What Marcus Samuelsson Learned From Leah Chase About Tasting Food

Marcus Samuelsson's path to world-famous chef is inspiring but what is even more amazing about this celebrity chef is his willingness to share what he has learned with others. Samuelsson taught Adrienne Cheatham about soul food, helping her to interpret this love language and add her own twist to it. The "Chopped" chef also has shared his 11 best cooking tips for home chefs and cooks, making the culinary world more accessible to both the pro and the novice.

But when Samuelsson isn't giving advice, he isn't afraid to learn from others a take a little bit himself. During an episode of "Seat at the Table," Samuelsson revealed the best tips he has learned from other chefs and they are worth committing to memory. One of the most practical pieces of advice was served up was by the Queen of Creole Cuisine herself, Leah Chase. Chase is New Orleans culinary royalty: She served as the inspiration for Tiana in the Disney film, "The Princess and the Frog," and while she passed away in 2019, her Dooky Chase's Restaurant remains a must-stop if you are rolling through the city. So, what pearls of wisdom did Chase pass along to Samuelsson? 

Tasting to eat

Samuelsson shared on "Seat at the Table" that Chase told him that before he adds any condiments or salt and pepper, he needs to taste his food. The cookbook author explained that incredible Chase taught him not to put hot sauce on his fried chicken before he actually sinks his teeth into the succulent meat. Samuelsson further explained that if you don't take a bite before adding these extra flavors, you won't know what your dish is truly missing. The only way to know is to taste it before altering what your taste buds will experience with it naked.

Tasting food before adjusting seasoning is common practice amongst chefs; It helps them ensure there is a balance between complimenting and competing flavors. But tasting as you cook is a little different from tasting to eat. Samuelsson uses hot sauce as an example and notes that this fiery condiment, by nature, is spicy, and can overpower the taste of the fried chicken he is about to enjoy. 

By tasting food before changing it in any way, you are able to savor its flavor and discern if you truly need that extra something to enhance its taste.