Monday, April 14, 2008

Quality ingredients? Top chef rant.

On Top Chef (a reality chef competition show on Bravo) they had a blind taste test challenge. The chefs where blindfolded and had to choose which one was the expensive ingredient and which one was the cheap ingredient. They had expensive vs. cheap olive oil, chocolate, etc. The statistics I'm about to give are approximate, because I don't remember exactly. I believe there were 15 items and the winner correctly identified 12 expensive items out of 15. However, the vast majority of the remaining professional chefs got about half right. In case you never took any statistics, you can do that well by just guessing. What is the moral of the taste test? Top Chef will tell you that the chef who got 12 right has the best pallet. I say the moral is you don't need to buy gourmet ingredients because professional chefs tasting single ingredients side by side can't tell the difference. So, you'll never be able to tell when they are combined into a recipe. Top quality supermarket ingredients should be good enough.

1 comment:

Kristy said...

i agree with you in principle, but with one qualification: this no longer applies when one of the ingredients is actually made of something else. cheap dark chocolate vs expensive, fine, but if the "cheap" version of chocolate is half wax, filler, and soy lethicin, that's a different story. or olive oil that's actually a blend with canola. or, like your previous post, cool whip vs real whipped cream. but i know that's not what you're talking about. as long as the two ingredients are both "pure" (and one is just fancier) then yes, i think much of the time the difference is marginal. don't tell whole foods. :)