There's no accounting for taste, they say, but it turns out they might be wrong about that. Charles Michel, a food scientist and 'flavour perception' expert at Oxford University in the UK says he's come up with the formula for what he calls "the multisensory perfectly balanced burger".
Multisensory… huh? According to Michel, it's not enough to combine traditional sweet and savoury flavours and hope they pack enough punch to make a great cow sandwich. You've got to think bigger than that.
"Science has shown that deliciousness is a perception created by our brains with stimulation coming from all the senses, and not only a sensation happening in our mouth," he said in a statement to the press. "We actually 'taste' food with all of our senses and it is scientifically inaccurate to just think about the taste of foods when discussing deliciousness."
To get the most out of a burger, apparently we need to simultaneously appreciate it with five of our senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. It sounds a little crazy, but Michel ought to know what he's talking about. In addition to being a researcher at Oxford University's Crossmodal Research Laboratory, he's also their chef in residence, and has previously worked in Michelin-starred restaurants. This guy gets flavour.
We've posted the full recipe below if you can't wait to get started, but suffice it to say that the perfectly balanced burger is not an unambitious bread roll, nor something you can easily slap together in just a few minutes. Following Michel's exacting requirements involves creating a nine-layer burger in a pre-determined sequence to maximise sensory impact and effect.
Examples: your "sonic veggies" layer needs to be positioned above and one layer removed from your "crunchy layer"; you will need to apply two different sauces (chipotle and ketchup) at opposite ends of the burger, and that's in addition to some essential "splashes" of soy and BBQ sauce seasoning for your Wagyu patty. For cheese you'll need two separate slices of Camembert, warm and "melted directly on the meat".
And don't think you'll be serving this thing up on a plate, either. Michel says your burger – which needs to be a mouth-sized 7 cm high so you can taste all the layers at once – will hold its structure better and maintain moisture if offered in food wrapping. And, of course, no cutlery please.