If you're cooking for a daredevil friend who likes dangerous sports, serve up something hot and spicy. If you know someone who is going through a stressful time, cook them something with lime. According to experts Dr Christy Fergusson PhD, chartered psychologist and food therapist and Steven Mangleshot, executive chef at wagamama, our personality has a strong affect on our tastebuds and what we like and don't like. They have teamed up together to understand not only what our brains find delicious, but also what health benefits certain ingredients have. And I was invited along to the Wigmore Street branch of wagamama in Central London to meet the team and find out more.
Executive chef Steven told me, 'We are encouraging our customers this month to not just order their usual dishes but perhaps try something new. When writing menus here at wagamama we look at traditionally popular dishes like Katsu curry and think about what else you would like. If this is your usual why not try our chef's favourite Teriyaki chicken donburi instead.' (below) 'We are really passionate about using fresh ingredients. All of our noodles are fresh. I meet with suppliers from all over the world to make sure we have fantastic produce in all 107 restaurants we have across the UK'.
(Grilled juicy chicken glazed with orange teriyaki sauce, sticky white rice, with thinly slice carrots, pea shoots, spring onion and sesame seed with that all important side of spicy kimchi.)
So why is it that food has such a huge impact on our brain chemistry? Dr Christy says, ' Surprisingly only 10% of taste originates with our tastebuds, 90% actually comes from the smell of a dish. Different foods create differing feelings and emotions. Thats why we have been working so hard not only to create delicious dishes but intelligent dishes too.'
What Your Tastebuds Say About You
IF YOU LIKE CHILLI - According to Dr Christy, when eating chilli's your body releases endorphins which make us feel good. People who enjoy spicy dishes are usually thrill seekers and enjoy living on the edge. This type of person might enjoy extreme sports such as Bungee Jumping or Sky Diving.
Recommended dish: Firecracker chicken
If YOU LiKE IT SALTY - People who enjoy instant gratification enjoy these sorts of dishes. A typical personality trait of salt lovers is that they are looking for a quick fix rather than a convoluted solution to a problem.
Recommended dish: Pork Ramen
If YOU LOVE GARLIC - This is an incredibly pungent tasting note so people who enjoy this are of strong personality. Research shows that people who love garlic the most are in fact very loyal and make good friends as they stand up for what they believe in.
Recommended dish: Chicken raisukaree
IF YOU FAVOUR CITRUS - Lime according to Dr Christy has a very calming influence. Therefore, people who are prone to stress and anxiety respond best to this flavour type.
Recommended dish: Prawn kare lomen
Keep a look out for the wagamama Spring/Summer Menu which is being launched on April 30th and will include a selection of lighter, fresher dishes. For more information on the menu click here.
By Victoria Grier