Why Does Restaurant Food Taste Better Than Home Cooking?

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Chef Tasting Food

There is a distinct difference between the food that we make in our kitchen as opposed to the food that we buy at restaurants. Why does their food always seem to taste better even when they are making simple meals?

Well the answer to this is simpler than you might think. The goal of restaurants is to ensure their food tastes good enough for you to return and possibly order it again. This means the foods will come with a lot more extra salt, which is actually the prime thing that makes food taste better.

When we are cooking our food at home we think probably adding a few dashes of salt will help to enhance the taste, but never using large amounts of salt to actually get the results we need.

Restaurants use heavy amounts of fats and salts to achieve the desired taste. This is why the food at restaurants often have higher levels of fats and sodium than the food that we make at home.

To prove this even further, I examined 2 different popular chicken restaurants locally to find out how much salt each of them used for seasoning their chicken. For the purpose of distinguishing the 2 apart from each other in this post, we will call them “Restaurant A” and “Restaurant B”.

Restaurant A used very large amounts of salt to marinate their chicken 24 hours prior to it getting cooked. Basically, the amount of salt was definitely not what the typical person cooking home cooked meals would ever think to use. Honestly the chicken tasted very good by itself, even though they had plenty of sauces to go along with it if I decided to eat it with some. It had that flavor that stuck with you after you ate it, and made you crave more later.

Beforehand I thought it must have been some kind of flurry of ingredients used to accomplish this secret taste that no one could acquire at home. The secret ingredient was more salt for the most part.

Then I went to Restaurant B to see how much salt they used to season the same amount of chicken for the same amount of time. Restaurant B used way less salt than A to season and marinate their chicken in. They used about the amount that you would say is the typical amount that you would expect the average person at home to use for that amount.

When I tasted their chicken, it was nearly tasteless compared to Restaurant A’s heavily salted chicken. The sauce they provided was a must to eat the chicken with, because of the lack of flavor.

The chicken beforehand wasn’t pre-seasoned for either of the restaurants. They marinated it in salt, put it in flour, and then threw it in the fryer.

How To Make Your Food Taste Like The Restaurants

Instead of adding more varieties of herbs and spices like Ratatouille, try simply adding more salt and using more oil when cooking. Herbs and spices are nice, but it’s really the salt that does the most to enhance the taste in more ways than you might know.

Of course, there is a such thing as having too much salt, but with whatever you are cooking, it’s great experimenting to see what that limit is. If you really want to achieve a restaurant quality taste in your home, this is something you should do. Find the limits on how much salt is good, and then start to add in some herbs/spices to compliment the taste.

Don’t be ashamed to use more salts. The restaurants aren’t! Salt is a seasoning just like the herbs and spices used in the kitchen too. Oil is also a seasoning. When cooking vegetables, instead of using a tablespoon of oil, you may need to use a lot more to achieve the good flavor of the restaurants that cook the same vegetables.

Using canola oil or vegetable oil can get the job done, just don’t over-think it. For most of us it is our way of thinking when it comes to cooking that keeps us from making tasty food like restaurants. We would never think to use what we already have in a different way, but instead would think, there has to be something we didn’t add.

Restaurants often make the foods you love repeatedly for other customers, which means that they end up over time coming up with the most efficient way to do this. This might be taking a huge pot and throwing all the ingredients into it. Of course, if they do this, they are not going to use just a few tablespoons of oil or salt.

If you think they like they do, cooking food like they do will get easier.

Making Other Foods Taste Better That Don’t Require Salt

Ok. So let’s say that the food you tried at the restaurant definitely doesn’t need more salt or oil. Why? Well, because it was a cake or a dessert. Of course they didn’t throw a ton of salt in it right?

The answer again is the same formula but a different solution. The ingredient here to experiment with is more sugars. The fact is that restaurants when making sweet foods for you to buy and eat, are using way more sweets than you think they are.

The amount of sugars found in their desserts is very high. For instance, a sweet tea might be the drink that keeps you coming back to your favorite restaurant buying that same tea. It might be the only spot you can find with tea that good. So you think..

The truth is that they may just add a tad bit more sugar than everyone else. The tea packets they are using to make the tea might still be the same generic tea bags that every other restaurant is using to save money.

For other foods that aren’t desserts, like macaroni for example, adding more of the things that typically just taste good by itself that are already in mac n cheese may make it taste better. For this one it would be more cheese.

You might be surprised to find out that all they are doing is adding a lot more cheese than you. The cheese they are using may be the same cheese you use (cheddar cheese), just way more.

Some of the desserts they make may use heaps of whip cream to make it taste better, while you just throw on a little bit on the top for decoration.

Restaurants will often find the one thing that works to make an old or new dish taste better, and really just douse it with gasoline with the purpose of starting a fire in your taste buds.

If it is a piece of chocolate cake, they might make it the same way you would, but just douse it with chocolate syrup too. I mean it is chocolate after all right? More can’t hurt if they already like it.

Thinking outside of the box is what restaurants have to do when they have to make food for a living.

Another thing that you may not consider is that sometimes finding out how they made/cooked it isn’t the problem. This means that the solution could be as simple as finding the supplier outside of their company that is providing them the cookies you keep buying from them.

Maybe they aren’t making that food or dessert at all, but rather getting it from somewhere and just simply preparing it. One restaurant I encountered had cheesecake as the main ingredient for their signature desserts that everyone was buying. They bought the whole cheesecake from another company and just simply cut it up and added it to the dessert.

All in all, this will give you some ways to make your food taste like the restaurants when preparing your similar foods at home. Of course, sometimes there is that secret in ingredient that you are missing, but probably not as often as you would think.

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