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Taste,Taste,Taste and Taste Again

Monday, February 22, 2010

In this post I want to emphasise the importance of tasting your food!!

It might sound strange to have me say that but you wont believe how often I have to say it. Maybe I like the sound of my own voice, yeah right, you better F.R.O now before I kick your arse too. Why do chefs forget to season or worse forget to taste. Is it down to lack of concentration, to repetitive cooking of the same dish, don't give a toss attitude, it'll be alright chef, or what is it.

I put it down to a couple of reasons. First the chef has to enjoy what they do. By this I mean they have to like to cook!! and not just the odd fish dish or cake now and then, a full-time profession, day in day out. Also the chefs need to be made aware of the importance of taste, you grow to learn taste and flavours, we were not born with the taste of oysters in the mouth or the distinct flavour of ginger. So we have to learn them. How can we learn if we don't taste.

Just the other day I was able to take the night off, well I did just work from 8am to 5pm so I thought I would come in for dinner. We had started a new menu a couple of weeks back and I thought it would be a good idea to see and read and taste it from the other side, the dark side.

All dressed up and smelling nice, wifey and I head out for dinner. We were sat at a table next to friends of mine who just happened to be dinning out. They commented on the menu and food throughout the evening. It was just for that reason that the following took place.

Main meals were being consumed, or should I say not consumed!!!

The waitress asked if all was fine with the meals, and the response was great apart from one dish.

Now just imagine this. The chef of the restaurant is sat in his dinning room eating from his menu having his chefs prepare and cook those dishes. All sounds great, something to be proud of. Well somebody forgot to tell those fucking chefs in the kitchen to have their wits about them and buck the fuck up or you will get your arse roasted.

Back at the table the young lady replies 'I think its a bit salty'.
All shy and embarrassed to say anything, not just because she felt it salty or because I was sat at the next table, but generally she would not be one to complain.

I overheard the conversation, as I do, I try not to miss a thing. I turn and enquire, salty she said, can I try, and so I was given the bowl of pasta.
Holy cow, it was not salty it was bloody salty. You could stand your fork up in the salt. Only after one spoon-full I could feel the inside of my mouth on fire with salt, a real aggressive attack.

It was at this point that I was beginning to rage and with the manager who had just joined us for a drink present that didn't improve the situation.

The waitress took the pasta back to the kitchen, and within seconds the evidence was in the bin. This was not known to me at the time. I proceed to the kitchen, to find a little clarity on this awful situation. Only to see the lost looks on the kitchen team faces.

Did you taste the pasta I shout, where is the plate? In the bin chef. What the fuck. So you didn't try it? Where is the pan, that's got nothing left in it.
Now I find the smallest pot in the kitchen with some pasta left in it. I immediately know what's happened. I taste the water. I am not kidding you when I say that you could float anything on it. You could kill somebody with that saltiness.

The worse thing is not that the water was salty, it is that the food was not tasted at any time during the production of this pasta dish. How fucking stupid is that, nevertheless I did get back to my table and enjoy the rest of my one opportunity out.

I can understand that things get missed now and then, after all we are not cooking for Michelin stars or any accolades, we are just trying to produce good food using the best produce that we can get, for normal people in a small town.
But not to TASTE, TASTE, TASTE, is not fucking acceptable......

P.S I don't expect it to happen again in the near future........


Hellraiser said...

I believe that any so called chef who sends any dish at any time without having previously tasted it, should be shot in the head as a favour to all of us who slave day in, night out year after year to achieve taste sensations! It is, after all, why we cook, is it not?

You fucking Rock Star Retards, who think you know it all, can just one of you tell me the 4 basic taste sensations without looking at a book or going to Google? I don't fucking think so!

Ranting Chef, keep kicking arse and don't let the turkeys drag you down!

Anonymous said...

Good advice! A chef or cook needs to taste what is going out to the guest. Good call on eating where you work on a day off to see how it goes on a night off.

ranting chef said...

Hellraiser, I would have run out of bullets along time ago.....

Waiter Extraordinaire, It was a chef many years ago that told me to experience your own restaurant as a patron, and observe. He would do it on a regular basis, unfortunately I don't have that luxury but after this attempt maybe I am the fortunate one.....needless to say it was one of the finest dinning rooms in the country.

Anonymous said...

What about all those "tasting the food" calories?

Hellraiser said...

Occupational hazzard, such is life, if you want to be at the top, you have to know what you're serving.

Anonymous said...

I learnt this lesson early on as an apprentice, being shown how to make a bisque from a Chef de Partie. He told me to taste, and I thought it was a bit salty, but didn't say anything, not to offend the said chef. The Exec came over and tasted it too, then walked casually over to another part of the kitchen, grabbed a kitchen spoon, plunged it into the salt bin, came back and shoved it in the de Parties face with the quote, "Want a spoonful of Bisque you fucking idiot?!" I never wanted to be on the receiving end of that.

Also had an incident a couple of weeks back where a young chef served a risotto and the guest complained that the rice was undercooked. Upon finding out, I questioned the lad, "did you taste it?" "Yes" was the reply. "Well", I said, "what did you think?" He said, "I think it was a bit underdone". Then why the fuck did you serve it???!!!! What's worse??


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