Fresh Is Best
So, I know that there was an episode on one of those shows that David Chang did, but I wanted to elaborate on it as well. Because I really agree with what he said and the common misconception that “Fresh is always best”. Yes, fresh is best when talking about fresh, raw seafood like oysters and many other things are delicious when they are fresh. But, there are many things that are better when they are “old”. Take preservation for instance, things that have been smoked, aged, pickled and canned develop more depth of flavour.
Cheese. Fresh cheese is very good. Things like mozzarella and fromage frais are delicious and have many uses. They pale in comparison to a 48 month Parmegiano Reggiano, a five year old cheddar, or a 36 month Comte. The list goes on. Aging cheese develops flavour and intensity.
Dry aged meat. Dry aging meat creates a flavour that some people don’t like. Aging anything is essentially controlled spoilage to achieve a desired flavour. It has kind of a blue cheese and funk quality that to me almost is “beefier”. One of the down sides of dry aging meat is that you do lose a certain amount of it as you have to cut off the mould and dry outer layer. This results in it being more expensive and time consuming. But, I think it’s worth it.
Fermentation. Beer, wine, whiskey, dill pickles, miso paste, fish sauce, the list goes on. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have beer over porridge, wine over grape juice, dill pickles over cucumbers, and miso paste over soy beans. But, I’ve been wrong once before so whatever.
Fish/Sushi. In Japanese cuisine, the fish isn’t fresh in the traditional meaning of the word. The fish goes through a process called Ikejime. Once the fish is killed, it goes into rigor. This heats the meat up and decreases the quality of the meat with the production of lactic acid which can make the fish sour. Ikijime is a method where the fish is killed instantly by a spike to hindbrain and the spinal cord, causing the meat to relax instantly. After this is done, some chefs will age the fish in the fridge or freezer for weeks to develop flavour. So, when you say “this sushi is so fresh!”, you are wrong.
Cold packing. If you think that fresh local apple you bought in January was picked off the tree a couple of hours ago, NOPE. Probably picked in October and held in cold storage for many months. Same goes for squash, onions, garlic, pears, cabbages, and may more. Even at the farmers market.
Obviously, I am not trying to take away from beautiful fresh produce. I am only trying show you that not everything you think is fresh is actually fresh. Thanks for listening.
About Chef Alessandro Vianello
As Gooseneck Hospitality’s Development Chef, Alessandro Vianello oversees menu development and kitchen operations at all four of the company’s Vancouver restaurants – Wildebeest, Bufala, Lucky Taco and Bells and Whistles – and employs his passion for serving dishes comprising locally sourced and sustainable ingredients that underscore the bounty available to chefs plying their trade in the Pacific Northwest.
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