., Fayetteville, AR; Northwestern Foods, Inc., St. Paul, MN; and The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, MI.

Before the event, many of the chefs primarily thought of soy as the main ingredient in soy sauce, according to Daniele Karleskind, who works in soy protein applications for Cargill.

“Beyond that, they said soy is just not an ingredient that is at the top of their minds,” she continued. “But as they’ve seen the increase of the awareness of soy health benefits, they’re very intrigued by it.”

The research chefs that day created soy menu items and/or products in four areas: pasta, tortillas, multiprepared foods and soups, and desserts and beverages.

The pasta creations were experiments in low-carb applications. One had a full 42 g of carbohydrates per serving. Another pasta serving had 36 g of carbohydrates and 6.25 g of soy, which could qualify it for an FDA health claim. Two other pastas featured 20 g and 10 g of carbohydrates per serving.

Some amount of semolina was found in each kind of pasta, although cutting the carbohydrate level always meant removing semolina, which then was replaced with other ingredients. The more protein added to the pasta, the darker its color became, according to Ann Stark, who works in Cargill’s soy applications group with an emphasis on baking.

In tortilla applications, the research chefs reduced the carbohydrates by 50% and ended up with 12 g of net carbohydrates and 3 g of soy per serving. The tortilla experiments then turned more creative. The chefs tried out various flavors such as coffee and chocolate.

“Typically, they did not feel comfortable using soy because soy equates bad flavor,” Ms. Karleskind said of the chefs. “However, they were all quite impressed with what they could do and taste.”