Why the same dish may taste different when different chefs cook it.
many times have you cooked a steak or sautéed one of your favorite cuts
of meat and felt it may have tasted better the time before, or perhaps this time
was the best it's been? It may not be the meat but instead the Maillard
reaction doing it's own game. The Maillard
reaction , a complex reaction between sugars and amino acids, produces hundred
of aromatic, flavorful by products. The Maillard reaction is not limited to meat
or fish but to all foods that contain protein.
main problem is that the Maillard reaction is both time and temperature dependent.
This makes it nearly impossible to produce the exact same products every time
the dish a cooked. For the expert chef who is keen on handling time and temperature,
and knows what to look for when cooking, the taste may not be much different from
one dish to another. However, to the home cook or beginning chef who does not
take into account such variables as: change in meat thickness, time for searing,
flame intensity etc., major differences from one dish to another can occur.
may not only be due to Maillard reaction but to Caramelization
which occurs when sugar is heated. As with the Maillard reaction numerous complex
products are formed with many different flavors.
food prevents the Maillard reaction
is a foe to the Maillard reaction; it lowers the temperature of the system and
greatly minimizes the reaction.
high heat may not guarantee flavorful Maillard reaction products if too much water
is released from food. A classic example is shown below when mushrooms are sautéed
using the same intensity of heat.
natural mushroom flavor but lacking depth and complexity
meaty and complex flavors
Portabello mushrooms were sautéed using olive oil over a medium-high flame
in both cases. Crowding the pan as well as moving the mushrooms around will yield
moisture from the mushrooms. This will lower the temperature and prevent proper
browning (left side). When the mushrooms are allowed to sit in an uncrowded environment,
water will evaporate and browning will occur. The end result is a golden, meaty,
tasting mushroom thanks to a combination of Maillard and Caramelization reactions.
Portabello Mushrooms shown with Market Pheasant Sausage and Bitter Greens
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the Maillard Reaction is time and temperature dependent the flavors of mushroom
cooked over an oven flame are different, as is the appearance.|
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