Food Debate question

276
18
Joined May 2, 2003
Hello, here is a petition for opinions from seasoned chefs:

The other night I went to a well known Italian restaurant that gets great reviews. However, the dish I had last night (ravioli stuffed with ricotta, gorgonzola, provolone and parmesan cheeses--topped with an asparagus cream sauce) did not impress me. The cream sauce by itself was delicious. The stuffing of the ravioli, by itself, was flavorful. The pasta was a little bland but well cooked. And the asparagus was very fresh and good. But when I would take a bite of the ravioli with the sauce, all I tasted was the blue-cheesy flavor from the ravioli stuffing. This overpowered the sauce and made it feel more like a white gravy. Also, the blandness of the pasta itself stood out even more. Then lastly, after swallowing, you would finally get a taste of the asparagus. Again, by themselves, each item was great! But together, there was never a combined flavor that made the dish great, nor did the strengths of any of the individual items stand out.

So my questions for debate are these: I appreciate the fact that individually, each item was delicious, but am I wrong for thinking that each item should compliment the other to create one great flavor? Or shouldn't the food have something linking their flavors together? What does chef training or cooking schools say about this?

Thanks!
 
149
10
Joined Nov 17, 2002
I had just gotten into this conversation with a culinary student about components on a plate...

My opinion is that simple food is by far the best, if you are going to add a bunch of components, then all of the components must marry well...

I love to create new fusions and have flavors chase each other around with our tastebuds, preferrably one following the next and sometimes this is hard to achieve...

In defense of the creator of this dish, I am assuming that he had the same mind set, with having the other cheeses and the cream sauce mellowing out the flavor of the gorgonzola because it really is a very strong cheese. My guess would be he did not taste the dish in an overall palate, or perhaps he had someone prepping it and got a little gonzo with the gorzo...don't know, I haven't tasted the dish, nor do I know the chef so this would be hard to answer.

My choice is to limit the amount of components, and this is just preference, have a protein that is really flavorful and accent the dish with a light sauce to compliment the protein...

Just my opinion,
Cheffy
 
177
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Joined Aug 14, 2000
When developing a dish, the main flavor profile should be considered. That is, what is the main over riding flavor that you want to come through? Is is the Gorgonzola or the Asparagus, or whatever? Once the main flavor is established, the other flavors should compliment, not compete for it. A common mistake cooks make is by over seasoning. Have you ever had a stew or roasted meat that when you first put it in your mouth and the first thing you experience is rosemary? You should taste the meat first, the rosemary flavor should follow. Hope that makes some sense.
 
149
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Joined Nov 17, 2002
Michael...

I agree 159%

I just came from unichef...gotta question for ya, that came to mind while reading your stuff...

Bird Spice....not a lot of people know of this pepper, and oh my God...what a flavor and what a whallop....

Have you ever heard of Jamacian Bird Spice? I was wondering if the Jamician Bird Spice was different than traditional bird spice...I have used both and they are equally as hot, but have a different flavor and your site was the first place I have seen it mentioned in a very long time...one of those forgotten chiles thanks to America's bastardization of Spanish Cuisines...

Just a thought,
Cheffy
 
149
10
Joined Nov 17, 2002
Well it seems like we have re-kindled an interest in Cheffy...I will look it up sometime today, my thought is that they are all in the same family, but I know that Bird Spice and the Jamacian have different flavors and just the name "Thai Bird Spice" scares me...LOL...

Reminds me of the time I told my wife to eat a tepin after I told her they weren't hot....LOL

Will research it and start another post, I think I got off the beaten track of the original post...

Michael
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
rurias1, hello. IMHO learning harmony among ingredients is a skill that requires many hours of hands-on that many cooks or chefs learn through experimentaion; the guest being the ginnie-pig and hopefully an opinion with knowledge enough to help and not confuse us, some guest offer opions that make a cook wonder pointlessly. I agree that simple is better and one flavor should stand out, while the rest play delicate rolls in the accompany of the dish and or entire meal. Leaving the guest well satisfied but tantilized and curious of that second or third flavor.
 

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