About Colour Play on your Palate

Colour almost influences everything in one's life. The clothes you buy, the purchase you make for your home; the food and beverages you eat and drink, and the vehicles you own. Colour affects our moods, feelings and our inner comfort level. Chefs orchestrate dishes based on their professional experience and ideas generated over the years which aredirectly connected to the colour, smell and taste to satisfy customers.Our appetite for food is strongly influenced and stimulated by the colour and reverse is also true. Colour may also lead us to dislike anddiscourage consuming certain foods.

The evidence of use of colour in food and beverage preparation takes us to four hundred years B.C. when Egyptians and Romans used herbs and spices to create more appealing coloured wines. Colours are today hardwired into our brains; we can actually anticipate the flavours of the food anddrinks we are consuming. A bright, juicy coloured orange drink will imply the flavour of orange and a vibrant red coloureddrink may provide a hint of strawberry or apple flavour. Slightly off colour red or orange drink may not appeal to us and may indicate lesser quality of thedrink.

An example on how colour influences our taste is seen in the product development of Crystal Pepsi in 1992 (Jahnke 2007). The Crystal Pepsi was a colourless, caffeine-free soft drink. Most of the people who tried the new Pepsi product confessed that it tasted like lemon lime soda. Astonishingly, none of those flavours was part of the ingredients. People associate different colours with different tastes. Throughout our lifetime brain receives training to the perception of taste and colour associations, it is difficult for the brain to considera change of taste ofpreconceivedopinion.

The colour plays pivotal role in the presentation of food to the customers in the culinary and hospitality industry. The chefs take utmost care in the colour of the plates, complimentary and contrasting ingredient colours which enhance the richness and vitality in the food served. Natural colour of food itself has a significant part to enact in the presentation. The food with green colour brings out the impression of freshness and energy. Orange and red symbolize intensity andelectrifying nature. Maroon and brown are relaxed and placid colours.

Most of the chefs use white plates so that the food pops out and is captivating to the eye. Special care is taken to ensure that plates should not distract the food as a whole. To balance the colour of the dish chefs use herbs, spices or sauces to make it more appealing to the customers. Aesthetics of the foodpresented is as paramount to the taste and texture, since food is first visualized and then placed into the mouth where it is tasted for its elegance.

Technically, colour is the wavelengths of light reflected from the object and absorbed by the retina of our eye. When the lights hit the object some of them are absorbed and others are reflected. The reflected wavelengths are what we comprehend as the object's colour. Signals of object's colour are sent to the brain and it helps us to take decisions andperform certain actions.

When we see any food, we first comprehend the colour in our brain anddepending on our pre-existing beliefs and opinions about that colour we make decisions to eat it or discourage not to. According to the fact, most of the people make up their mind within the first 90 seconds of their encounter with people, products or food. This is the reason companies spend a huge amount of money and time to bring engrossing products into the market. The same goes for the hospital industry hotels and restaurants, choice of colours used can influence the perception about that food. Before customers pass the food on to their lips they must feel lively and tempting to eat that food.