No you didn’t read that wrong, this technique is actually a close cousin to the Mallaird reaction that creates that nice brown color that you want on the outside of steaks and toasted marshmallows.
The Mallard reaction is actually aptly named because it does have a little something to do with our friend,
If you’ve ever seen ducks swim, you’ll notice that they seem to possess the uncanny ability to dive underwater but come up looking all nice, shiny, and put together. All this is due to the fact that they have a special gland that secretes an oil that they use to preen their feathers and thus repel water.
Chefs have utilized this same concept to add shine to their dishes prior to plating. A great example of this would be grains. Cooked pearled couscous can look a bit dull and lackluster when just put on a plate. Now consider adding a bit of a neutral oil and giving that couscous a toss to coat the pearls before serving and all of a sudden you have something shiny and glossy that stands out on the plate.
Edit: April fools! Most of the information presented was actually true. Only the nomenclature is fake.