I love the show "Chopped" and I've noticed that when a contestant leaves off the salt the chef/judges are always very disappointed and will hardly even taste the food.
Only these last few years. Chefs not seasoning their food has become a huge problem, these celeb chefs decided that they could no longer stay silent. The no seasonings chefs say if you complain " I want you to taste the food. In reality they are being lazy. Salt enhances the natural flavor, it does not cover it. You also see these celeb chefs increasingly getting on the contestants for not putting acid in their dishes, another thing that is often required to bring out full flavor.
I have told this story before: I took a cooking class with chef Bruce Naftaly at Le Gourmand, he who is known for his soups and sauces. He made a soup, and at the very end he took a box of kosher salt and started pouring, and pouring. He stopped. He said " I bet you think I am done". Then started pouring again. He then gave a lecture on how salt is a requirement to bring out the flavor. The soup was delish, and did not taste at all over salted. So much for the healthy food nazi's who claim that campbell's uses a lot of salt because they use inferior ingredients.
I also have a nice selection of finishing salts on hand
I just started a few years ago. The first time i really saw an array of salts was at the old Belly Timber in Portland, which you and I have talked about. THen soon after I went to Volterra in Ballard which has as its thing homemade fennel salt on every table and in a lot of the food. I was hooked. Before that I thought salt snobs were all show. Now I take a selection of salts when we go out, since I cant trust the chefs to salt their food, and even now most offer only common salt to fix the food with at the table. Increasingly salt and pepper has been removed from the table, you have to ask for it. I usually dont go back to those places. Sometimes they dont even want to bring any they say something to the effect " the chef believes the food is properly enjoyed without the addition of salt". **** the chef, I am the one paying the freight, give me what I want. Maybe this is a Seattle thing, as I have not seen it in Portland yet. Compared to Portland Seattle is full of stuck up assholes.