“Please, Pass The Salt!” by MDC

Since I work with the public in the Front of the House in a NYC restaurant,  I come in contact with many different types of people. As you would expect, some of those guests have particular ideas about how to eat the foods that they are presented. Some like it hot and some not, but as a condiment salt is still the king. When a customer’s dish arrives in front of them, they are engulfed in the aromas that the chef has spent many hours coaxing out of the freshest ingredients. It is no secret that 80% of the flavor is hidden in the smell of the food and if it smells good then it probably tastes good too.  So why then do some people want to reach for the salt automatically and sprinkle it over the foods that they are about to consume? In many fine restaurants there is no salt or pepper on the table at all, which requires the guest to ask the waiter for them. This tactic is designed to make the guest think twice about adding unnecessary components to the finished product. The rule that works best for me is to always taste the food before you make the decision to add any extra seasoning. When cooking, eating or creating the ultimate dining experience, one must rely heavily on all five senses. You can be certain as a diner, that if the chef has taken the time to make a the plate look and smell beautiful, then chances are that he has also taken the time to marry the flavors to make everything taste beautiful too. When I learned how to cook at the French Culinary Institute, the instructors always stressed the importance of the layering of flavors and taking the time to properly season the ingredients throughout the cooking process. They also told us to taste everything that we would be putting on the plate before serving the dish. This important technique is used by every chef to protect the integrity of his cooking reputation and to ensure the highest quality of each and every dish that leaves the kitchen. Tasting your food before you dive right in might seem like a simple rule to follow, but next time you’re out for a meal look around the dining room and you’ll be surprised at how many people will season then eat. My advice to all of you salt fanatics is: Let the chef do the work, sit back and enjoy being in the hands of a trained food technician at practicing at the apex of his craft or start eating at better places!


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