Seasoning Food before it leaves the kitchen

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by veritasnl, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. veritasnl

    veritasnl

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    Hi all,

    Just had a huge argument with one of the other cooks. We serve breakfast at our guesthouse/hotel, and in all my previous restaurants we lived by the adagio that all the food being served must be well seasoned.

    Now, we make fried, scrambled eggs and omelets for breakfast. The old lady saw me putting some salt on the eggs after having cooked them, and she yelled: 'why do you do that?!' She told me people want to have it without salt, so they can decide for themselves whether to put salt on their eggs.

    Maybe it's an Australian thing, I don't know....In Holland no food left the kitchen unseasoned. What do you guys think is the 'proper' way of serving eggs?
     
  2. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    The proper way to serve anything is to serve it the way you want it to taste to the customer. You don't leave customers to season their own food unless you work in a market where people want unseasoned food. If your seasoning isn't to the liking of the customer, they won't eat there. One thing is for sure though, you should be better at seasoning food than your customer, and customers don't go to restaurants to season food. They go to get food that tastes good before it gets to their table. If you have a large elderly clientele, it might make sense to offer a sodium free preparation option, but that shouldn't be the default unless the market demands it.

    Your coworker sounds like the type of cook you see getting yelled at by Robert Irvine every week.
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm on a sodium restriction. Ideally there would be a conversation with the guest when the order is placed if a particular level of an ingredient should be adjusted.
     
  4. brandon odell

    brandon odell

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    I can respect the challenges of a sodium restriction, but I think its asking for trouble to expect servers to be able to interpret, record and communicate varying degrees of seasoning for every customer. Too many opportunities for mistakes when you encourage guests to explain how they want their food seasoned. Better to serve it how you serve it and honor any requests to leave off salt.

    If a kitchen is cooking from scratch and not overseasoning, there shouldn't be any issues for people on sodium restrictions. A 2000mg, or even 1200mg sodium intake diet leaves a lot of room for seasoning scratch made foods. Thats something we deal with regularly in my business. Unfortunately though, I realize that processed and overseasoned foods are more the norm than scratch made foods and sodium is a real issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    What was the argument about, you didn't reveal that.

    In this particular situation I would have turned to the lady and said "pardon me ma'am, I'm following the chef's instructions" and help guide her to the chef.  You could also offer to make her a fresh omelette without seasoning, it wouldn't be a big deal.

    Lastly, she was way out of line and sounds like gripy old hen.  As far as I know, a restaurant serves food that is seasoned.  If I had a restriction of some sort I would feel it is MY responsibility to make it known to the server.  For example, sometimes we go out for brunch and it is relatively common for the toast to arrive already butter.  Hubby and I order the toast and make sure to mention that we want the toast to be dry.  I don't go all in a tiff and say "how dare you, people should be allowed to put on their own butter" what a terrible angry state I'd be in if I blew up in anger every time I went out to brunch when it can so easily be avoided.

    Regarding salt specifically, I am quite tolerant of a heavy hand in seasoning and I do like my food to be salty indeed.  So when I am presented with food that is too salty I feel like it is my duty to say so to the server.  Basically, if it's too salty for me then they have messed up big time lol.
     
  6. cerise

    cerise Banned

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    Welcome to CT. You pose an interesting question - to salt, or not to salt.  I can see both sides of the coin.

    Are there S&P shakers on the tables? ;-)

    One of the things I enjoy about dining out, is letting someone else do the cooking. If I like the dish, I will probably return.

    IMO, one shouldn't "hold" a Chef's hand, be rude or dictate how a dish is prepared.  However, as a consumer/customer, I also feel it's my responsibility to read the menu carefully; and state beforehand any special requests, dietary & allergy concerns prior to ordering . Also, I always state how I want my steak cooked - med, rare, or well done. It sounds like you "seasoned" the dish after the fact.  But, as a chef, isn't that your call & what you are being paid to do by the establishment? It's a slippery slope.

    More & more eating establishments are including nutritional value, ingredient lists etc., on the menu. For the first time, in about two decades, labels' nutritional value are being updated.

    Personally, I'm not a huge salt fan.  Not because of dietary reasons, it's just over used (IMO), I like to taste my food, & it's a conscious healthier choice, for me.  My eye goes directly to Sodium content when I read labels. Again, it's a slippery slope. :)

    Edit:  Age is really irrelevant. 
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  7. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I very much agree with that. Maybe the client wasn't rude but simply ignorant. There are restaurants that refuse to put salt and pepper on the table...  it's like saying to the chef that he's not able to season correctly.

    Also, I noticed many times in hotels that some guests use extra salt and pepper even before they even tasted their eggs! Sighhhh...
     
  8. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    >> We serve breakfast at our guesthouse/hotel,
    >>The old lady saw me putting some salt
    >> I'm following the chef's instructions

    could just be me, but I got the impression from my first, and second, reading "The old lady" is the operator/chef/owner?.....

    which is not to say a sprinkle of salt / fgp on fried eggs would be out of order.....in my kitchen.....
     
  9. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Unless the customer requests all food should be seasoned. And, I believe it is during cooking it has the greatest impact. Salting at the end should be simply for minor adjustments.
     
  10. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Everything leaves seasoned properly in the way the Chef wants it. (ie. it might be chili-salt or some other combo or type instead of plain salt)  

    If someone wants no-salt, they request it and the kitchen accommodates.

    I have worked at a couple of places that did not season things before sending them out - claiming the customer can decide.

    Most of them didn't last very long as the food was almost always seen as bland and boring. 

    (most customers have no idea wrt seasoning)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  11. dillbert

    dillbert Banned

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    hmmm.  accepted truth, with possible exceptions . . . like "salting eggs / omelet makes it toughen during cooking"  ??

    dunno.  too many old wives tales.
     
  12. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    @Dillbert  I have never believe that it toughens eggs. I would be curious to know what @Harold McGee  says on that subject. When I worked the breakfast line at the Four Seasons many years ago we seasoned everyone of those omelets unless told not to by the guest. In fact we seasoned everything. Even when we tossed a salad we seasoned it. Salt does it's magic in the pan/pot. 
     
  13. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Remember seasoning food, doesn't have to mean dumping salt into / onto it blindly.   Technique will dictate when it is seasoned, but it should never go out without, maybe just a tiny bit or even no added salt if the dish is comprised of salty ingredients.

    There are always going to be exceptions in life.   Scrambled eggs may be as you mentioned one - in that you add salt at the end.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2014
  14. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Indeed.  On those rare occasions Karen and I do go out to eat, she can easily pick out oversalted food.  And some other things, as well.  Maybe she has learned a thing or two after eating my cooking for nearly 30 years :)

    mjb.
     
  15. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    That is a dietary reason and there's no shame in that.  I don't know if it's my age (late 30s) or what but nowadays when I have too much salt I feel terribly bloated and exhausted by thirst.  Hubby doesn't like salt and I usually keep it at a very minimum when cooking.  But I do end up salting my plate because of it and I have a good mind to stop doing that all together.  Then I'll become a mean old lady at restaurants yelling at servers about how salty the food is lol.

    Anyway, I do hear that when you go off salt for sometime your tastebuds adapt.