Plated by Design: 50 Shades of Flavor Sponsored by Oz Coffee Bar

words by savannah gates

featuring chef gary folger and chef rose pebbles

photography by Eric Killingsworth


SWEET, SOUR, SALTY, BITTER AND UMAMI are the five primary elements that delicately balance around the hub of the Flavor Wheel. If you are from Texas, you add a sixth, Spicy! Whether it be food or beverage, The Flavor Wheel is a tool developed to provide common language when describing how one experiences a culinary component. It covers the entirety of the palate, from the initial notes tickling the nose to the lingering finish after it has gone down the hatch. There are many specialized variations of The Wheel depending on the culinary category you are focused on including  coffee, wine, cheese or even to describe an entire dish. Although our tastebuds often take credit, the olfactory system, or nose, is primarily responsible for determining what we consider “taste” beyond the five primary elements listed above.

There is only the dance, it is a constant state of discovery pursuing better ingredients, nearby farmers, new techniques, and a deeper understanding of flavor.

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