Taste Everything

Every cook on the SugarToad line has a set of Kunz spoons. Next to their knives, these are possibly their most important tool. Why provide the spoons? Now that’s opening up Pandora’s box.

I want them to taste every single thing that goes out. From some people, I just heard a collective gasp. But guess what? We take a bite of your food before you get it. Oh, you liked that risotto? Me, too – it was delicious. Enjoy!

If this bothers you, get over it. It truly is for your benefit, and believe me, I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten at some restaurants where the cooks don’t taste, and I haven’t been back. To put the “Howie Mandels” at ease, the spoons are kept in sanitized water that’s replenished multiple times during service.

Tasting your food is an essential part of our evening. Chefs want to know that the balance of the dish is right on. We are constantly teetering on the edge of under and over seasoned. Perhaps the dish needs a little acid to brighten it, but I don’t know until I taste it. We are pursuing that finite middle where all the world is right for that dish.

To that end, consider recipes . A big difference between the home cook and those of us who cook for a living is the approach to recipes. We could have the exact same recipe and come up with entirely different results.

Why is that? A big part of it is how we finish the dish. Many recipes call for “season to taste” as the final step. But this last instruction is so understated that its importance often becomes lost.

These are huge teaching moments in a restaurant kitchen. The cooks and I will literally gather around the stove and taste a soup. Here, the fine tuning begins. We add a pinch of salt and then taste. Maybe we add a capful of vinegar to brighten the flavors. Taste. Too bright, let’s splash in a touch of cream. Get it?

These are the types of things that make a good soup, memorable and perhaps even great. Perhaps recipes should finish with “Season, Taste, Ponder, Adjust, and Serve.”

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