Monday, October 8, 2012


Stimulating appetite and attracting customers through typical aroma of foods being cooked is an age old strategy and many restaurants and bakeries do resort to such techniques to boost their business. Some super markets even use familiar aromas through their air conditioning ducts which will pervade through the aisles of the shopping area. It was not long ago that Hot Shops were a rage where people could wait for their fresh bread and bakery products to be delivered directly from the oven. People always associate aromas with different foods and therefore using them to tickle the palate is nothing but logical. However using scents different from those associated with foods is a novel approach being adopted by some chefs as a part of their presentation style. Here is an instance of a renowned chef using such a technique to enhance the eating pleasure which may catch up diners looking for new experience.

"There are no flowers or wine glasses on Chandler Burr's white linen–draped dinner table. Nothing ruins a pure raw scent like a brazen floral invasion or the aromatic bouquet of fine wine. There are no distractions at Burr's table at all—no colors, no decorations, no noise—just a blank slate on which the senses of smell and taste are laid bare, gently teased to the surface. Smell, when done right, is a very sensual experience. But smelling one's way through dinner is not about catching a whiff of sautéing garlic or grimacing over a Gorgonzola. It's about identifying an essence—the soft skin of a peach, the ruddy leaf of a fig tree, the earthy peel of a carrot—first through the nose and then, long lingering moments later, through the mouth".

It is said that consumers eat a food first through their eyes, then with the nose and finally through their oral cavity. Walking through the aisles of a super market the consumer is drawn to shelves where highly attractive packaged items, followed by visual dissection from close quarters before deciding to buy those items most satisfactory. Of course repeat purchase happens only after taking the packet home and tasting the contents. In contrast visiting a restaurant and deciding on the items on the menu depend entirely on reputation of the quality of foods served there. Just like the eating experience which is registered in the minds of customers, the new technique of using scents to attract customers has an inherent surprise element in that one cannot have a predilection about the experience waiting for him. According to the practitioners of this "art" this mode of dining provides both olefactory feast and gastronomical delight in one go!


No comments: