Fresh Vs Frozen

Reporter: Susan Coubor

Forget the traditional sunday roasts ... these days ... if it comes in a frozen packet or a tin can then it's good enough for us! Sometimes budget and time ... is a big factor in modern society, i think. that's right ... and size of family and affordability, etc etc.

Now, we've all heard 'fresh is best' ... and it's not hard to see why ... Chefs say “you do lose some of the nutrients ... and you lose colour”.

But does all that really make any difference to the taste?

John says “canned food has no texture, no colour, no flavour ...

To see test whether you really can taste the difference .... today tonight asked two of our countries top chefs Dorinda Hafner and Andrew Feilke to cook the same three course meal ... twice!

Same recipies ... but one meal is cooked with only the freshest ingredients ... the other is prepared using canned, frozen or packaged foods. Things like fresh asparagus vs. canned or freshly made pasta, vs the packet stuff ...

Our four taste-testers are no starangers to the food industry John and Justine from The Greedy Goose off the TV show My Restaurant Rulesand their restaurant's chef Travis and barman Nick.

So let's get started ... for entrees ... we have a pasta dish ... with parmesan, asparagus and sundried tomatos. One dish will be made entirely of fresh ingredients -- even the pesto will made from scratch ...

The chefs say ”will the flavour win over ... is it worth it?”

Well, that's what we're about to find out. Our chefs place the fresh meal in front of the 'f' ... for fresh ... the other dish, we've labelled 'c' for canned.

Let's find out.

Justine: “One of them was very smooshy ... very smooshy and some of them had, as john says, 'texture and character and depth' and it was really yummy'.”

And the fresh dish?

JUSTINE: this is the fresh one ...

SUSAN: you can take off your blindfold ...

JUSTINE: oh god, here we go ... woohooo hooray!

Ok, so that was an easy round ... but the main course will be a little bit trickier.

The chefs say “sometimes people find it difficult to tell the difference between free range chicken and frozen chicken. “

For mains our chefs served up steeped whole chicken with stir-fry veggies, one lot came from a frozen packet the other, bought fresh from the central markets ...

The dishes certainly look different but, how will they taste?

SUSAN: was there a difference between the chicken?

NICK: There was a difference , the one that i thought was the fresh one was sensational it just had intense flavours and it just really melted in your mouth ...

For others, it was the veggies that were the giveway ...

TRAVIS:i had some crunchy broccoli, some nice capsicum ... and the meat was well-rested, well cooked ... whereas this one was a little bit dry.

Ok, so our chefs couldn't fool them in that round either ... but there's still one course left.

For dessert, it's a quick berry tart!

“fresh vs frozen berries will be the tough one to pick because they're cooked.” Says the Chefs.

Frozen berries on one hand, with ready-made pastry ... while on the other ... pastry made from scratch ... with fresh strawberries, raspberries and apple.

NICK: this one here was fresh ... this one here had a no-tasting, and i thought it was an apricot in this one here, and that's what tipped me off.

Apricots?! he's not off to a good start ..

SUSAN: ok, so point to the one you think is fresh.

NICK: this one here's fresh ...

SUSAN: take your blindfold off!

NICK: oh no! (laughter and disbelief)

The others though, fared a little better ...

So overall, our taste-testers got it right ... and even our chefs admit, despite their best efforts to confuse them ... they weren't all that surprised.

In a vast majority of cases, the fresh is gonna deliver a beautiful fresh flavour on the palate, compared to canned or frozen.

But fresh comes at a cost ... our fresh ingredients came to a grand total of 91-dollars-60 ... while the canned and frozen ingredients were about 24 dollars cheaper. But the experts say it's worth it.

The chefs say “there's no doubt, most of the time we're gonna be faced with a higher cost price, but then the biggest winner there, is flavour.”

There's no comparison between fresh and frozen really ... it might be a bit of cost but i think the rewards you get from fresh food, is it's healthier, it's better for you, it's much more rewarding, i think.