I was joyfully sitting at a beach-side restaurant on the Mayan Riviera enjoying my meal. I was with my 11-year-old nephew when I pointed out the pleasures one can have from delicious food.
"But what makes food delicious?" he asked naively. Interestingly enough, this was one of those rare instances that I had the answer in my back pocket.
From years of simplifying and condensing down what I believe to be the fundamentals of a good meal, this is what I came up with:
1. 20% Taste - Is the food good tasting? Is it fresh? Is it well flavored?
2. 10% Texture - Is the texture correct for the type of food? For example, if it is a chip it should not be soggy and if it is a flaky white fish it shouldn't be hard.
3. 10% Temperature - Is the food the correct temperature for the type of food it is? Fresh food should always been crisp and cool as should cold beverages. Cooked food should mostly be served hot or warm. Temperature makes a huge difference.
4. 20% Presentation - How does the food look? Is it colorful with a nice variety of colors and textures? Is it the color it should be? How well is it plated?
5. 40% Substance - This is everything that is important to you. Anyone can make a french fry that satisfies the above 1-4 but it will miss 5. Why, because it is lacking in nutrition and substance. Substance is the quality of the food plus the nutritional value and impact that nutrition will have on the human body. Nutritionally dense foods have a high value while junk foods can have a negative value.
This system can be applied to any food or drink in any place. It works perfectly for even the most delicate foods and drinks like matcha green tea which you can read about in my past Huffington Post blogs. Now my nephew uses it a guide for how to judge his meals with a critical eye and moreover how to identify an excellent meal.