This Is How and When to Salt Your Food, According to Michelin-Starred Chef Thomas Keller

Staff Writer
In an interview with The Splendid Table, Per Se chef Thomas Keller explained the proper technique to salting your food
Thomas Keller shows us it’s not just the amount of salt, but how you sprinkle that counts.

Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller shows us it’s not just the amount of salt, but how you sprinkle that counts.

Ask any proper chef what the most common mistake is amongst amateur cooks, and they’ll tell you under-seasoning, specifically, not using enough salt.

Just ask Thomas Keller, Michelin-starred chef at Per Se and The French Laundry, who recently spoke with The Splendid Table about the art of saline seasoning.

“Season your food properly — not by seasoning a piece of meat with salt when you’re really close to it, but by actually holding your hand up rather high, having the salt between your fingers and letting it fall,” he said. “As it falls through the air, it’s dispersed out evenly over the piece of meat, the vegetables or whatever you’re using. Sometimes we tend to salt really, really close to our products. We therefore concentrate that salt in a specific area and don’t get a uniform seasoning across the surface of it.”

Certain ingredients, he said, you need to salt before adding them to the pot or pan, like spinach which should be salted before it starts to wilt. Any protein should also be thoroughly salted before cooking, particularly a steak. He also recommends re-salting after your meal is cooked with a coarse, larger-grained finishing salt to add “a bit of texture” to garnish the dish. 

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