My favorite flavour? – It’s a tough question that I can answer from a purely techno-professional point of view or simply from the heart.
The chef in me could be tempted to say that acidity would be the most important flavour in my cooking. Without it you are left with sloppy, fatty and low-impact food. Too sweet or too monotonous. We often do very simple dishes that require acidity to keep them interesting and fresh. But singling out acidity would mean not considering its context and its partners in crime that help creating complexity. Acidity is nothing without umami, salt, something fatty, something sweet or something fun. All flavours are the tools of a chefs toolbox and all of them need care and honing.
As a person I can be much more precise. A flavour can be truly magical because it can bring me back to my childhood. And nothing does that in the same way as perfume of a cooking tomato sauce. The clean, vibrant and sweet tomato flavour slowly concentrating. With addition of only a bit of garlic or basil at maximum. It is the most comforting flavour that I can think of and it brings me back to my Italian roots. Whenever I am sick or feeling down I don’t crave hot soups and junk food, I crave tomato sauce and pasta.
Christian F. Puglisi, Relae (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Related: our dinner at Relae.