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The Maillard reaction is the chemical process that is responsible for changes in the flavor, color, and nutritive value of foods upon cooking. It is also the process by which mutagenic compounds form. In 1912, at the University of Nancy, French biochemist Louis-Camille Maillard, building on the work of the German chemist Emil Fischer and the brewing expert Arthur Robert Ling, discovered the reason why cooked food tasted good to human diners. The most common methods of heating foods not only raised temperature, but also produced flavor changes:

• The main method of browning was grilling, which altered the surface by infusing smoke and flavor and developing a crisp crust.