The Three Principles and the Symphony of Flavors.
When I decided to become a chef, I understood that cooking for the public comes with great responsibility. I contemplated my options before opening the doors of my first little restaurant. I decided that my new journey’s priority should be about a culinary exploration of new tastes. My initial thoughts were to focus on three principles: I wanted my food to be Fresh, to be Wholesome, and to have Character. I was not so naive as to think that amidst the grueling, high-pace restaurant activity, I would have the time to perfect all my goals at first. My dilemma was how much you compromise while trying to maintain your principals. I was confident that I could manage the freshness, that was the most natural part. I defined wholesomeness to be about healthy, nutritious foods. I understood that this was an ongoing process since the research about foods was updated continuously. I also realized that to develop the character of my foods would be a never-ending process. My definition of “food character” included the essence of flavors and the perception of tastes. Research in those days was difficult. After the long daily shifts in the kitchen, there was not much time to spend on research. I had to rely on experience and memories, what I had learned working in restaurants, and what I remembered growing up. It is a fact that the behavior of each food changes according to what it is blended with. Balancing the flavors of foods is an old trade. In book II, On the Soul, Aristotle discusses the perception of taste. He establishes four basic tastes that the tongue is sensitive to sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. In my opinion, those are the four tastes that allow you to balance food flavors. Early Hippocratic doctors, following their teacher’s theories, practiced a healthy diet as a form of medicinal treatment and the maintenance of good health. The ancient doctors emphasized that their patients use local resources to prepare simple, flavorful foods. Fruits and vegetables that were particularly potent with intense flavors were considered to be a reflection of nutrition value. The ones with a milder taste were important for the body as well but needed flavoring. Therefore, balancing the flavors of foods became a culinary issue.
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