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what is the best way to train your pallet???

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
a good chef must have a good pallet so what do you think is the best way to train your pallet???
and also what do you think ( expect a good pallet ) is the foundation / a must have to be a great chef???

thxs for the opinion :D
post #2 of 12
Wine is a good trainer for your pallet. Craft beer is like the training wheels version in that the flavors are much more in-your-face and easier to notice. Whiskey is like an advance course because you have to sift through the booze and burn to get the complexity of good whiskey. With whiskey, I would recommend bourbon, not solely because I think it's better than Scotch, but also it's cheaper.

So alcohol is a good way to train:lol: just practice moderation.

While we are talking vices... cigars are also fantastic pallet trainers. Although too much can lead to damage but most the great chefs smoke so whatever.

On more of a boyscout route... coffee is much more complex when you get the good stuff and brew it correctly. I like french press but purist stick with manual brewing. Good stuff doesn't mean starbucks... they are about on board with mcdonalds now. Good stuff is usually fair trade and roasted either at high altitude, Vail Mountain Roasting Co. Vail Mountain Coffee & Tea Co. :: Home Page or done by someone who knows what he or she is doing... Zingerman's Coffee Zingerman's Coffee Company.

As far as basic food tasting: the first thing for me is proper seasoning. Taste food as you slowly increase the s&p and find out when the flavor of the food is at its fullest and then what it tastes as you add too much.

Maybe do some studying on the physiology of taste, I need more myself. But remember only 5 tastes. Sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami. After that it's in the nose. The chemical in Syrah wine that makes it taste like white pepper is (drumroll...) the same chemical that's in black pepper. So there is a lot of science that can help you understand what you're trying to taste.

I would find a food cooperative and buy a small portion of every spice they had and study their smell then try adding them to unsalted water crackers and tasting. I'm gonna go do this now that I'm recommending it to someone else.

Take some beef tips and boil some then saute some others. Taste the caramelization. Fry some onions, then caramelize some onions.

Take all those spices and see where you can go with them in a daily omellete.

As far as other qualiies of "Great Chefs": Thomas Keller says you need desire. I'd say to be great at anything you need desire? I'm sure the will and desire of Gordon Ramsay would have allowed him to overcome just about anything to get his three stars. Just look at this YouTube - Ramsay's Boiling Point E1P1 .

Let me know if this helps.
post #3 of 12
I dont agree with beer being good,most chefs and cooks lose their ability to tast salt and tend to oversalt when drinking a lot of beer. Cigarette smoking also somewhat dulls the tastebuds also.
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
how you define a lot of beer??? 3 bottle per week ??? a lot or not ??
post #5 of 12
First, make sure you're training the right thing:

pal⋅let   [pal-it] –noun
1.a bed or mattress of straw.
2.a small or makeshift bed.


pal⋅ate   [pal-it] –noun
1.Anatomy. the roof of the mouth, consisting of an anterior bony portion (hard palate) and a posterior muscular portion (soft palate) that separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity.
2.the sense of taste: a dinner to delight the palate.
3.intellectual or aesthetic taste; mental appreciation.

Second: Don't smoke.

Third: Smell everything first and start by smelling everything in its raw form. Try to identify its essential flavor profile as a mix of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and the elusive, rounded umami.
Listen to your inner guide when you do this. Does something in you proclaim "Yes, yes, yes! More!"? If you have this response, it's good and others will like it too.


-Just no munching on a bed of straw, leave that for the livestock.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #6 of 12
Cook a lot. Eat a lot of different foods. Learn new words.
post #7 of 12
Well, I would hope they're not drinking beer as they cook! :eek: :lol: And I would contend that the reason food comes out of the kitchen oversalted is that nobody tasted it, period. I worked in enough kitchens to know that in the best of them, we were trained to taste all through the process, and even before putting a dish up in the window; in general, though, not enough cooks taste what they're making.

Thanks, foodnfoto -- palate it is! ;) And your suggestions sound reasonable to me. As do Kuan's. In culinary school, we had to taste everything everything we made (unless we were allergic to something), to understand what it was all about. People were actually disciplined for refusing and saying things like, "It's too early, I don't want to taste salsa at 8:30 in the morning." :rolleyes:

Taste, smell, think. Taste, smell, think. Repeat as often as necessary.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #8 of 12
Wait, I said wine, whiskey, and beer and I got a response downing beer. What the **** is wrong with beer? I'm not talking about drinking while you cook. I mean to taste a few good beers and to try and identify, say, the undernieth chocolate flavor in a Fat Tire or the foreward grapefruit of an IPA flavored with centenial hops. I fail to see how training yourself to taste these variances would leave you oversalting food any more than tasting wine or whisky that each have more alcohol.

And a few cigars won't kill you. I don't smoke anything other than the occasional cigar but most cooks and chefs smoke. I think Batali, Bourdain (would still smoke if he was still cooking), and Marco Pierre White would all laugh at anyone who says smoking makes them less great. Bottom line... people make too big a deal out of "oh, no, you'll be less sensitive to salt!" And to me, being able to relax and enjoy a good complex cigar maybe once or twice a month (I'm poor so it's a lot less in reality) is a wonderful thing.

But for heaven's sake in the name of American squeemishness don't ever smoke or take a drink of beer or you'll die right on the spot.:rolleyes:
post #9 of 12
IMHO the best way to train your palate would be to eat the food raw, smell it raw get to know its nuances and comlpexities BEFORE you cook the flavors/minerals/oils out of them. Taste them cooked plain, whether its steamed, sauteed in soybean oil, poached, roasted or broiled so you can see what happens to them as they are cooking and when they are cooked and then finally taste them cooked and seasoned with just a touch of salt so you can see what the salt is actually doing to the food and you understand why you are salting it. This process takes you thru the progression of the foood. While I understand CookingAngy's philosophy I dont subscribe to it and thats not because I am against how you say to do it but I dont think it will lend the understanding to what you are tasting.

As far as smoking, I just quit 1 year ago next week and I will say that after about 3 months of not having a smoke I woke up one morning and it was like a cloud had been lifted and everything that I was eating was much sharper and in focus as compared to before. The flavors were all still there but they were MUCH MUCH MUCH better.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #10 of 12
Chef How, I stopped smoking after 50 years and I know the feeling. I dont have to clear my throat every 5 or 10 minutes nor do I wheez anymore I cant believe it would have made such a difference. And my cars stay a lot cleaner.
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post #11 of 12
I didn't Batali smokes. What other chefs smoke?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 12
Chefhow, terrific post. I agree that tasting product as it's exposed to different environments and conditions is essential. This was my point with the seasoning and I feel you better defined it with cooking methods. I know the first time I rested a steak in a buerre monte, I was astounded at the difference from resting it dry.

Regarding smoking, we all know it dulls your senses a bit. For this reason and the health factors, I don't partake, outside the occasional cigar. That said: "I'm amused by food nerds who say, 'I'd never eat at a restaurant where the chef smokes.' Almost all the chefs I know smoke." - Anthony Bourdain who has eaten in the finest restaurants in the world.

I think that there is a clear line between suggesting that it's conceivable to train your palate with an occasional cigar and cutting the tongue off a culinary student to laugh at him/her squirm trying to be a chef.
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