Inside the Industry
Interview with Tanya Jeradechachai, Vice President of Ingredient Solutions R&D
She may stay away from the kitchen at home, but her passion for cereal chemistry and food science is part of a serious recipe for R&D at MGP.
Meet Tanya Jeradechachai.
Why do you do what you do?
I initially wanted to become a wine or cheesemaker, but it all changed after making my first loaf of bread. The feel of the dough, the smell of fermented and baked bread changed me. I do what I do because I have a lot of passion for cereal chemistry and food science.
What part of your job do you consider crucial that others might overlook?
I have to keep abreast of the latest technological information, regulations, and trends. R&D needs to have a long-term vision for the company. We need the information to understand the market and see where we can add value.
When you're home cooking, what album do you listen to?
I usually listen to news, e-books, or podcasts. I just finished listening to Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I usually read non-fiction books, but Andy Weir’s books are interesting. He puts a lot of work into making science accurate in a science fiction novel.
What's your favorite dinner?
Any ethnic food.
What blog, podcast, website or book do you go to for education on the industry?
I read food industry magazines like Milling and Baking News, Food Business News, Food Technology, and Baking & Snack. I also read scientific journals to keep up to date on new findings.
Who has had the most influence on your career?
Definitely, my predecessor Dr. Ody Maningat. I first met him at the IFT meeting when I was just starting out, and throughout my career, he has helped me grow personally and as a scientist. Dr. Ody is very kind and a great teacher. I never would have thought that I would get to succeed him and get to work with him closely, even in my wildest dreams.
What has been the most rewarding part of your time at MGP?
I love it when I can solve problems for our internal and external customers.
What's the biggest difference in food science today versus when you started?
Innovation around plant protein is much different now than when I started. Plant protein was not a trend or a buzzword then. There are now more studies around the methods of making functional plant proteins and plant-based meat using novel protein sources, fermentation, cultured cell, 3D printing, and others.
What's the biggest misconception about your job and MGP?
When people hear that I work in a food ingredient company, they often think that I’m a cook. I can bake anything, but cooking is not my forte. My husband get anxious when he sees me in the kitchen.
What is something great about MGP that no one knows about?
Each of MGP’s ingredients are very well studied. We have clinical studies, third party research, and several patents behind our products. We are the pioneer in making resistant starch type 4 (Fibersym), and wheat protein isolates (Arise) in the market! We also have been making textured proteins for the plant-based meat since the 1990s.