Diminishing Returns, Part II
Posted 05 March 2003 - 03:07 PM
as a preface, i just would like to thank you for taking time out of what must be a very busy schedule to come enlighten each and every one of us; from the looks of it, we're learning a great deal.
i know you referenced mr keller and mr blumenthal, and the idea of diminishing returns, which pertains to the size of any given dish and its apparent flavor repetition (i.e., how much before it's too much?). my question is, do you think there is another point of diminishing returns within extended tasting menus? i've discovered that most diners begin to get "confused" (be it perceived or because the palate is "fatigued") after appoximately 10 - 15 courses, that after a certain point they stop noticing the individual qualities or contrasts of each dish. do you think there is a vague number chefs should be aiming for when constructing super-long degustation menus? or is the sky the limit? (of course, i understand that there is no theoretical limit, as long as someone's still hungry; i am more looking for a should / normative statement.)
thank you for your time and knowledge.
Posted 06 March 2003 - 10:44 AM
The question of the philosphy working verticaly has never struck me, with the exception of too much food consumed. Sometimes people are force fed the last few dessert courses in other restaurants and even at Trio, if they eat too much bread, or are light eaters. I have eaten some large meals, and have never felt palate fatigue in situations where the food avoided repetition in all it's forms. I feel as long as the courses remain small and stay intersting most people will not become confused. I think time becomes the issue more than anything. Average TDF takes about 4 hours. That's a big commitment to dinning. Remember sitting through the movie Titanic? Or that flight from NYC to San Fran? Hopefully the meal you are eating is more interesting than an airplane ride but you see my logic. You reach a point where you become fatigued from sitting in one place for so long. VIP meals at the FL would routinely run 5 hours and some stretch the TDF to 5 1/2. You have to be mentally prepared for such gluttony.
Posted 07 March 2003 - 08:49 AM
that is very true...and quite funny when you think about it...how great is our job?
You have to be mentally prepared for such gluttony.