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David Kinch at the 2010 Chefs' Holidays at The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite

Manresa's David Kinch Wants You to Season Properly

This week, I attended the first session of the 25th annual Chefs' Holidays, a monthlong culinary event that takes place at The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, CA, each Winter. The celebrity chef-studded affair, which included kitchen tours, cooking lessons, and a blowout gala dinner, proved to be as educational as it was recreational.

One of the highlights was a cooking demonstration led by headliner David Kinch. The James Beard-nominated chef (who defeated Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America!) is the brainchild behind Manresa, the Los Gatos, CA-based restaurant at the forefront of California cuisine. But despite his haute background, Kinch focused much of his lesson on one simple principle: season properly. Learn the chef's rules for seasoning when you read more.

  • Always be conscious about seasoning when you're cooking. "Food is salted mindlessly; professional chefs don't always put a lot of thought into it," Kinch said. "You shouldn't taste the salt in your food — it should just make everything round."
  • Because salt develops complex flavors as it's being cooked, salt in very little quantities, and salt often.
  • Never add pepper at the beginning of a recipe. Pepper will burn quickly and add an acrid flavor to a dish.
  • Since conventional table salt is three times saltier than its kosher counterpart, David prefers to cook with the more delicately-flavored kosher salt.
  • Know the properties of different kinds of salt. For example, while kosher salt dissolves instantly, fleur de sel maintains a nice crunch, making it ideal as a finishing salt.

What steps do you take to ensure that your food is properly salted?

sham28 sham28 7 years
Mmmmm salty paste :)
Spectra Spectra 7 years
My strategy is usually to salt often and to not use much when I do. That way, it gets distributed and absorbed into the food. Also, never underestimate the power of salting rice, pasta, etc. Those foods are inherently bland and need some salt. My mother-in-law uses NO salt when she cooks and the food tastes like paste. So then I have to put salt on it at the table and it tastes like salty paste. Seasoning as you go is most definitely the key.
Food Food 7 years
"Rock on my friend" — no pun intended, right? ;-)
Food Food 7 years
The event is awesome. Has anyone eaten at Manresa? I am positively dying to go there!
Rancher'sGirl Rancher'sGirl 7 years
I am a teensy bit envious! I have wanted to attend this event for years! The salting suggestions you posted are great. I use kosher salt and add small pinches a little at a time.
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