Chefs Cooking Glossary
After all this time in the hospitality my vocabulary changed and became more like an “expert language”. To give you some insides in common wordings and products I created this Chefs Cooking Glossary, which will help you to feel more comfortable in my blog.
The acai berry is an inch-long, reddish-purple fruit. It comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. Acai fruit pulp is even richer in antioxidants then cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries.
Agave Nectar/ Syrup
also known as maguey syrup or agave nectar, is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of agave. Blue-agave syrup contains 56% fructose as a sugar providing sweetening properties.
A la carte
Separately priced items from a menu, not as part of a set meal
Cooked so it’s still tough when bitten, often referring to as pasta
A la grecque
Served in the Greek style of cooking, with olive oil, lemon juice, and several seasonings, often referring to vegetables
Cooking until the ideal degree of doneness, often referring to meat as medium rare
The process of making something acid or sour with lemon or lime juice
The process when dry ingredients pass through a sifter and air is circulated through, changing the composition of the material, often referred to as flour
A dish in which ingredients are set into gelatine made from a meat stock or consommé
Sprinkled with breadcrumbs and cheese, or both, and browned
With its juices from cooking, often referring to steak or other meat
Coated with loosely cracked peppercorns and then cooked, often referring to as steak
The descriptor for a liquid that has been reduced until it is nearly dry, a process often used in sauce making
A container holding hot water into which a pan is placed for slow cooking, otherwise known as a “water bath” or “double boiler”
To cook by dry heat, usually in an oven
To roast meat slowly on a spit or rack over heat – basting frequently with a highly seasoned sauce
To cover the meat with a layer of fat, such as bacon, before cooking, effectively maintaining the moisture of the meat while it cooks to avoid overcooking
To pour juices or melted fat over meat or other food while cooking to keep it moist
To make a mixture smooth by lifting the mixture over and over quickly with big beating strokes or to incorporate air through a mixture
A sauce made with butter, onions, and vinegar, usually served with seafood dishes
A thick, creamy soup, with a base of strained broth (see coulis) of shellfish or game
To plunge into boiling water, remove after a moment, and then plunge into iced water to halt the cooking process, usually referring to vegetable or fruit
To mix two or more ingredients until they are well combined
To cook in boiling water, or a liquid, in which bubbles rise continually and break on the surface
Any foodstuff containing nutrients thought to promote brain function, such as oily fish which is rich in omega-3 oils.
A combination-cooking method that first sears the food at high temperature, then finished it in a covered pot at low temperature while sitting in some amount of liquid
To cover food with fine bread or cracker crumbs before cooking
To cook over or under, or in front of a fire of live coals or a gas or electric burner, or other direct heat
The process of soaking meat in a brine, or heavily salted water, before cooking, similar to marination
To spread food with butter, margarine, or egg – using a small brush
To melt sugar over medium heat in a skillet, stirring constantly, until it is a pale brown syrup
the small oval dark or pale brown seed of a flowering plant of the mint family, used in various foods to add fiber and micronutrients. Also known as a Super Food.
Shredded or finely cut vegetables and herbs, usually used as a garnish for soup
To roll foods in flour, crumbs, sugar, crushed nuts, etc., until all sides are evenly covered
coconut sugar is a plant-based and natural sweetener. It contains healthy fats that are known to help prevent high cholesterol and heart disease. Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that helps keep your gut healthy, prevent colon cancer, and balance your blood sugar.
To roughly chop raw or cooked food by peeling, seeding, and chopping to make it ready to be served or combined with other ingredients, usually referring to tomatoes
A type of clear soup made from richly flavored stock that has been clarified, a process of using egg whites to remove fat
Meat cooked slowly in its fat, usually referred to as duck
To prepare food by applying heat in any form
To remove the central section of some fruits, which contain seeds and tougher material that is not usually eaten
A thick sauce made with fruit or vegetable puree, used as a base or garnish
To press and beat the fat to soften it – or rub together the sugar and fat until the mixture is fluffy like whipped cream
A small round roll of minced meat, fish, or vegetable coated with egg and breadcrumbs
To cut the fat into the flour with two knives, or a pastry blender, until it is distributed in small particles throughout the mixture
Date paste is sweetener made from dates and water. It is perfect to use in place of honey. It isn’t as sweet, and it packs in fiber and extra nutrients that most sweeteners lack.
to remove and dissolve the browned food residue, or “glaze”, from a pan to flavor sauces, soups, and gravies
to remove the fat from the surface of a hot liquid such as a sauce, soup, or stew, also known as defatting or fat trimming
to cut into very small cubes.
to coat wet or moist foods with a dry ingredient before cooking to provide an even coating
to put oil, vinegar, salt, or other toppings on a salad or other food
to remove the string from a string bean or to thinly slice almonds
to slice thinly, similar to julienne style, but not as long
a dish consisting of fish marinated for approximately one day in a sauce of olive oil, vinegar, herbs, vegetables, and spices, and then poached or fried and allowed to cool
Food and Beverage, in the hospitality it’s broadly defined as the process of preparing, presenting and serving of food and beverages to the customers in restaurants (outlets)
a boneless piece of meat, poultry, or fish; the French version, spelled as “filet,” is also used when referencing a cut of beef that is boneless, such as filet mignon
the process of adding alcohol such as brandy, cognac, or rum to a hot pan to create a burst of flames
the process of removing all fat, meat, and cartilage from rib bones on a rack roast by cutting between the bones with a sharp paring knife, often referring to lamb, beef, or pork rib
to cook in hot fat. Deep Fry – to cook in fat deep enough to cover the food. (I don’t like this cooking technique, this serves the completion only)
a Polish dish of de-boned stuffed meat that is poached in gelatine stock, pressed, and served cold with aspic or its jelly
flat, round cakes of pastry, often topped with fruit or food prepared in served in the shape of a flat round cake, such as “a galette of potatoes”
to ornament food before serving.
a Spanish dish of cold, uncooked soup, which typically contains tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, oil, and vinegar
to put food through a food chopper
a spicy, aromatic chili paste made from a variety of hot peppers and spices, often used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking
in its simplest form, pure honey is gently filtered with nothing at all being added to the honey. No sweeteners, oils or flavors.
Indochine may refer to: Indochina (French: Indochine), a region in Southeast Asia roughly east of India and south of China. Sometimes you will find a fusion of traditional Indochine dishes combined with French cooking techniques.
the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from a vegetable in water, oil, or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the liquid over time, also known as steeping
food such as meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables, wrapped around a filling such as cheese, cured meats, or nuts
the process of exposing food to radiation, designed to eliminate disease-causing germs from foods
a pure, transparent form of gelatine, obtained from the bladders of certain fish, used in jellies as a clarifying agent
the process of poking holes into the muscle of meat to tenderize it, also known as needling
an oversize wine bottle holding about three liters
to cut vegetables into thin, lengthwise strips.
meat juice that has been lightly thickened with either arrowroot or corn starch
a whole herring that has been split into a butterfly fashion from tail to head, gutted, salted, or pickled
a fragrant, colourless, unaged brandy distilled from fermented cherries, used with fondue
the portion of an upper crust of a loaf of bread that has touched another loaf when baking
to fold dough or mixture over on itself. To work with a pressing motion accompanied by folding and stretching.
a bacterium usually found in fermenting products, such as yogurts
the process of inserting strips of fat into a piece of meat that doesn’t have as much fat, to melt and keep the meat from drying out
a binding agent of cream and egg yolks used to thicken soups or sauces
the process of softening or breaking into pieces using the liquid, often referring to fruit or vegetables, to absorb the flavor of the liquid
syrup made by concentrating the sap of maple trees and especially the sugar maple
the process of soaking foods in seasoned and acidic liquid before cooking for hours or days, adding flavor to the food
a salad consisting of tender mixed greens such as lettuce, arugula, and chicory, herbs, and edible flowers
roughly cracked or coarsely ground peppercorns, used for au Poivre dishes or for mignonette sauce, which contains vinegar and shallots as well and is often used for oysters
to finely divide food into uniform pieces smaller than diced or chopped foods, prepared using a chef’s knife or food processor
Mise en place
the preparation of ingredients, such as dicing onions or measuring spices, before starting cooking (short form: prep)
to blend into one mass by stirring together.
the base sauce used to make other variations of the original sauce; there are five variations: brown or Espagnole, velouté, béchamel, tomato sauce, and emulsions
the ability of a liquid to coat the back of a spoon or the act of coating a food, such as a leg of lamb, with glaze
injecting fat or flavours into an ingredient to enhance its flavor
Simply put, Nikkei food consists of Peruvian ingredients shaped by Japanese cooking techniques or the other way around.
used to describe food that provides health or medical benefits as well as nutritional value, also known as a functional food
the French term for egg
literally meaning “burnt onion,” a culinary term for a half-peeled onion seared on a skillet
a scrap or morsel of food left over after a meal
an anise-flavoured, strong, colourless liquor from Greece
to cook uncovered in a hot skillet without fat, pouring off fat as it accumulates.
the process of adding foods to boiling waters, cooking until they are softened, then removing before they are fully cooked, usually to partially cook an item which will then be cooked another way
the process of not fully cooking food, so that it can be finished or reheated later
a mixture of seasoned ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste
a thin, flattened piece of meat, rolled with a stuffing of vegetables or fruits, which is then cooked before served
to pull off the outer covering, as with bananas and oranges.
a sauce or seasoning mixture of parsley chopped with seasonings, often used as part of a sauté cook’s mise en place
to cook in a hot liquid, below the boiling point, for a short time, being careful that food holds shape.
a mush or porridge made from yellow or cornmeal which originated in Northern Italy
a confection of nuts cooked in boiling sugar until brown and crisp
is a type of food that can be sweet or savoury, cooked or uncooked
to work fruit or vegetables through a sieve or food mill until the food is pulpy. Baby foods, soups, and sauces are often pureed.
to make criss-cross lines on the surface of food, as part of food presentation
literally meaning “four spices,” a finely ground mixture of generally pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves, used to season vegetables, soups, and stews
a small quantity of a mixture of creamed fish or meat with a light egg binding, usually formed into a round shape, and then cooked
a stock made from bones that have already been used once to make a stock, making it weaker
to cook the fat out of something, such as bacon
to bake in hot air (usually oven) without water or cover. Originally, it meant cooking before an open fire.
a wide, shallow pan with straight sides and two loop handles, often used for searing and poaching
a mixture of melted fat and flour for thickening liquids, especially sauces
to cook food quickly over relatively high heat, literally meaning “to jump” as the food does when placed in a hot pan
to heat a liquid so it’s right about to reach the boiling point, where bubbles start to appear around the edges
a technique used in grilling, baking, or sautéing in which the surface of the food is cooked at high temperature until a crust forms
to cook in a liquid below the boiling point. Bubbles form slowly and break below the surface.
a chemical and physical process in which foods such as bread become hard, musty, or dry, also known as “going stale”
to allow dry ingredients to soak in a liquid until the liquid takes on its flavor, often referring to coffee, tea, or spices
to cook in the steam generated by boiling water.
a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.
gently heating vegetables in a little oil, with frequent stirring and turning to ensure emitted liquid will evaporate; usually results in tender, or some cases such as onions’, translucent pieces
is a Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame. It is served by itself or as a major ingredient in hummus for example. Tahini is used in the cuisines of the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean, the South Caucasus, as well as parts of North Africa. Sesame paste (though not called tahini) is also used in some East Asian cuisines.
raising the temperature of a cold or room-temperature ingredient by slowly adding hot or boiling liquid, often referring to eggs
to brown by direct heat.
to lightly mix ingredients with 2 forks or a fork and spoon.
to cut ingredients such as carrots or potatoes into a barrel-like shape that forms six or seven sides on the length of the item being cut, using a Tourner knife or a paring knife
to tie meat or poultry, such as turkey with a string, woven through the
the process of heating milk products to 280 degrees Fahrenheit (140 degrees Celsius) for a few seconds and chilling it down rapidly, resulting in milk that’s 99.9% free from bacteria and extending their shelf-life
made without yeast or any other leavening agent, often referred to as bread
to cut a zig-zag pattern around the circumference of a lemon to create decorative garnishes for food presentation
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan.
a type of sauce in which a light stock, such as chicken or fish, is thickened with flour that is cooked and then allowed to turn light brown
any food or provisions for humans; all food is a “victual”
round pastry that is baked and then filled with meat or vegetables after the fact
If something that you have cooked, especially meat, is well done, it has been cooked thoroughly. Steak for example will have a center temperature of 70 Celsius (160 Fahrenheit) degrees and above.
to beat food with a mixer to incorporate air and produce volume, often used to create heavy or whipping cream, salad dressings, or sauces
a cooking utensil used to blend ingredients in a process such as whipping
is a grain of any cereal that contains the endosperm, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm. Basically the skin is still on the grain and this comes with more benefits for your body, like a lower risk of several diseases. Whole grains are a source of carbohydrates, multiple nutrients and fiber, which is supporting the “positive bacteria” in your abdomen.
a food additive, commonly used to thicken salad dressings, that is water-soluble and produced by the fermentation of sugar with certain microorganisms
a naturally fulfilling alcohol found in most plants such as fruits and vegetables, widely used as a sugar substitute in sugar-free chewing gums, mints, and other candies
a Japanese dish of small pieces of boneless chicken that are marinated, skewered, and grilled
to cut the zest, or the colorful part of the skin that contains oils and provides aroma and flavor, away from the fruit
More than just a Chefs Cooking Glossary…
How to test, whether food is done
insert a silver knife into the custard near the center. The knife should come out clean.
when the mixture coats the spoon, the custard is ready to be poured from the pan.
using a hot pad, press the potato between the fingers. If it feels soft, it is done.
insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. The cake also will shrink from the sides of the pan and will spring back when pressed lightly with a finger.
when it melts – it is done.
they are ready to be turned when bubbles burst and the bottom of the pancake is brown.
pinch a piece of the noodle between thumb and forefinger. When no hard core remains, it is done. Al Dente.
pinch grain of rice between thumb and forefinger. When no hard core remains, it is done.
Stiffly beaten egg whites
beaten egg whites should stand up in moist peaks – and when the bowl is inverted, they should remain in place.