Chefs start the meal with gifts full of flavor

Amuse-bouches, small nibbles to excite the taste buds at the start of a meal, are a gift from the chef and a concept that began with the nouvelle-cuisine movement of the 1970s. The concept is more common at eateries in Europe, but some fine-dining restaurants in the U.S. offer them as well. "An amuse should explode in the mouth with flavor and texture," said Rick Tramonto, executive chef-partner of Chicago's Tru.

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