Field Report:
Adventures of a Culinary Padawan
École des Techniques à la Cuisine: GLOSSARY


This "glossary" is a highly personal list of things and terms I'm required to remember for class. I will undoubtedly forget to list something, mainly because I haven't been taught it, I wasn't paying attention, or I know it already and don't think it's worth noting. By all means, send me an email letting me know if you think something needs to be included here. Individual descriptions of techniques will be summarized in the field reports themselves.

The list isn't alphabetized, since I'm adding terms as I come across them. But just click on the header and it will sort the glossary alphabetically. Cool, eh?

Term Definition
Methods of shaping and cutting vegetables in preparation for cooking.
Washing vegetables in preparation for cooking.
Peeling and preliminary trimming of vegetables in preparation for cooking.
Danger Zone
At sea level pressure, 40°F to 140°F, the temperatures at which food-bourne bacteria grows and reproduces.
Kitchen Brigade
System or hierarchy of chefs/cooks in a professional kitchen, originally instituted by Auguste Escoffier in the late-1800s. In modern terms, these translate as "stations."
Garde Manger
Food station of a professional kitchen where cold foods are prepared (cold hors d'oeuvres, terrines, pâtés, galantines, cold sauces, aspics, etc. -- but not pastries or desserts).
Executive Chef
Administrative head of the kitchen-related operations, including schedules, hiring, bookkeeping, menus, appointments, organizing.
Chef de Cuisine
Head chef in the kitchen during preparation and meal service, does ordering and administrative duties, is in charge of all stations.
Second in command to the Chef de Cuisine, and is in charge in his or her absence.
Chef de Partie
In charge of specialized, individual stations or partie, assisted by a commis.
Fish chef, in charge of preparing all fish dishes, along with their sauces.
Sauce chef, responsible for stocks, sauces, and all meat and poultry.
Under the saucier, responsible for grilled, broiled and braised meat dishes. In modern, smaller restaurants, called the "Grill Station."
Some larger kitchens have this station, for grilled, broiled, deep-fried dishes. In modern restaurants, sometimes called the "Fry Station."
Chef responsible for vegetables, eggs, soups, side dishes.
Chef responsible for plating and preparation of desserts. Depending on the size and type of business, there may also be a sous-Pâtissier and an executive Pâtissier.
These people assist the Chefs de Partie and in turn may be assisted by apprentices.
A chopped up mixture of 50/50 onions and carrots, or 2:1:1 onion:carrots:celery. Scraps and trimming from other preparations are normally used to make mirepoix, which is used as a base for soups, sauces and vegetable preparations.
A variation on mirepoix, consisting of onion, green peppers, and celer, celebrated in "Cajun-Creole" cooking.
Bouquet Garni
"Garnish Bunch" -- parsley stems, bay leaves, thyme stalks, peppercorns, used to flavor stocks and sauces. Usually "bunched" in cheesecloth or tied with twine, so it can be removed easily when done.
An indication that a sauce is "done" -- the sauce coats the back of a spoon, and when you draw your finger through it, the sauce stays where it is, rather then flowing back together to close that "path" you drew. This applies for savory or sweet sauces.
Pork fatback (unsliced, unsmoked bacon) cut into double-macedoine size.
Heating fat pieces (such as lardons) so that the fat is extracted, and the leftover gribbenes become browned and crispy.
Crispy bits left after rendering fat.
Mise En Place
"Everything in it's place" -- preparing all ingredients needed for a preparation, meaning anything that needs to be chopped, measured, pre-cooked, etc. is done and put into small cups or bowls, ready to be assembled.
A method of finishing a sauce, enriching and thickening it by warming it, then dropping small cubes of cold fat into it to be melted in (commonly butter).
A liaison for sauces (binder and thickener) made of 50/50 butter and flour cooked together. The darker the roux, the more flavor, but less the thickening and binding power, due to degradation of the flour.
Mother Sauce
The basic French sauces, from which others are derived: Espag˝ole / Tomate; Hollandaise / Mayonnaise; Velouté / Bechamel; Demiglace / Reduction.
When weighing ingredients, the weight of the container has to be "brought to zero," so that you don't have to subtract the weight of the container when the food is put into it. ("Tare the cup.")
Thinly slice.
A method of dicing an onion or shallot: cut in half, then make horizontal slices, then vertical, then crosswise.
Cutting food the size and shape of matchsticks.
Dice cut from julienne, about 1/16-inch cube.
Also called batonnet - a larger version of the julienne.
Cube cut from jardinière, about 5/8-inch cube.
A tile cut from jardinière, about half the width of macedoine.
Sliced leaves - roll a bunch of leaves up, then emincer.
A rough chop, usually referring to tomatoes.
To finely mince.
To skin and fillet a vegetable such as a tomato. The food is blanched à l'anglaise to remove the peel.
A l'Anglaise
To blanch in seawater (3% salt water), then refresh / shock in ice water.
To parcook in order to clean, peel, or otherwise prepare food for further cooking. Blanched vegetables are commonly put into an icewater bath to stop the cooking / heating (called shocking or refreshing).
Halting the cooking process after blanching by putting into a cold water or ice water bath.
A l'étuvé
Method of cooking vegetables by sweating/boiling under parchment with water and butter, which forms a glaze on evaporation.
Trimmed vegetables, cut into even 7-sided, football-shaped pieces. How large they are determines their name.
2-inch long tournage.
3-inch long tournage.
Garniture Bouquetière
Trimmed, cooked vegetables presented on a serving platter.
au blond
Cook à l'étuvé with a pinch of sugar, till slightly tan (caramelized) in color.
au brun
Cook à l'étuvé with a pinch of sugar, till the pan is dry, then deglaze with a small amount of water to make a syrupy dark brown coating on the vegetables.
Acidify water to store peeled vegetables to prevent them from going brown. Usually lemon juice or white vinegar in water.
dans un blanc
To cook in acidulated water, to preserve whiteness.
To cook "Swiss style".
Shallow, wide cooking pan with curved walls; frying pan.
Apples, but can also mean potatoes (pommes de terre) when used on its own (like pommes rissoler).

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Disclaimer: All contents are personal observations, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid by anyone, including those being observed. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. This report may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.