Today we had a lecture on flavors – a terrific topic for our first week of culinary school.
Understanding flavor has been something of interest to me for a little while now (see this post on flavor). Nevertheless, I have a long way to go in educating my palate and improving my skills as a taster. It was very encouraging to hear Chef Alex, who was very close to earning a slot in the last Top Chef season, say that you can teach your palate through conscious eating and food exploration. It sounds fun, but it seems to require a real sense of purpose and focus.
We practiced this focus by experiencing several tastings in sequence: apples, apples with salt, apples with sugar, tomato, mushroom broths, etc. We practiced using descriptive words: earthy, grassy, cool, crisp, etc. To be proper culinarians we will have to cultivate our abilities to draw others in with verbal descriptions of food.
Below: A couple of the tastings from today’s class.