A Lesson A Day : The 5 Flavours (27/11/2021)

clear glass jars filled with cereals

Cooking food and creating culinary delights can be a very insightful journey for every chef and cook regardless of your sector.

Whether you’re at home or in a commercial kitchen, you’ll spend hours working and developing your dishes to taste perfect and be pleasant on your palate.
Probably the most important thing in making food taste good is the flavour and seasonings we put into/on the food.

Most of us are familiar to salt & pepper accompanying most table setups, and we’ll have likely have poured ketchup or garlic mayo over our greasy takeaway. All these things add flavour to the end of the dish and help us enjoy the food in front of us.

At the base of all these condiments are the ‘base 5 flavours of food’ that every hospitality worker should understand to help maximize their foods capabilities.

The 5 Basic Flavours

The 5 basic flavours can be remembered by thinking of the “4 S’s” & “U”:

Salt – Other than the obvious sea salt, foods such as Bacon & Fish sauce can add a layer of salt to a dish
Sweet – Sugar is the obvious answer, but honey and fruits act as natural sugar which can add a layer of depth to a dish
Sour – Citrus fruits are a great example of sour, but also Vinegar’s are an alternative sour that can be added
Spice – Pepper is the obvious choice, but foods such as chilli & ginger can spice a dish up as well as a large number of dried curry powders
Unami – Translates from the term “A pleasant savoury taste” is the aspect of any dish that gives it/enhances the target flavour. The number of foods that can fall under Unami is vast and includes things such as Cheese & Dairy, Mushrooms, Meats, Fish, Vegetables.

As with anything in food, Balance is key. Too much of one flavour can ruin a dish. Part of your whole creating process should focus around how you can maximize your flavour options.

A good example of how to demonstrate this is making a hot chocolate and adding a small amount of salt. Salt balances any bitterness of chocolate and creates a depth of flavour.

Another example is making a bland salted tomato soup (just so it’s seasoned with enough salt and not too salty), And then boiling equal quantities of Sugar and vinegar together to create a Gastrique. Use the gastrique to season the soup and create a depth of flavour that balances the tomato flavour.

Most important is to continue your development and experiment with dishes and flavours to maximize their potential.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.