It was my first day of work at General Foods Research. I was in my entry interview with my new boss, Gary Henderson.
“We know you have a solid background in Chemistry but it would help you to know more about Food Science. We are going to put you in a laboratory with Cliff Dunlop. He has a Masters in Food Science from UBC and there will likely be a synergy between you.”
So I was off to the lab, anticipating my newfound collaboration with a “real” food scientist. When I got there to meet Cliff, the first thing I noticed about him was that he was covered from head to toe in chocolate syrup. His lab coat saved him, but he looked like The Great Speckled Bird.
Turns out he was mixing chocolate syrup in a metal beaker using a paddle mixer. The mixer had a variable speed control. Cliff turned up the speed but nothing was happening. After maxing out the control, he noticed that it wasn’t switched on. So he flipped the switch. Immediately the mixer started at warp speed and blew chocolate syrup all over the lab. My first assignment as a collaborator was to help him clean up.
From our first encounter, we had fun. Cliff approached each technical problem with a combination of theoretical acumen and practical good sense. He solved some tough problems and had a few impossible projects – the laws of thermodynamics stopped him more than once. He always had a wry sense of humor and loved practical jokes. His favorite TV show was “All in the Family.”
Being a left coaster, Cliff and his family decamped from Cobourg in the early 70s to return to Vancouver. I missed him, but Maria and I had a chance to visit the Dunlops in Richmond BC in 1973. We got the best tour ever of the Lower Mainland, not to mention learning about Black Russians.
Cliff went on to a career with a bakery ingredients supplier, an actual large bakery, and ended up working as a Production Manager with T J Lipton in the early 90s. So after a good 20 years, we ended up working in the same company again.
In his later years, Cliff had an excellent blog commenting on Food Science issues. He never lost his edge.
His health suffered as he grew older. He had kidney problems that required a couple of transplants. He had to take anti-rejection drugs so his immunity was low.
In November, Cliff and Willie went on holiday to Hawaii. He contracted COVID, and because he was immunocompromised he didn’t have much chance to fight it. He passed away on Dec 5, 2021.
I have lost a great friend, and the world has lost a great man. RIP.