Culinary Flavors and Trends

August 5th, 2011

If wine pairing is about Harmony (balance) or Contrast (opposite), cooking is Harmony and Contrast. Everybody knows about the four basic flavors: sour, bitter, sweet and salty. You can also add spicy and others…

Alain Ducasse, famous French Chef, always says: create a dish with no more than 2 or 3 flavors.

Let´s take an example: fish, lime and asparagus. Fish match very well with a butter lime sauce, served with asparagus (bitter). A good Chef would not mix too many flavors “Too much flavor kills the flavor.”  Why add spices, ginger or herbs, if you do not feel it in mouth?  Palate development is such a long training. We usually say in France: to become a wine expert you need 15 years of professional daily tastings. This is also true for a Chef as well, meaning visits with local producers and markets taste everything while cooking (even raw products), and remembering.

Question: A good Chef, when creating a dish, is in his “own world.” Do you believe the customer understands the meaning of the dish? Do you think the chef should present the plate and explain it?

Food Trends:

¬  Eat local “From the Farm to the Plate”

¬  Eating Organic

¬  Light Fare

¬  Less salt while cooking. Rock salt is more and more popular, and it is amazing with dark chocolate!

¬  Food and Design. More creativity in presentations. Very strong influence in Canada and Denmark (Noma, Denmark, has been named this year the Best Restaurant of the World.)

¬  A spicy touch on each plate, like ginger, wasabi or Tabasco (even with desserts!)

¬  Ethnic cuisine gets bigger and bigger

¬  Finger food and half portions allow the customers to taste more and pay less

¬  Slow Cooking

¬  Gastro Pub’s

¬  The Chef’s Table

Hervé Laurent, Master French Chef and Director of School of Culinary Arts – Central America spent twenty years working with most famous chefs of Europe and ten years teaching in 3 of the world’s most famous cooking schools, including Le Cordon Bleu and the Bocuse Institute. Email: Hervé is on the Advisory Board of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association and a Member.