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View Full Version : The value of "Appearance"


The_Kapn
03-26-2009, 07:09 PM
Good Evening,

We (and every other forum) have beat to death the details of appearance or presentation scores.
This is not an attempt to revisit that discussion.

To point out how appearance or presentation are important, take a look at a currently running "Food Detectives" episode on Food TV.
Next showing--
Mar 29, 2009
4:00 PM ET/PT

To make a long story short--they presented identical meals presented with "plastic silverware" and a cheap environment and then in a "high end" environment with real silverware and fancy names on the menu.

On a scale of 1-10, the low end scored 3.4 and the high end 8.0 averages.
"Price" estimated for the low end was about $10 while the high end was worth $34.
I hope I got the numbers right :oops:

Anywho, the results were dramatically different based on the diners "expectation" of quality.

There is real motivation there to make every entry as "enticing" as possible.
However you do that.

As they say, you eat with your eyes first.

Just a thought.

TIM

Ron_L
03-26-2009, 07:23 PM
That may be worth suffering through Ted Allen :-D

The_Kapn
03-26-2009, 07:32 PM
That may be worth suffering through Ted Allen :-D

And that is a fact!!!!!!!!!

I "skim" his shows because I find him irritating as hell.
But, this peice is worth putting up with him.

TIM

Big George's BBQ
03-26-2009, 08:30 PM
That was a great comparison thank you. How something looks can make it more appetizing

Sledneck
03-26-2009, 08:32 PM
Watching the show with subtitles and the sound off makes it a little bit easier to bear

Balls Casten
03-26-2009, 08:42 PM
Was it different people? I would agree that someone that pays $20 for a pulled pork sandwitch thinks their sandwitch is better than someone who paid $5.

But IMO a judge should be able to tell the difference ... if there is one.

(No complaints of judging here, just a comment.)

Diva Q
03-26-2009, 10:06 PM
I think you have to do everything you can for appearance period. In competitive BBQing it may garner you that one extra point. That can make the difference between an rgc or GC. Worth it enough to spend a significant enough time practicing how it looks in addition to more importantly how it tastes.

Pratice practice practice..........

barbefunkoramaque
03-26-2009, 10:06 PM
As they say, you eat with your eyes first.

Just a thought.

TIM

My good sir how correct you are in nearly EVERY food field EXCEPT for the world of BBQ, Popcorn, and Bread.

Yes this little adage "eat with your eyes first" is cute and acceptable to everyone without a NOSE.

You eat BBQ with your eyes second... some could say THIRD... when someone says the word "BBQ" my imagination goes wild before even my senses do.

I was sold on a bbq restaurant yesterday enough by its smell alone to stop, turn around park and go inside... where the restaurant was quaint, packed full of people clean and had its tough Brisket sliced razor thin with a electric knife.

Guess what I did then?

barbefunkoramaque
03-26-2009, 10:11 PM
To make a long story short--they presented identical meals presented with "plastic silverware" and a cheap environment and then in a "high end" environment with real silverware and fancy names on the menu.



TIM
One more point of contention to think about. How would Kreuz, Muellers where Q is served on Paper and your utensils are at the end of your hands fair against... say.... oh... pick anyone... hell... Mills' Blue Smoke.

Now a word of wisdom that pales in intelligence far beyond us...

y'all remember Rocky IV when Drago's Spokeperson comments on Rocky.

"Drago is a perfect physical specimen, he shouldn't even be fighting Balboa...he is too small... it shows how weak and pathetic your society (AMERICA) has become@!!!"

We all know what happened to Drago

Meat Burner
03-26-2009, 10:12 PM
Tim, good post!

Brewmaster
03-26-2009, 11:24 PM
My good sir how correct you are in nearly EVERY food field EXCEPT for the world of BBQ, Popcorn, and Bread.

Yes this little adage "eat with your eyes first" is cute and acceptable to everyone without a NOSE.

You eat BBQ with your eyes second... some could say THIRD... when someone says the word "BBQ" my imagination goes wild before even my senses do.

I was sold on a bbq restaurant yesterday enough by its smell alone to stop, turn around park and go inside... where the restaurant was quaint, packed full of people clean and had its tough Brisket sliced razor thin with a electric knife.

Guess what I did then?

I would have to disagree with this thought process. :rolleyes:

Since I see at the speed of light, and I don't know of anything faster than the speed of light. I would say I eat with my eyes before my nose.

Unless you have some pretty fast BBQ, then I would have to agree with Tim.

To be honest, everything is relative and there is no correct answer.

Cheers,
Nate

cmcadams
03-27-2009, 07:21 AM
Some foods would potentially score lower in the 'upper class' setting, as those foods would not be expected there. BBQ may score higher in the right bbq restaurant setting, but then compare it to a fast food setting and see how it does.

And the Rocky IV analogy... it turned out as it turned out due to a script.

Podge
03-27-2009, 08:53 AM
My good sir how correct you are in nearly EVERY food field EXCEPT for the world of BBQ, Popcorn, and Bread.

Yes this little adage "eat with your eyes first" is cute and acceptable to everyone without a NOSE.

You eat BBQ with your eyes second... some could say THIRD... when someone says the word "BBQ" my imagination goes wild before even my senses do.

I was sold on a bbq restaurant yesterday enough by its smell alone to stop, turn around park and go inside... where the restaurant was quaint, packed full of people clean and had its tough Brisket sliced razor thin with a electric knife.

Guess what I did then?

I respectfully 100% totally disagree with that statement. (well, i might agree with the popcorn and bread). All BBQ to me, the initial smell is of smoke, and they all smell the same.

Yakfishingfool
03-27-2009, 09:28 AM
At a competition I haven't seen judges sniffing a closed box before looking at it. I also haven't found a restaurant that sells BBQ stuffed in between 50 BBQ smokers spewing forth all forms of flavored smoke. So not sure if the smell before look counts. In addition, restaurants that serve on paper and and give a paper towel to wipe with have typically earned a reputation that precedes their menu and therefore are above the mention of needing fine cutlery to be good.

Picture yourself about to buy a BQ pit. Essentially identical pits, both stick burning spicwines like Poobahs. And one is painted a flashy black with flames and maybe some gold flake in the pin striping. And the other is painted baby shart green. Which are you going to pick, just pick, don't think, just pick. That's presentation. Doesn't say a damn thing about the flavor to be had. Doesn't say a damn thing about the texture to be had, only the aesthetics of the meal they are about to enjoy. Prepare the boxes as you feel, but are you serving a baby shart green meal or the the sleek black and fire trimmed smoker? Scott


PS< to carry this one step further....that baby shart smoker could have put out the gosh darn best BBQ they ever ate. But that's a different topic.

barbefunkoramaque
03-27-2009, 09:34 AM
I would have to disagree with this thought process. :rolleyes:

Since I see at the speed of light, and I don't know of anything faster than the speed of light. I would say I eat with my eyes before my nose.

Unless you have some pretty fast BBQ, then I would have to agree with Tim.

To be honest, everything is relative and there is no correct answer.

Cheers,
Nate

I was speaking of the power of smell which often pursuades you to buy BBQ or Popcorn or those Prezels in the Mall. before you see anything.

That rush you feel when you are outside and you smell grilling or smoked meat.

Yeah, now I DO BELIEVE the eyes have it (Funny huh) at like a competition because, well, everyone is putting out that smell... so you are sort of desensitized.

The next sense really is your eyes to fall back on as a judge and they don't let you go back and change your appearance scores if the BBQ is nasty tastin, LOL.

Since I see at the speed of light, and I don't know of anything faster than the speed of light. I would say I eat with my eyes before my nose.

I don't know about you but I have smelled many joints seconds before I could see where they were.

Like the reverse of the competition world, most joints are not out in a pasture somewhere so at least round here, provided the wind is right, we could smell the smoke (which flavors) long before we even saw the facility. We smell the joint before we walk in, People SMELL BigMista's Q at the Farmer's market sometimes a 100 yards before they even know what it is.... then they see the sign or hear Neil confirm it and make a final judge to purchase maybe when they see the product.

In fact one could speculate that taste is merely to confirm that what they see and smell live up to their standards.... also like women.

barbefunkoramaque
03-27-2009, 09:48 AM
I respectfully 100% totally disagree with that statement. (well, i might agree with the popcorn and bread). All BBQ to me, the initial smell is of smoke, and they all smell the same.


Podge has an excellent point here too, one that I just tapped on, that at a competition the sense of smell is overloaded and it all smells the same to some.

But also, doesn't Popcorn and Pizza and Bread? I can tell the difference between post oak, green wood, mesquite, ash, hickory, and Royal Oak, and Kingsford. Sure smoke all smells the same if your all using charcoal, but even a UDS with grease smoke added, smells different than the same meat in an offset. Depends on how hightened your sense of smell is. Of course you can;t smell this at the blind box. But again... another point,,, there a world beyond competition and thats actually serving it for a living. I am sure there is a world beyond that too.

You see, I can see some points in competition. But there is also the serving of this thing we call BBQ. I think also, another good argument that we may eat with our eyes first is the actual way I cook... I use the look to tip me off when the ribs begin to weep, I shut the dampers and let them coast in the pit. When I see, the briskets begins to color quickly and drip and weep (although now I can hear them do this against my static diverter plates) I bump the temp down.

BUT it doesn't matter how good my Q is at competition if its not dressed right at these new icbs comp. Its like women, I like looking at them naked, 'cept the ugly ones, they need clothes and makeup. Oh sure, the occasional porn star may use some skin bleech in some private areas, but hey...

Still, just because you actually eat with your eyes (or judge) second, does not mean that its not crucial to winning.

FltEng
03-27-2009, 11:42 AM
A long time ago I had a maitre d that I worked for tell me "If it looks like crap to the customer it will taste like crap to the customer" insert judge for customer and you get my point.

Jeff_in_KC
03-27-2009, 12:26 PM
A couple of points... I learned one thing early on in BBQ. Can't remember who said it but it may have been Wayne - "Never give away an appearance point". I never assume my entry will do well just because I cooked it perfectly and the taste is out of this world. Taste and tenderness are a necessity but appearance wins championships.

Secondly, to Funk... when you are at a contest, you smell nothing besides BBQ (ok, and beer too). IMO, sitting in a judging area, there are so many scents of BBQ mixed together and your nose is working overtime so much that it's difficult to distinguish exactly what is smelling so good. On the other hand, when that box is opened and a judge spots perfection, that is unmistakable. Or at least is should be. LOL!

Divemaster
03-27-2009, 02:57 PM
That may be worth suffering through Ted Allen :-D
I'm not sure about that... I know the results, why should I have to suffer through the show?

I was sold on a bbq restaurant yesterday enough by its smell alone to stop, turn around park and go inside... where the restaurant was quaint, packed full of people clean and had its tough Brisket sliced razor thin with a electric knife.

Guess what I did then?
Knowing you Mr. Funk... you ate it anyway.....

barbefunkoramaque
03-27-2009, 03:45 PM
Secondly, to Funk... when you are at a contest, you smell nothing besides BBQ (ok, and beer too). IMO, sitting in a judging area, there are so many scents of BBQ mixed together and your nose is working overtime so much that it's difficult to distinguish exactly what is smelling so good. On the other hand, when that box is opened and a judge spots perfection, that is unmistakable. Or at least is should be. LOL!

Yeah I think thats a good point. I alluded to it above. Too many smells, too much info to process so the view is crucial then taste.

Dang, now that I am in Texas I can't dust off my old Judging credentials, get myself in a competition and start deducting for garnish that is not "required" according to the KCBS :rolleyes: LOL Or could I? I think i'd have to go North to Oklahoma to get a sanctioned event that used it.

Na I get it about the appearance. In my day the Bark and ring were something we worked on for appearance so thats kinda like the same thing. Truthfully, we said the same thing about "eyes first."

Great Discussion though.




Dive... I decided to save my money. I know I would not be satisfied with brisket that HAD to be cut with a electric knife.

Divemaster
03-27-2009, 04:51 PM
Dive... I decided to save my money. I know I would not be satisfied with brisket that HAD to be cut with a electric knife.
I knew you had SOME taste. Lol

baughman
03-27-2009, 06:25 PM
I am glad i am not the only one who finds Ted Allens voice grating on the nerves. When I first saw a promo for this show last year I thought ooooo Alton brown? Then when they said Ted Allen I only check to see if it has a topic I want to see. Like the MSG one.