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Old 03-27-2006, 07:46 PM   #1
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Smoking Chefs...and seasoning

There has been some discussion about removing salt from a dish with potato.

That thread reminded me of my wife's and my observation that if the chef smokes, (cigarettes-in this case), the food usually carries more salt than we want.

Anyone else detect that smoking chefs over-salt or over-season their dishes?

As reformed smokers of 30 years ago, I guess we still notice this sort of thing. Are we alone?

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Old 03-27-2006, 07:56 PM   #2
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I have noticed this as well. I have also heard some chefs who used to smoke say that they used more salt in their food when they smoked and once they quit they cut back on the salt.
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:47 PM   #3
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My dad told me that once he stopped smoking his sense of smell and taste improved so much that he rarely used salt. He said he actually looked foward to meals after quitting and he didn't gain weight!!!

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Old 03-27-2006, 09:51 PM   #4
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THe only time I had oversalted food was when the "chef" was drunk. (yes he smoked too, but that wasn't the problem) Sometimes the food service folks at school get carried away, but that's not the case of a chef smoking, but carelessness, and failure to taste as one cooks.
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Old 03-27-2006, 11:25 PM   #5
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Well, my boss doesn't smoke, but, all of his food has more salt in it that I would put in. I don't know why he has to put more salt in food.
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Old 03-28-2006, 01:28 PM   #6
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I have never smoked and I like my food with more salt that the average person. Though when I cook for others I don't use as much.

And I have actually found the opposite to be true -- that when I am eating food cooked by someone I know smokes (most of the time in a restaurant, i don't know), I find the food usually needs seasoning.
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Old 03-28-2006, 01:30 PM   #7
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Never heard of or experienced this, Hopz. HH smokes like a chimney and never puts salt on his food. His BBQ is always great.
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:01 PM   #8
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smoking causes long term damage to the olfactory cells in the nose, creating an overall loss of chemosensation, thereby reducing the smokers ability to taste. so the smoking chef is unable to determine the right amount of things like salt that should go in a dish by tasting it.
i have known several smokers who remarked at how good food tastes since they'd quit.
as a teen, i knew that i could sneak past my mom (who was a smoker) if i had been drinking or smoking, but my hound nosed dad would always nail me.
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Old 03-28-2006, 02:13 PM   #9
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I smoked for four year, so it was not a very long time, but I was a pack a day for just about that whole time. I did not notice food tasting better when I quit. I was very bummed about that. I was really looking forward to that perk.

I agree with BT though, that is usually the cause when a smoking chef over salts food.
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Old 03-31-2006, 11:01 PM   #10
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They have been doing research on taste perception and smoking going back to at least 1930, if not before, and the answer seems to be .... it depends on the individual. While smoking may depress taste sensations for some - it heightened it in others. Unfortunately, there was no breakdown as to which taste sensations were altered.

More recent studies have shown that there is a greater, and longer lasting, dulling of taste sensation from the high levels of capsaicin in hot chile peppers than smoking!

I know that in my extended family experience (grandma, mom and dad, 2 uncles and aunts) that smoking had nothing to do with how much salt went into the food. Nobody in the family smoked except for 1 uncle - and he never added salt unless it was something that was so underseasoned that everybody was adding salt. My other uncle, who didn't smoke, added salt to everything ... the family joke was that he salted his salt!

I smoke and use very little salt - except for a few things where I want an extra salty taste.
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