Wood-Fired Ovens Still Hot, Flavor Science Be Damned

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Considering the persistent popularity of wood-fired cooking, which Nation’s Restaurant News back in 2010 declared a trend, eaters might assume food cooked in ovens fueled by tinder tastes better. Not so, says a spokesperson for one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of wood-fired ovens.

“We’ve done taste tests, and we would say the flavor is the same,” says Tamra Nelson of Wood Stone, which also produces gas-powered ovens. “But it does connect visually with the customer.”

There aren’t any surveys showing exactly how many local restaurants have gone the wood-fired route, but Nelson says there are seven restaurants in and around Charleston using Wood Stone equipment, including Southend Brewery and Monza. According to Nelson, customers’ perceptions of wood-fired ovens’ superiority can overwhelm the reality that quality doesn’t vary with fuel source. Continue reading