Wylie Dufresne of wd-50 in New York says he gets inspiration from sources ranging from books and museum visits to recent meals and available ingredients. But the flavors of a dish must be balanced between sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, umami and sourness, he said.
Busy chefs know a few minutes can determine the difference between a medium-rare filet and a well-done hockey puck. The new Talking Food Thermometer with Remote Handset uses wireless capabilities to alert chefs when the perfect temperature has been reached.
Kofta, a meatball generally found in the Middle East and India, is known for its spicy flavor and the variety of seasonings that can accompany it, such as mint and cilantro. The type of meat within a kofta can vary and it often is eaten like a falafel -- wrapped in pita bread and topped with yogurt.
Chefs are in the midst of a cooking revolution full of reinvention and prompted by molecular gastronomy, or, as Susan Sampson calls it, "culinary surrealism." Take as an example the high-tech variation on Bananas Foster, developed by Moto restaurant and showcased at last month's International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference.
Fish sauce from Vietnam's Phu Quoc island is highly regarded in culinary circles for its sour, salty and curiously fishy flavors. The sauce is produced using hand-made wooden vats that ferment fresh anchovies and sea salt for one year before harvesting.