Wait to taste my food before you add salt, says Naga Munchetty

Naga Munchetty
Woe betide if you put salt on Naga Munchetty's cooking - Dave Benett/Getty

Sprinkling salt on a dish before first having a taste is a cardinal sin for guests dining at Naga Munchetty’s home, the television presenter has revealed.

The amateur cook joins professional chefs including Gordon Ramsay who are outraged when diners use salt without trying the food first.

Munchetty selected culinary offenders as one of pet hates in life that she would banish to Room 101 – the dreaded torture room in George Orwell’s novel 1984 – as she was interviewed for a radio recording.

She said: “People who put salt on their food without tasting it first – the only thing it’s really acceptable on is fries or chips.”

She explained she had no issue with adding seasoning after tasting what’s been served.

‘Try it first’

Asked how she’d feel if guests at her home put salt on a meal she’d cooked, she said: “Terrible. Sorry.

“Do you know what makes it worse? When there’s no salt on the table and they ask for salt before they’ve even tried the food. So I have to go out and get them salt.

“My answer is ‘well, try it first then see if you need salt’.

“Have some respect for the person who’s cooked the food, who has made sure that the flavours are balanced and they’ve tried to make a nice dish and it’s what they think is nice.

“So at least have the respect of trying it. I have an issue with you having no respect for the food I’ve made, which I’ve cared about making, and thought about making, and you not giving it a chance before you make it more to your taste.”

The TV and radio presenter told the BBC’s Room 101 radio show the only exception to her pre-tasting rule is chips because “everyone knows how french fries or chips taste”, so no chef would take offence.

Woman sprinkling salt
Salt should be added carefully after you have tasted the dish - Alvarez

Munchetty’s gripe appears to have long been harboured in silence by many, as she won enthusiastic cheers from a studio audience over her rant.

Mark Wogan – the son of Sir Terry Wogan and the owner of a chain of pizza restaurants – told former BBC radio presenter, author and documentary maker Laura Whitmore on his Spooning podcast: “It’s the height of bad manners. As a cook, if anyone does that to my food before trying it, I will shout at them. Try it first.”

Whitmore concurred, saying: “This is something that annoys me a lot.

“My husband, and a few other people in my life, they’ll get their plate of chips, or they’ll get their soup or whatever it is, and they’ll get the vinegar, or the salt and pepper and they’ll just lather it on before tasting it – before tasting it, so taste it first.

“Try it first and then I’ll decide.”

Even more fired up about the practice was short-tempered chef Gordon Ramsay, who says of people who put hot sauces and salt on food before tasting: “Crazy – they don’t taste the f***ing food first.

Gordon Ramsay in a kitchen
Gordon Ramsay is another who gets irate at excessive use of salt - Fox via Getty

“It’s like people who come into the restaurant and they start seasoning food. They put lots of salt and pepper and they haven’t tasted it.”

Speaking to actress Lisa Vanderpump, Ramsay won immediate backing as she agreed: “Yes, awful. Grounds for divorce.”