Whether you’re an experienced chef, or you’re just starting out in the food and hospitality industry, you’ll know that seasoning can be the fundamental element that can make or break a dish. Seasoning for catering is an absolute essential; it can very simply achieve those authentic and traditional flavours associated with the required cuisine. However, if you’re going to season and spice, you’ve got to do it right because the fine line between too little or too much of something could result in a dish that is lacklustre and disappointing.
At World of Spice, we are industry leaning herb, spice and seasoning suppliers for trade and retail. With over 100 years of extensive experience, we have a wealth of knowledge behind us to help you achieve fantastic food that is full of flavour! Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes made when seasoning food and how to avoid them.
You’re Worried About Spice
Seasoning for catering comes in many forms, one of which being spice. If heat worries you, you’re not alone. Many chefs begin their journey intimidated by using too much spice in their seasonings, for fear that it will ruin their food. Many chefs put less spice than required in, so not to overpower their meal, but what they then end up with is a disappointing dish. If your food is regularly tasting like its missing something, it probably has something to do with the way you’re seasoning it.
The more you learn about spice and the specifics of different cuisines, the more you’ll get to learn about the perfect pairings. Each spice has a different level of potency and of course, every person has a different palate, so the correct amount really does depend on the dish. It can feel overwhelming at times because there aren’t really any rules that are set in stone when it comes to seasoning.
However, simply watching expert tutorials can show you just how much spice or seasoning you should be adding to a certain dish. Once you’ve seen others achieve great results, you’ll feel more comfortable trying more spice yourself. If a recipe says to add a palmful, or a little extra, try it! Don’t resort to a pinch, as this will hugely affect the taste of the finished plate.
You Always Resort to Black Pepper
Black pepper is the most popular spice used worldwide and is constantly used in seasoning for catering to give dishes the lift they need. Although black pepper is brilliant for lots of reasons, there are plenty more seasonings that are suitable to specific cuisines. Try not to resort to black pepper in every dish you create because it won’t enhance a dish in the way that tailored spices can. It depends on the cuisine, but you could try using alternatives such as cayenne pepper, ground chilli and mustard seeds for a similar but more exciting culinary experience.
You Aren’t Salting Your Food
In many authentic dishes, salting is very important. It has the power to intensify aromas and balance other flavours across any cuisine. It can transform simple vegetables, make meat juicer and even bring out any subtle sweetness in a dish.
Rule 101 in seasoning for catering: when you’re boiling something in water, the water should be salted – usually about 1 tablespoon per 3 litres of liquid. It might sound like a lot, but it will guarantee that whatever you’re boiling is properly seasoned throughout. Remember, that most of the salt will either evaporate or go down the drain, so you don’t have to worry about eating an excessive amount.
When adding salt directly to food, use much less. It’s always better to start small and build your way up with salt, because you can easily add more, but you can’t take it away! For reference, 1 teaspoon of sea salt for every half a kilogram of meat you’re cooking is suitable seasoning.
On that note, salting proteins ahead of time can help them retain their own natural juices. Keep in mind that chicken, beef and pork can benefit from a longer salting period because they're much tougher. Anytime between 1 and 24 hours before you intend to cook is great. Fish and shellfish will dry out if salted too soon, so we’d suggest waiting until you're ready to start cooking to season them.
You Only Use Pre-Ground Seasonings
Pre-ground herbs and spices are great, especially in seasoning for catering for ultimate convenience, but did you know that you can expand on flavour if you use whole spices and grind them just before using? Grinding releases the volatile compounds that give the seasoning its potent flavour and distinguishable aroma. If you’re really looking to enhance the taste of your dish, this is a really good trick to try.
On the subject of potent flavour, sautéing spices in a fat source, like oil or butter, or even toasting them in a dry skillet will help to release the full capacity of their flavours. Be sure to gently pre-cook the spices for a couple of minutes before anything else so that they can reach their full potential.
Additionally, you must be sure that your spices are fresh and within date. No amount of heating will bring a spice back from the dead! The fresher the seasoning, the more flavoursome it’ll be - you won’t be able to detect any taste or fragrance if a seasoning is way past its best.
You Don’t Taste as You Go
When it comes to seasoning for catering, there’s only one way to know what else your dish really needs, and that is to taste it. Taste as you go through the cooking process; each time you’ve added some more seasoning, stir and sample. If you add lots of seasoning to a dish right at the start and don’t taste it until the end, it could ruin the meal. The key is to add and taste as you go, so that you get the combinations right and the seasonings are allowed to marinate slowly to release their flavour.
Get in Touch
If you’re after authentic and full of flavour seasoning for catering, World of Spice can help you. Our produce is known internationally for its delicious and strong flavour. We always deliver the highest quality products, working with some of the finest chefs to help them create impeccable, traditional cuisine. If you’re looking for a trustworthy seasoning supplier, we can arrange fast and convenient delivery to meet your business’s needs.
From bespoke blends to a choice of packaging, complete with custom labelling, our comprehensive service can help you achieve your culinary goals. For more information about our services and what we can offer you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or feel free to call our team on 01277 633303. We look forward to hearing from you.