For most people who have ever been taught to cook, whether it was from a family member or in culinary school, you learned early on that you need to taste your food as you are preparing it. You know that before you plan to serve a dish to a customer, you need to have system in place where you or someone on your staff is in charge of food tasting. Please note; I don’t mean eat from off the pass as some consumers presume you do, stealing a fry from time to time. That’s not how it works.
Why It’s Important To Have A Food Tasting System
So why is this such an important tip for food truck owners and their staff members? What does a food tasting system provide?
- Quality Control. When you taste your own food you are using quality control during and after the dish’s production.
- Better Product Description. A food tasting system allows you and your employees to speak in detail to how the product was created and the ingredients used in its creation.
- Build Staff Testimonials. The final and maybe most important reason you and your staff need to have food tasting system is a matter of truth in sales. How bad is it if you or your staff members can’t honestly pitch your menu if you don’t taste and enjoy each of your menu items?
Unfortunately, this is a common problem in the food service industry as a whole. When a chef doesn’t taste the food during preparation and/or a serving staff that has never eaten the food you risk serving a poorly seasoned, or even poorly tasting food item. It’s simple enough to avoid this problem by consistently tasting your menu items while you are preparing them. If you do take this simple step, you’ll help protect your food truck brand.
As a chef you learn very quickly to mentally assemble a flavor profile from tasting ingredients. For example if you serve pasta dishes, taste your pasta water every once in a while. I taste the sauce. Ask one of your cooks to fry you up a small piece of something and see if the seasoning worked. From those individual tastes you will get a good idea if we’re on the right track.
Make sure to cook a version of everything on your menu at least once a month and make everyone on your staff taste it. Your staff need to learn how you want something to look, taste, and feel. Not only that, but you get to keep a check on your own expectations.
The Bottom Line
As someone with culinary training, when I cook, I taste. As a food truck owner you need to do the same. You need to expect your cooks to do this as well. Take a disposable spoon and try that sauce, try that puree, try everything. Ideally you have our production system down to the point where every dish tastes the same as every other dish they made from that batch of ingredients. By tasting you and your staff will also learn what you can do to streamline the mise en place and prep more, and where you can dial back at the finishing and ramp it up in prep.
Unlike baking, cooking is an inexact science. You must try to get as close to perfection with consistency of flavor, but without small corrections you can’t do it, so you need to check and adjust with food tasting.