People with a good sense of smell or a tendency toward high blood pressure might want to avoid four-star restaurants, the author of a study of top chefs said Wednesday.

Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, said a study of Chicago's top chefs found three in 10 had a reduced ability to smell and seven in 10 had a reduced ability to taste, especially salt."We were not expecting this at all. We thought chefs would actually have a better sense of smell than you or I," Hirsch said.

None of the chefs could recognize the scents of wintergreen, coconut or chicken soup and 20 percent could not recognize the scents of green apple or peppermint.

The reason why the chefs had a reduced ability to smell and taste prompted several theories that were discarded.

"The theory we finally came up with has to do with who eats at these restaurants," said Hirsch. Successful businesspeople tend to be older men, who generally have a poorer sense of smell than women. .