You know that your tongue basically has only two taste detectors = sweet and salty. A good cook knows how to use and blend sweet and savory in a dish and on the plate. That means, in my opinion, having a kind of sixth sense about what goes with what and which foods are best sweet and which are best savory and how to blends those two to get a combination which works with some foods but not all. Now, I know that smell and looks also play into the cooking process and final product, but there are times when something does not look that good but tastes great - like my gooey cheeseburger and super thick mac and cheese.
I read this comment by chef Jim Berman on chef talk - ...a really good cook can anticipate the outcome of the dish and,
subsequently, can make changes to keep it on track or improve upon it.
Just a 'cook' on the other hand, will follow the process and procedure
regardless of the outcome. We often fail to focus on flavor and maintain a "get it done"
approach. A really good cook can get it done and make the flavor worth
Yeah, totally Agree!
So what's my best 'chef' experience? The day I cooked for the first time, my famous gooey cheeseburger for my sweetie who did not understand the process as much as she understood the flavor!