Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist specializing in the perception of food at Oxford University, says we actually taste food with our eyes first. That's what food companies hope to appeal to when they coat food in brilliant jewel tones. "Visual cues kind of have precedence and can set up expectations about what it is we think we're going to taste and what the flavour will be," he says.
There could be an evolutionary reason behind this, Spence says. Fruit turns from green to red as it ripens, so our ancestors associated red with sweet and green with sour. And blue food isn't as common in nature, unless we're talking about bluish-gray meat, which usually signals spoilage.
Bringing out the blues
Scientists often cite a well-known experiment from the 1970s, in which steak and fries were served under a special lighting that made the meal look normal. The participants enjoyed it — until researchers revealed under normal lighting that the steak had been dyed blue and the fries green. Just like that, their appetites were gone.
Chef colour codes
Colours play a vital role in making a dish attractive.It could be the way a dish is served eg. a hint of green using a mint leaf for garnish on a dish or using a sliced orange, lemon, and lime wedges on a drink
Chef Vinod Garde, Partner, Aoi
Colour plays a very vital role when it comes to food .From wine to cheese to soft drinks and more it seems that by playing with the colour, one can trick our palates into thinking we taste things that aren't necessarily there. Like in Indian kitchens, kesar and tumeric are added to our food for an appealing colour.
Chef Rakhee Vaswani, Palate Culinary Studio
While cooking a dish to a perfect colour, like 'golden' fried food adds to the attraction quotient, the serving dish too, adds or highlight colours. We serve the Tum Tim Krob in a transparent glass so patrons can see the dark red water chestnuts topped with a layer of white coconut syrup and ice.
Chef Pipat, o:h cha