Palate memory and creating dishes

Do you recall the first time you bite into a strawberry? The flavor profile of that strawberry is permanently imprinted in your taste bud. This all begins when you are a child as you consumed different food and its ingredients. You start recognizing the flavor of a single component that is working in synergy with other ingredients to create a harmonized dish. A well- balanced dish can be composed of the cooking technique, its contrast to sweet, salty, bitter, spicy, acidic and umami. Like in wine people often describe the notes that they taste in a varietal just like in food.
My creative process is usually started with the main ingredient and building components to enhance it. I think about food pairings, for example, strawberry with balsamic vinegar goes very well together. Another one is tomato and basil, a classic combination. One of the dishes I recently came up with is a mango and green papaya salad. With this dish, there are two main ingredients that I focus on. Within mind that the dish well has a Southeast Asian flavor profile. I start with creating a dressing for this salad by using fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar and, Thai chili. Adding on components like a cherry tomato, cashews, mint and, cilantro. This dish has a well- rounded flavor as each ingredient plays off one another. You get the saltiness and umami from the fish sauce, the spicy distinction of the Thai chili, the sweetness from the mango and palm sugar and acidity from the lime juice. it is all there, layers of flavor with fresh herbs and the nutty taste of cashews.
From my own experience some dishes work out well and some don’t. Some dishes evolve as I apply and subtract things here and there until I like the final result.
So go out there and work on your masterpiece dish. I know it is not easy but with practice, a good palate memory and the right technique, you will succeed.

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