Seasoning the Salad?

Joined Aug 15, 2009

My last post I was trying to figure out my work situation and I found a new job as a Pantry Chef/Cook 1. Any way at the new restaurant the Exec and Sous Chef are brand new to the restaurant. The kitchen is huge! 1 prep one for the private club and one for general guest (Ski hill Restaurant) Ok I have seen closets bigger than the last kitchen I worked.

My question is about salads. During my lunch break I went over to the Cafeteria style kitchen and ordered up a salad as my meal the girl salted my lettuce! The proceeded to add the rest of the ingredients I wanted. I sat down tried to eat my salad and then threw it out. I had to throw out the soup too it was too salty. I have never ever put salt in a salad, other than what is in the dressing/vinaigrette. I always thought it was the servers job to add pepper at most and salt shakers are on the table for the patrons. I am appalled mainly because the exec comes from a 5 star 5 diamond restaurant. I have heard the exec chef say that all salads must be seasoned. I took that to mean the dressing/vinaigrette. I then mentioned to the exec, "Chef are we supposed to be salting and peppering our salads?" He told me they should always be seasoned. I do not add any salt or pepper to the salads when I make them and have had no complaints. So am I correct? Should I do anything? Pretend to season? Every recipe I have ever read or used I always put the salt in the vinaigrette. I've tasted all the dressings/vinaigrette's and if anything less salt would be advisable.

Past experiences say its not good to challenge or to try and correct the boss.

Thanks again,

Joined May 13, 2009
Strange! Ask the sous chef, tell him you misunderstood the chef and ask again. If that fails,pour a box of salt into the chefs drink and wait..
Joined Aug 21, 2009
Good one, Rivver! I would do the same and honestly I have never ever ever heard of salting a salad before presenting it to the customer.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
When you prep a Caesar salad the salt and pepper is in the bowl a long with the other ingredients to make the dressing. I would alway let the customer apply salt and pepper on all other salads. The Chef should know the proper usage of seasonings to enhance and balance the flavor in foods. ................ChefBillyB
Joined Sep 29, 2009
Salt in every salad I've ever had or made has been contained in the dressing or in a cheese grated over top. I've never heard of salting the salad itself.
Joined Sep 23, 2009
I was taught to always season my greens as the first step to any salad. I personally like it, you don't need too much salt though.
Joined Mar 16, 2005
I've said it a lot of times (in real life, perhaps never here), but there are many ways to do something correctly. Depending on the dressing a salad can be underseasoned (especially with watery and unemulsified ones). I would personally salt only salads that have such dressings and only if the dressing tasted weak. Otherwise, just do it, or taste it first and go from there.
Joined Oct 16, 2009
I have heard of salting salads but think it is not an acceptable thing to do. Personally a salted salad tastes like salt and salad and that is something I don't like. Dressings should be seasoned accordingly and I don't mind a little sea salt on a pure tomato salad but never on lettuce. Best to let the customer add the salt themselves.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I have been written up for not salting salads as that was the KEY step as far as my Head Chef was concerned... I don't like doing it. I like pepper on my salads but understand not everyone else does and feel its just best left for the customer.
Joined Mar 16, 2005
As a cook I find that is a peculiar justification for not seasoning particular food... do you not salt french fries as they come out of the fryer? Do you not season meat during the cooking process? By that justification we should just let the customer add whatever seasonings they like to a blank canvas. They may request for things to be removed or have additional things put on it, but to not season to one's own taste (or to whatever the chef's taste is) seems sort of silly.
Joined Apr 17, 2006
I sometimes put salt and pepper on my own salad, but would never dream of doing it to someone else's for several reasons. It's not necessary, as you stated as there is salt on the table. A lot of people watch their salt intake and would probably be shocked to find it in their salad. Also, salt will wilt the greens. I don't salt french fries either for the same reason I don't salt someone's baked potato. Have never had a complaint about it either. I sometimes think salt is overused and in a kitchen where that happens it tells me the chef doesn't know how to handle other seasonings and is using salt as a substitute.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
No you are not correct. As you can see here there are differing opinions on this subject, but the only one you should care about is your chef's opinion. Whether right or wrong he's the chef and you are a cook. It is your job to do it the way he asked it to be done. You've even asked him about it and he said to salt it, so do as he asks. While it is okay to question your chef and the things he does it is never okay to not prepare something the way he wants it prepared. Someday, when you have your own kitchen you can make those decisions until then you need to do what your chef asks. I once fired a cook, because he wouldn't season anything. His response was that he didn't like salt and felt that the customers could season things themselves. Since he felt he could make decisions about how to prepare my food he was asked to leave.
Joined Sep 16, 2009
I agree with you pete, you got nothing to do against the chef but for me I rather throw some suggestion than correcting chef's opinion.
Joined Oct 3, 2006
Depends on the ingredients and dressing of the salad.

Standard procedure for us is to add a pinch of pepper for every salad. These get dressed with a heavier dressing like caesar or vinaigrette.

We have one salad that gets dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar. The one gets salt & pepper, and imo, is a critical part of that salad.
Joined May 14, 1999
I always salt my salads... always.

I think it was in the French Laundry cookbook where Thomas Keller said that it takes ten-years for a cook to learn how to properly season food. I am sure he is right about that. It may be that the pantry girl is following directives without having developed matching skills for those directives. Just because someone screws up the application it does not follow that the direction is incorrect.
Joined Apr 17, 2006
You said you couldn't eat the salad due to the saltiness. If you are not especially salt sensitive, then I would guess everyone else would have the same problem. Are there any complaints from patrons? Is the girl who made your salad new? If customers are complaining and no one is listening, then I would suggest the chef order and eat one of those salads. If I were him, I would have someone else go through the line and order it so there is no special attention paid to it. If he is satisfied that it is being made as it should, then I would say yes, mind your own business. If he's wrong, business will drop off and he will find that out.
Joined Sep 26, 2009
My wife is Spanish and likes to add salt to salad, I thinks it's disgusting! I've never in 25 years of professional cooking added salt to salad, to dressings-yes; the leaves-no,no,no!
Joined Oct 27, 2009
I was taught to add salt to almost everything, including salads and sweets, not because you want to taste the salt, but because salt stimulates another part of your pallette and makes the food taste better as a result. Also, salt releases flavors from food that could not be released without it. This is also why I season my stocks as well. They do not taste salty but they have a richer flavor.

In my opinion, salt is the quintissential seasoning. For me, simplicity is best. I find in most cases salt is all I need to bring out the flavor of an ingredient. If you can perfect salting you're probably half way there to zen master. I find it to be very tricky business. I often think that something is good, and then another cook will add some salt and bam 100x better. I do not think it is a crutch. If you season right you shouldn't be masking the ingredient. I think a lot of other seasonings, even pepper, do a lot of masking and don't allow you to taste the food.
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