Terms & Abbreviations

  1. = cup
  2. = tablespoon

tsp. = teaspoon

  1. = pound
  2. = large

Pinch = app. 1/8 of teaspoon

Allemande: one of the four mother sauces. It is an egg-enriched velouté. Avelouté is a white stock-based sauce.

Al dente: usually referring to pasta—slight crunch to the bite.

Au jus: the drippings released from meats as they are slow cooked.

Bake: to cook food in the oven, usually with little fat or liquid. Also, refers to the cooking of baked goods.

Bard: the process of wrapping meat in a thin layer of fat to retain moisture.

Baste: to pour or spoon liquid over food while cooking.

Béarnaise sauce: an emulsified butter sauce made with egg yolks and clarified butter, seasoned with tarragon, shallots, and vinegar. Usually served with steak.

Béchamel sauce: This is also one of the four mother sauces. It is a white sauce made with a butter and flour roux. There are hundreds of sauces that start with this classic white sauce.

Beurre blanc sauce: a classic French sauce made from a wine and vinegar reduction finished off with butter.

Blanch: to immerse food into boiling water briefly to par cook. The food will then be finished using a second cooking method. This method is also used in the canning process of fruits and vegetables to remove the skins.

Braise: to simmer foods on the stovetop in a very small amount of some form of fat to brown.

Break: usually means a cream sauce has separated during the cooking process.

Butterfly: to cut food in half but not all the way through; when completed, it will resemble a butterfly with open wings and will lay flat on any surface.

Caramelise: to cook food over a fairly high heat until the foods’ natural sugars are fully released, and the food turns caramel in colour.

Chiffonade: to roll leafy vegetables and cut into small strips.

Chutney: an Indian condiment made from fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices; usually spicy and sweet.

Confit: usually refers to duck or goose that has been slow cooked in large amounts of fat and stored in the fat until service.

Deglaze: to use liquid to remove the remits of the item cooked in a pan, such as meat, fish, poultry, and vegetables. Wine is usually the first choice for deglazing—some use stocks, broths, and water.

Egg wash: equal parts of water and beaten egg used to brush on baked goods for added colour during baking and to seal pastry before baking.

Espagnole: one of the four mother sauces. It is a brown stock-based sauce used to make various other sauces. For example, to make this sauce you could start by using a beef stock and finish with seasonings and slurry.

Fillet: To remove the bones from fish, meat, or poultry.

Ganache: a creamy mixture of melted chocolate and heavy cream used over cakes and desserts.

Julienne: to cut vegetables or any food into small, even strips.

Leaven: the act of rising in baked goods. This usually happens when leavening agents are used such as baking soda, baking powder, potato starch, air, and whipped eggs.

Marinate: to soak foods in a seasoned liquid to enhance flavour.

Mince: The procedure used to chop food into tiny little pieces. This is usually performed with a chef’s knife.

Mirepoix: celery, carrots, and onions that are chopped and used as a soup base and to season other foods while cooking.

Mother sauce: There are four basic sauces that are referred to as mother sauces simply meaning they are the base sauce where many other sauces are created from them. Some believe there are five, the fifth being emulsified sauces such as mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce.

Pipe: This is when you are decorating cakes, cookies, and pastry using a pastry bag and a decorating tip. It is also when you are filling foods with a filling using a pastry bag.

Poach: To cook food in liquid.

Puree: to puree, grind, or mash solid foods to a smooth consistency.

Reduce: to boil liquid to concentrate its flavour and thickening.

Render: to cook down, melt the fat in meat.

Roux: flour and butter or any fat mixed to form a paste. Used to make a base for sauces or stews.

Sauté: to cook food quickly on the stovetop over high heat with little fat.

Sear: to brown quickly over high heat.

Simmer: to cook food over low heat for long periods of time.