Cooking Schools Teach Sensibility

A cooking school in Graham, North Carolina took on a sense-itive topic recently.

Alamance Community College is trying to teach cooking students the sense of taste, but it is not something they can learn from a book.

People go to cooking school to learn how about food, cooking methods, and even presentation styles for all sorts of cuisine. What we don’t hear much about, however, is how cooking school students know if the meal they have prepared tastes good – or not.

Enter Chef-Instructor Doris Schomberg from the cooking school at Alamance Community College. She recently said in a new report by The Times News, “You can learn flavor, but I can’t teach it. I can’t jump in your body and taste it for you.” Wait, so how do cooking schools teach future chefs how to taste food?

It seems simple enough, but having a well-tuned palate is equivalent to a musician who can hear when his instrument is out of tune. Schomberg told her students that “there are people who work on it all their life and still can’t get it”. She says the problem for many in cooking school isn’t their palate, but their nose.

We all know that being able to taste food depends on being able to smell food, otherwise we would eat better while sick with a head cold. But some people in cooking school were born without the fortune of being able to smell things as they really are, as potent as they are.

This is why cooking schools teach a multi-mode method of tasting foods. Taste is fundamentally about flavors – the products and spices used when creating the dish. So the first step is to combine complimenting flavors. However, taste is also about texture, temperature, timing, and general acceptance of the food. In other words, don’t serve warm pork with cold apple glaze – it just won’t “taste” good. It has to be complimentary in temperature, served fresh and with appealing textures.