The Meaningful Reason Chef Daniel Boulud Never Skips Dessert

Nothing finishes out a meal better than a sweet treat. In a segment with PBS, Daniel Boulud — the best chef in the world, according to some mentees — describes the experience of enjoying a meal as a "crescendo" and says this crescendo "wouldn't be complete without the dessert." Boulud truly sees a beauty in dessert that goes far beyond science and powerful sugar cravings.

After an exceptional meal, the French chef says that dessert leaves "a long lingering...dreamy feel" in diners. He goes on to underscore the importance of the energy boost from the sugar. For Boulud, savory courses allow for more spontaneity and improvisation, and he compares them to jazz music. Dessert, on the other hand, is more like classical music. "The repertoire is set, and it's a question of just creating the layers of intensity," he explains. Whether you interpret that as epically ending a rich steak-and-potatoes meal with a decadent chocolate cake or gently finishing a light summer meal with a citrusy sorbet, your choice to punctuate a dining experience with something sweet would likely be supported by Boulud.

Why do we love to finish a meal with dessert?

Science does indeed play a role behind the poetry of a great meal. Studies show that your body gets tired of eating the same flavors, as Deakin University's Centre for Advanced Sensory Science director Russell Keast told HuffPost, and this is called sensory specific satiety. After an appetizer and main course, you probably feel satiated enough to go to bed — but add the option of a new set of sweet flavors into the mix, and all of the sudden you've found a little more space in your stomach. Basically, the brain overrides the more practical "I'm full" feeling for the more pleasurable "let's get ice cream" feeling. Being able to eat past the point of fullness is actually an evolutionary adaptation that allowed humans to eat more when food was plentiful so they could later endure periods when food was scarce.

Daniel Boulud does acknowledge that dessert should be consumed in moderation, but he insists that dessert is an essential part of human contentment. Boulud explains, "It's important to continue to keep yourself and your soul happy with a bit of sweetness," with which anyone with a sweet tooth likely agrees.