French Cooking terms – French for Hospitality and Tourism
French Cooking terms are the most important and popular in today’s hospitality industry.
French Cooking terms – A
A la Literally means ‘in the style of.’ A la Translates from French as ‘in the fashion of’.
A la Broche Meat roasted on a spit.
A la Carte Menu items prepared fresh to order. A French term, A la carte translates as ‘by the menu’.
A la Grecque Translates from the French as ‘in the Greek style’.
A L’Espagnole Literally translates from French as, ‘in the Spanish style’.
Al a Minuta A French term literally meaning cooked in a minuet; often applied to food cooked at the table, for example traditional stroganoff.
Al Dente An Italian term which describes the consistency of pasta when cooked correctly. Al dente literally translates as “to the tooth”, i.e. the pasta should be slightly firm to the bite.
Abatis Chicken giblets.
Abats Offal. A French term indicating the head, heart, livers, kidney, tongue, feet, etc, of an animal.
Aboyeur A person responsible for the calling of an order within a kitchen, making sure that each section is aware of any requirements.
Agneau Lamb. See also ‘mouton’.
Aiguille a Brider A trussing needle.
Aiguille a Larder A larding needle.
Aiguillettes Thin long strips, vertically cut, principally of duck breast and other poultry. From the French word aiguille meaning ‘little needle’.
Aile The wing of poultry or game, also known as ‘aileron’.
Akami Japanese term describing a cut from the lean loin of a tuna fish, used in sushi and sashimi.
Akami Japanese term describing a cut from the lean loin of a tuna fish, used in sushi and sashimi.
Alfresco Outdoors, in the open air. An Italian term meaning ‘in the fresh’.
Aloyau A whole unboned sirloin of beef.
Amandine A French term meaning cooked, filled or served with almonds. For example salmon amandine. From the French word amande meaning ‘almond’.
Amuse-Bouches Cocktail canapés.
Amuse-Gueule Translates from the French as to ‘entertain the mouth’.
Anglaise Means plain in style. When applied to fish it means flour, egg washed and bread crumbed. In the case of vegetables it often means boiled. In French cooking it is egg beaten with oil and seasoning..
Animelles A French term indicating the delicate tender parts of a lamb, especially the fillet and loin. Also referred to as ’criadillas’.
Annoncer To call out orders in a kitchen or restaurant.
Antipasti Food served at the beginning of an Italian meal, either as a starter or as a snack. Antipasti translates from Italian as ‘before food’.
Aperitif An alcoholic beverage drunk before the beginning of a meal. A French term derived from the Latin word aperire meaning ‘to open’.
Apparell A culinary term for a prepared mixture ready for further processing. For example bombe apparell or croquette apparell.
Apricoter To coat with strained and reduced apricot jam.
Aretes Fish bones.
Aromates Herbs used as a flavouring.
Aromatic Having a distinctive and pleasant smell; fragrant. Derived from the Greek word aromatikos meaning ‘spice’.
Assaisonner To season.
Asseoir A French word meaning to ‘to seat’.
Assiette A French word meaning to ‘place at table’. See also ashet.
Assiette Anglaise A selection of sliced cold meats.
Au Bleu A method of preparing and cooking trout in court-bouillon, a specific dish known as ‘truit au bleu’.
Au Four Baked in an oven.
Au Gratin Sprinkled with breadcrumbs, cheese or both and browned under a grill before serving. Translates as ‘with a crust’.
Au Jus Describes a meat which is served in its own cooking juices. Translates as ‘with the juice‘.
Au Naturel A food that is served plainly and simply, often uncooked unseasoned food. Translates as ‘in the natural state’.
Au Vin Blanc Prepared with the addition of white wine.
French Cooking terms – B
Badam An Asian term, meaning an almond processed for cooking.
Ballotine Fish, meat or poultry that has been boned, stuffed, rolled and tied in a bundle. Usually braised or poached. A term traditionally applied only to poultry.
Bard To cover the breast of a bird with thin slices of fat prior to roasting. A French term, derived from the Arabic word bardaa meaning ‘padded saddle’.
Barde De Lard A thin slice of salted and fatty bacon.
Barista A person employed to operate an espresso machine in a coffee shop. An Italian word, barista translates as ‘worker in’ or ‘owner of’ a bar.
Baron Legs with the loins attached.
Baron D’agneau The saddle and legs of lamb or mutton left in one piece and roasted. Also a double loin of beef left in one piece and cooked whole.
Barquette A boat shaped pastry case.
Basting The spooning of melted fat over foods, usually over roasted or grilled meats, to prevent them becoming dry and enhance flavour.
Batarde The French term for butter sauce.
Batterie De Cuisine A set of cooking utensils, pots, pans, etc. A French phrase translating as ‘set of implements for cooking‘.
Beard The removal of the beard from shell fish.
Beat To mix or stir moist ingredients together vigorously in order to combine them, make smooth or to incorporate air.
Beurre Manie An equal quantity of flour and butter, rubbed together and used for thickening sauces
Bien Cuit Well cooked.
Biscotto The Italian word for ‘biscuit’.
Bisque The name given to certain shellfish soups that are thickened with rice, originally prepared using breadcrumbs.
Bistro A Russian word meaning ‘quick’.
Blanc A liquor of water, salt and lemon juice, which is slightly thickened with flour and used For cooking. Also the French term for white.
Blanch The placing of root vegetables into cold water or green vegetables into boiling water, brining to the boil, draining off and then refreshing in cold water. To cook potatoes in oil without them taking any colour. To quickly plunge into boiling water to add the removal of a skin, e.g. tomatoes. Derived from the French word blanchir meaning to ‘whiten’.
Blanchir A French word meaning to ‘whiten’.
Blanquette A white stew cooked in a stock from which the sauce is to be made.
Blin A Russian word meaning ‘pancake’.
Blini A buckwheat pancake.
Blonde The French term for pale yellow, derived from the Latin word blundus.
Blue A term meaning extremely rare, almost without cooking; for example a blue steak.
Bolt To filter an ingredient, especially flour, through a sieve or muslin cloth. Also known by the French term buleter.
Bombay Duck Canned, smoked and especially dried bummaloe fish, usually dried, salted and then grilled. Imported from India and served as a pungent relish with curry dishes. The name comes from Bombay in Indian, form where the fish was originally exported.
Bombe An ice cream made in a dome shaped mould.
Bonbon A sweet confection; something that is sweet. A French word translating as ‘good-good’
Bon Ton A French term meaning of good taste or style; literaly translates as ‘good tone’.
Bonne A dated term for a female waitress. A French term translating as ‘good girl’.
Bonne Bouche A small piece of tasty food. A French term literaly translating as ‘good mouth.’
Boteillier A butler, derived from the old French word boteillier meaning ‘cup-bearer’.
Bouchee Small puff pastry cases. From the French word bouche meaning ‘mouth’.
Bouillon Unqualified stock.
Boulangerie The bakery section.
Boult To filter an ingredient, especially flour, through a sieve or muslin cloth. Also known by the French term buleter.
Bouquet Garni A collection of herbs placed inside a small muslin bag or into a metal infuser, to facilitate their removal after use. Traditionally they were tied inside two pieces of celery. Also known as a faggot.
Braciola Thin slices of meat wrapped around a stuffing and poached in white wine. An Italian word meaning ‘cooked over coals’.
Braiser A French term indicating the slow cooking of a food, usually covered and with only a small amount of liquid or stock.
Braisiere A braising pan.
Brasare An Italian word meaning to ‘cook slowly’.
Brasserie A restaurant serving a wide range of both food and drink. Derived from the old French word bracier meaning ‘brew’.
Brider To truss poultry of feathered game.
Brin A sprig.
Brine Water containing a significant amount of salt, used for curing and preserving meat, fish or vegetables.
Briser To break bones.
Broach A spit used for roasting meat over an open fire. Also a tool used for making holes in casks. Derived from the old French word broche meaning ‘long needle’.
Brochettes A kebab skewer, taken from the French word broche meaning ‘long needle’. Any food, especially fish or meat that is cooked on a brochette. Also known as an attereaux.
Broil To grill.
Bruscare An Italian word meaning to ‘roast over coals’.
Brun The French term for brown in colour.
Brunoise Small neat dice, usually of vegetables. Also a garnish for consomme.
Buffets A self-service meal of various dishes set out on a service table or counter. A selection of refreshments. A French word translating as ‘sideboard’.
Buleter A French term meaning to filter an ingredient, especially flour, through a sieve or muslin cloth. Also known as bolting.
French Cooking terms – C
Caldi Italian term indicating that the food is served hot.
Canapé A small cushion of toasted bread on which savoury foods are served
Carte Du Jour A menu displaying the dishes available in a restaurant on a particular day. A French term literaly translating as ‘card of the day’.
Cartoccio A cartouche, an Italian word meaning ‘paper coronet’.
Cartouche A circle of greaseproof paper cut to size and placed on top of a sauce to prevent a skin forming as the liquid cools. A small hole in placed in the centre to allow steam to escape. From the French word carta meaning ‘paper’.
Cassolette A small china container or pot, usually heatproof, used for serving one portion of fine ragouts, eggs etc.
Chantilly Whipped cream flavoured with icing sugar and white wine or brandy.
Chapelure A French term indicating brown bread crumbs.
Charcuterie Cold cooked meats, usually cured. Derived from the old French char cuite meaning ‘cooked flesh’.
Chateaubriand The head end of a fillet of beef. A thickly cut beefsteak obtained from the middle part of a prim fillet. Named after the 19th century French nobleman Francois Rene de Chateaubriand.
Chaud-Froid A creamed veloute, béchamel or demi-glace with added gelatine or aspic that sets when cold and is used for masking cold savoury foods. A French term literaly translating as ‘hot-cold’.
Chaufroiter A French term indicating a food that has been coated with chaud-froid sauce.
Chef Translates from the French as the boss, top man, a chief. Sous Chef: Second in command, French for underling, one beneath. Chef de Partie: Known for many things, a bit chef able to cover many aspects of the kitchen. Head of a section. Chef de Cuisine: Speciality chef, also known as cuisinier. Commis Chef: An apprentice or assistant. Master chef: A chef demonstrating exceptional ability, knowledge and skill.
Chemise The lining of a mould with a savoury jelly or fruit ice cream.
Chiffon A term describing a food with a light fluffy texture, usually created by the addition of whipped egg white or gelatine. Derived from the French word chiffe meaning ‘flimsy stuff’.
Chiffonade Coarsely shredded lettuce, spinach or other salad vegetable. Traditionally sautéed in butter and used as a garnish for soups.
Chine A French term indicating the removal of the spine from a cut of meat. Also any cut of meat that includes a piece of the backbone.
Chinois A fine-meshed conical sieve that requires the food to be pushed through with a ladle or spoon. Most often used to strain sauces.
Choucroute A sauerkraut popular in the Alsace region of France.
Cimier A saddle of venison, usually of stag.
Ciseler To score both sides of a small fish to allow heat to penetrate quicker. Also to shred finely.
Clarify To clear stocks, soups or cooking fats.
Cloche A round silver, metal or glass cover designed to keep food hot. Glass is often used to cover cakes and cheeses, helping to keep them fresh and aid display. A very strong, saltless, chicken stock produced by sweating chicken trimmings in butter with mushrooms, covered with white stock, and reduced by boiled slowly for an hour. A French word meaning ‘bell’.
Cloute An onion studded with cloves and used to flavour a white sauce. Derived from the French word clou meaning ‘clove’.
Coat To cover a food with an outer coating such as breadcrumbs, icing or sauce.
Cocotte A small dish used for the cooking and service of a single portion. Derived from the Latin word cucuma meaning ‘cooking pot’.
Cocotte a Oeuf An individual porcelain egg dish.
Column Cutters Long cylindrical cutters used in cold buffet work.
Compote Fresh or dried fruit cooked in a light syrup.
Condimenter To season with condiments. Derived from the Latin word condimentum meaning ‘to preserve’.
Condire A French word meaning ‘to preserve’.
Confit A method of cooking meat slowly in its own fat, then storing it in that fat. Usually applied to duck, goose and pork, with vegetables also then being cooked in the same fat. Derived from the Latin word conficere meaning ‘put or make together’.
Consommé A basic clear soup. Derived from the Latin word consummare meaning ‘accomplish’.
Consommer A French word meaning to ‘use up’.
Contiser A French term indicating the insertion of thinly sliced truffle into meat or fish.
Contrefilet A boned sirloin of beef.
Coquere An old French word meaning ‘cook’.
Corbeille de Fruit’s A basket of fresh fruit.
Cordon A thin thread of sauce. Derived from the old French word corde meaning ‘small cord’.
Coulis A thin puree of fruit or vegetables used as a garnish. Derived from the old French word coleis meaning ‘flowing’. Traditionally also an essence produced from shellfish, and used as a base for sauces.
Coupe A silver cup or goblet. A combination ice cream with fruit and liqueur.
Couronne To arrange and serve food in the shape of a crown.
Court-Bouillon A liquor made from carrots, onions, wine, peppercorns and herbs. Often used for cooking fish.
Crapandine Poultry and game split down the back and laid flat for roasting.
Crèmeux A French term indicating ‘creamy’.
Crepe A thin pancake usually served rolled or folded with a sweet or savoury filling. Derived from the old French word crespe meaning ’curled’.
Croquant A French term indicating crisp crackling.
Croquettes Cooked foods, often potatoes, moulded into cylinder shaped pieces, egg, breadcrumb and fried. Derived from the French word croquer meaning ‘to crunch’.
Croustadines Small pieces of puff pastry cut into various shapes and used as ‘bouchees’.
Croute A cushion of fried bread upon which foods are served. A pastry crust. Derived from the old French word crouste meaning ‘crust’.
Croutes De Flute A French loaf cut into thin slices and toasted on both sides.
Crouton A small cube of fried bread used to garnish soup. Bread cut into heat or other fancy shapes, fried and used to garnish various foods. A French word meaning ‘little crust’.
Crudités A selection of raw vegetables eaten as an appetizer or snack, often served with a dip or as a garnish. Celery, cucumber, baton carrots, young asparagus tips, small cauliflower florets, mangetout and baby sweet corn are some of the vegetables used. Derived from the Latin word cruditas meaning ‘raw’.
Crustaces et Coquillages Indicates shellfish.
Cuisine A style of cooking noted for its high quality. A range of food produced by a restaurant, individual or country. A French word meaning ‘kitchen’, and derived from the Latin word coquina meaning ‘to cook’.
Cuisine Minceur A low-calorie form of French cooking. A French term translating as ‘slimness cooking’.
Cuisson A liquid used for cooking.
Cuissot A large leg of pork or venison.
Cutlet A cut of meat taken from the leg or rib sections; usually applied to lamb, pork or veal. Derived from the French word cotelette meaning ‘little rib’.
French Cooking terms – D
Darne A round cut of fish taken across the bone. The middle section of a salmon.
Dariole A small flower pot shaped mould. A French word translating as ‘custard tart’.
Deglacer The swilling out of a pan with wine or stock in order to use the sediment.
Degorger The use of salt to draw water out of a food. The use of salt to draw out the bitter juices of some foods, for example aubergines.
Degraiser To degrease, the removal of fat from the surface of sauces, soups, stocks, etc.
Demi-Deuil A French term indicating poultry that has been studded with truffle.
Demi-Glace Equal quantities of brown stock and brown sauce then reduced by half. Half glazed reduced espagnole.
Denerver A French term indicating the removal of sinew.
Denoyauter A French term indicating the removal of the stone from a fruit, for example an olive.
Depouiller A French term indicating the slow, continuous, cooking of a food in order to remove any fat or scum as it rises to the surface. To skim.
Desosser To bone, the removal of bones from meat, poultry, etc.
Dessaler A French term indicating the removal of salt.
Devilled The addition of hot condiments.
Dice To cut food into small equal sized cubes.
Dorer To cook a food until it is a golden-brown colour.
Double De Mouton The two legs of mutton or lamb cooked whole and in one piece.
Douilles Piping tubes.
Dress The cleaning, trimming and garnishing of food ready for presentation.
Duxelles Finely copped mushroom and shallots, sweated in half oil and butter then seasoned and garnished with fresh chopped parsley. Allowed to dry, then used for sauces, soups and stuffing. Named after the Marquis d’Uxelles, a 17th centaury French nobleman.
Duxelles Stuffing Dry Duxelles simmered in white wine until completely reduced, then tomato is added along with crushed garlic and breadcrumbs. Used to stuff vegetables.
French Cooking terms – E
Eau De Vie Literaly translates as ‘water of life’, eau de vie is the French name given to any number of fruit brandies. Especially used to flavour sauces and sweets, they include examples such as kirsch (cherry) and framboise (raspberry).
Ebarber A French term indicating the removal of the border from oysters, mussels or fish.
Ecumer To skim.
Emincer To slice thinly, or to cut into very small pieces.
Empanadillas Small crescent shaped pastries traditionally served as tapas. Available with a variety of either sweet or savoury fillings.
En Branche Vegetables cooked and served as whole leaves.
Endive An edible plant with tightly packed curly leaves, used as a salad or garnish. A term used in North America to indicate chicory.
Entrecote Steak from a boned sirloin. A French word translating as ‘between the rib’.
Entrée A light dish or appetiser served before the main course during a formal dinner. Also a dish served as an accompaniment to a main meal. Traditionally a main course dish consisting of meat or poultry. See also under ‘appetiser’.
Entremets Traditionally a light dish served between the main course and desert at a formal dinner. Also a sweet dessert served at the end of a meal, or after the cheese course of a formal meal. A French word translating as ‘between the course’.
Epaule A French term indicating the ‘shoulder’.
Eplucher A French term indicating to ‘peal’ or ‘skin’.
Escalope A thin slice of boneless meat of fish, especially veal and poultry beaten flat prior to cooking. A French word meaning ‘shell’.Escarole Endive salad.
Espagnole Brown sauce.
Essence De Volaille A very strong, saltless, chicken stock produced by sweating chicken trimmings in butter with mushrooms, covered with a white stock, and boiled slowly for an hour.
Estomac A French term indicating the stomach of an animal.
Estouffade Traditionally a brown stock, but more commonly a beef stew.
Etamine A muslin cloth used for straining sauces, soups and other liquids.
Etuver To stew, braise or steam meat in its own juice. An old French word literaly meaning ‘steam bath’.
French Cooking terms – F
Farce A French stuffing, often made from sausage meat, also known as forcemeat. Derived from the Latin word farcire meaning ‘to stuff’.
Farci A French term meaning to be stuffed with forcemeat; usually applied to fish, poultry and vegetables. Derived from the Latin word farcire meaning ‘to stuff’.
Farinaceous Any food that contains or consists mainly of starch; potatoes, rice and noodles for example. Farinaceous is a term generally taken to mean any pasta dish.
Farineux et Riz Indicates farinaceous and rice dishes.
Faux-filet A boned-out sirloin.
Feuillete A puff pastry case cut into a diamond, round, square or triangular shape. Derived from the French word feuille meaning ‘leaf’.
Fines Herbs This is a traditional mixture of the fresh herbs chervil, chives, tarragon and parsley. Often referred to in many classical French recipes.
Flambé Food covered in a warm spirit and then set alight in order to impart flavour. Derived from the old French word flamber meaning ‘to pass through flame’.
Fleuron A small crescent shaped piece of puff pastry, used as a garnish for fish.
Floured To cover or coat food, work surfaces or utensils with flour.
Foie Gras Fat goose liver
Fold The mixing of a light airy mixture with a heavier one. The two are blended together with a spatula or spoon in a gentle motion, combining the mixture without loosing any air.
Fond A basic simplified stock.
Fond De Volaille A white poultry stock.
Fouette To whisk.
Fourre Stuffed with a filing, for example an omelette.
Frappe Chilled. A beverage chilled or poured over crushed ice. Also a dish consisting of fruit-flavoured water ice, served as a starter or cold dessert.
Frapper A French word meaning to ‘chill’.
Freddi Italian term indicating that the food is served cold.
Friandises An alternative name for petits fours.
Fricassee A white stew of meat or poultry in which the food is cooked in the sauce. Derived from French word fricasser meaning to ‘cut up and cook in sauce’.
Frire A French word translating as ‘fry’.
Fritto Misto An Italian term indicating a deep-fried mixture of meat or fish together with vegetables. Literaly translating as ‘fried mixture’.
Friture Frying fat or oil, also a pan set-aside containing hot oil or fat and used for frying.
Froth A mousse. Either a very light and fluffy forcemeat, or light iced cream.
Fume Smoked. Derived from the Latin word fumus meaning ‘smoke’.
Fume Negro Literally meaning black smoke.
Fumet A strongly flavoured, concentrated stock prepared by cooking meat, fish or vegetables. An essence of fish or game.
French Cooking terms – G
Galantine A dish consisting of boned fish, meat or poultry which is shaped, usually stuffed and cooked in a stock, cooled, glazed with aspic and served.
Garni A French term indicating garnished. Derived from the French word garnir meaning ‘adorn’.
Garnish A decorative item, usually edible, used to decorate a dish.
Gibier Indicates game dishes.
Glace Iced. To glaze cakes or pastries with apricot jam, fondant or icing. Also to be dusted with icing sugar and browned under a salamander.
Glace De Viande A meat glaze. Usually a brown stock reduced slowly to a glue-like consistency, although poultry and fish glazes may be produced in the same way.
Glacer A French term meaning to colour a dish under a grill.
Glacier An ice cream maker. A chef that specializes in pastry work and ice cream.
Glaze To coat with melted butter, jelly or sauce. To colour a sauce or sugar coated dish under a grill. To baste a meat with its own juices, to brush meat etc.
Gratinate Sprinkled with breadcrumbs or cheese and browned under a salamander.
Gravlax Raw salmon cured with salt and fresh dill, usually served with a sweet mustard sauce. Also known in Sweden as ‘gravad lax’ and in Norway as ‘gravlaks’.
Grease The coating of a tin or baking tray with butter, fat or oil in order to prevent sticking. Animal fat, especially from cooked meat. Derived from the Latin word crassus meaning ‘fat’.
Grenouilles Frogs’ legs.
Gros Sel Coarse salt. See also ‘migonette’.
French Cooking terms – H
Hache A French word meaning ‘minced’.
Hacher To chop.
Haute Cuisine Classic, high-quality French cooking. Translates into English as ‘high cooking’.
Historier To decorate or embellish a dish.
Hors D’Oeuvre Small starter dishes, served hot or cold, an appetizer. A French term that translates as ‘outside the work’.
Hure The cooked head of a pig or boar.
French Cooking terms – I
Insalata Italian term for salads.
French Cooking terms – J
Jardinière To cut into thin baton shapes.
Julienne To cut into very thin baton strips.
Jus A basic thin gravy, consisting mainly of the natural juices of the food it is served with. Also the juice of a fruit. for example lemon. A French word translating as ‘juice’. See also brown stock.
Jus de Citron Lemon juice.
Jus de Veau A brown veal gravy, produced from blanched veal bones browned together with mirepoix. Covered with white stock and boiled for several hours, skimmed and strained.
Jus de Viande A simple and basic gravy. Produced from the natural juices of roasted meat, deglazed with a little brown stock.
Jus Lie Thickened gravy.
Jus Roti Roast gravy.
French Cooking terms – K
Knock-Up The creation of ridges around the edge of a pie by pressing with the fingers.
Knock Back To push back a yeast dough after it has risen.
French Cooking terms – L
Larding The insertion of small strips of fat through a piece of lean meat. Usually pork fat is used, as this helps keep the meat moist during cooking.
Lardons Small strips of bacon.
Le Buffet Froid The cold buffet.
Le Chateaubriand The top end of a fillet of beef.
Le Chaud-Froid A creamed veloute with added gelatine, used for masking cold dishes.
Le Contrefilet A boned sirloin of beef.
Le Court-Bouillon A blanc used for the cooking of oily fish, calf’s brain etc.
Leaven To add yeast or other agent to a food in order to make it rise, especially a dough. To cause a bread or cake to rise by the addition of leaven. Derived from the Latin word levare meaning ‘to rise’.
Legumes et Pommes de Terre Indicates vegetables and potatoes.
Liaison A blend of egg yolk and cream used as a thickening agent. The addition of cream or butter to a soup or sauce. Derived from the French word lier meaning ‘bind’.
Lier A French word meaning ‘bind’.
Luter The sealing of a cocotte with pastry paste prior to cooking.
French Cooking terms – M
Macedoine A French term usually taken to mean mixed vegetables cut into 5mm dice, served hot or cold as a garnish or side dish; but traditionally it was also applied to assorted diced fruits.
Macerate The marinating of fruits in wine or liqueur, usually over night, in order to impart flavour and moisture.
Manche A Gigot Basically this is a handle that is attached to a cooked leg of lamb or mutton, used to give a firmer grip while carving.
Mangier A French word meaning ‘food’.
Marinade A blend of herbs, condiments, acids and oils used to impart flavour and improve the flavour of meat, poultry and game prior to cooking.
Mariner A French term describing the process of marinating meats in order to improve flavour and tenderness.
Mask The coating of an item with sauce.
Masquer To mask. To cover any hot or cold food with a sauce or jelly. Also to cover the bottom of a dish or mould with a sauce or jelly.
Matignon Equal amounts of thinly sliced carrots and onion, a third of the amount of raw ham and celery, simmered in butter with bay leaf and thyme, then deglaced with Madeira.
Mecerer To macerate, also to pickle briefly. A French term traditionally describing the process of preserving fruits in liquor.
Medallion The preparation of food into a flat round medallion shape.
Melange The combination of two or more fruits or vegetables prepared together. A French word meaning ‘to mix’.
Mesclun A mixture of young salad leaves, usually including dandelion, endive, radicchio and rocket. Literaly translates from the old French as ‘mixture’.
Meze An assortment of snacks served either as a starter or as a complete light meal. Especially popular in Asia and usually served including stuffed vine leaves, savoury pastries and spiced dips. Derived from the Persian word meza translating as ‘taste,’ or ‘relish’.
Mie-De-Pain Fresh white bread with the crusts removed, allowed to dry and rubbed through a course sieve to produce breadcrumbs. Used with flour and whisked egg to coat fish, meat, etc.
Mignardises An alternative name for petits fours.
Migonette Coarsely ground pepper. See also ‘gros sel’.
Mijoter A French term describing the process of simmering a food slowly for a long period.
Mille-Feuilles Translates as a thousand leaves, a puff pastry and cream slice. Translates from the French as a ‘thousand leaves’.
Mirepoix A selection of roughly cut vegetables and herbs used for the flavouring of soups and sauces. Traditionally in French cookery carrots, onions celery, bacon, bay leaf and thyme are used. Named after the Duc de Mirepoix an 18th centaury French diplomat and general.
Mirepoix-Bordelaise Carrots, onions, parsley stalks, bay leaf and thyme, stewed slowly in butter until moist. Used chiefly for hot lobster and shellfish dishes.
Mis-En-Place Literally translates as in its place. Basic preparations prior to service. Literally translates from the French as ‘in its place’.
Monter To whip egg, egg white or butter into a sauce, soup, etc.
Mornay A food served in a cheese sauce, for example cauliflower mornay. Named after the 17th century French writer Philip de Mornay.
Mortifer A French term meaning the hanging of meat, game or poultry.
Mouiller A French term meaning to moisten ingredients with water or stock prior to cooking.
Moule A mould.
Mousseline A mixture of pureed raw fish or poultry, blended with egg whites and cream until light and fluffy. Usually poached or baked in small moulds using a bain marie, and served with a strongly flavoured sauce.
Muslin A thin loosely woven cotton fabric, originally used to wrap butter, and traditionally used to strain soups, sauces, etc.
French Cooking terms – N
Napper A French term describing the coating of a prepared dish with sauce.
Noisette A small round cut of meat, often lamb. Also to be shaped or coloured like a nut. A French word translating as ‘little nut‘.
Noix A nut. Also the cushion piece of a leg of veal.
French Cooking terms – O
Oeuf Sur Le Plat Egg cooked in an egg dish.
French Cooking terms – P
Panache Mixed, multi coloured ice cream or jelly in a mould. Also mixed fruits or vegetables. Derived from the Italian word pennacchio meaning ‘plume of feathers’.
Panade A thick paste produced using starchy ingredients such as flour, potato or rice blended together with water or stock. Used as a thickener for sauces, or as a binding agent for stuffing. There are five basic types of panade: 1) White bread crumbs soaked in milk, lightly seasoned with salt and white pepper, then gently heated until the liquid evaporates, allowed to cool before use. 2) Choux paste produced without the addition of eggs. 3) Flour blended with egg yolks, melted butter, grated nutmeg, salt and white pepper, then softened with boiled milk and allowed to cool before use. 4) Rice cooked in a white consomme and blended into a smooth paste when cooked. 5) Potatoes prepared and cooked in milk, minced and seasoned with salt, white pepper, nutmeg, then reduced and blended with butter. Derived from the Latin word panis meaning ‘bread’.
Pane To pass fish, chicken, etc. through seasoned flour, beaten egg and white breadcrumbs.
Pantry A highly ventilated cold room used for storing food. A small closed space connected to a kitchen, and used for storing food and utensils. Derived from the French word paneterie meaning a ‘cupboard for bread’.
Papillote A term used to describe food that has been cooked and served inside a buttered paper bag to preserve flavour and moisture. Often grease proof paper or parchment is used, and a method traditionally reserved for the cooking of fish. A French word translating as ‘butterfly’.
Parer A French term meaning the trimming of any food and remove all superfluous parts.
Partie Any section of a kitchen that is responsible for a particular course. A French word translating as ‘divide’.
Pass To push through a metal sieve, strainer or muslin.
Passer To strain.
Pate Savoury mixtures of animal livers, blended with other meats, vegetables and condiments. They may be either smooth or coarse in texture. Also the French term for a pastry or other dough, and translating as ‘paste’.
Patisserie Indicates pastry. Also an establishment the specialises in the production and sale of cakes and pastries. Derived from the old French word pasticier meaning to ‘make pastry’.
Patty A small flat individual cake, produced from minced meat, vegetables or other ingredients.
Pauillac A milk fed lamb.
Paupiette A French term meaning a thin strip of meat, poultry or fish rolled in a stuffing and then poached.
Paysanne Literally means in a county style, usually vegetables cut into 15mm round or square shapes. Usually a combination of potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbage.
Pesce Italian term indicating the seafood selection on a menu.
Petits Fours Very small bite size sweet biscuits or cakes, served at the end of a meal with coffee. See also ‘friandises’. A French term translating as ‘little oven’.
Piccata An Italian term describing thin slices of meat sautéed, and served in a spicy lemon and butter sauce.
Pincer A French term describing the browning of vegetables or bones in an oven.
Piquant Having a flavour, taste or smell that is spicy or savoury, often with a slightly tart or bitter edge to it.
Pipe The use of a piping bag for the ornamental decoration of food.
Piquer The insertion of large lardoons of bacon, fat, ham or truffle into meat or poultry. A French term meaning to ‘attach ingredients’.
Plier To fold over.
Pluck The removal of feathers from poultry and game. Also the stomach of a sheep traditionally used when making ‘haggis’.
Poach The cooking of a food by submerging it in a simmering liquid. Derived from the old French word pochier meaning to ‘enclose in a bag’.
Poele A frying pan.
Poissons et Coquillages Indicates fish dishes.
Polpetta An Italian term meaning a thin strip of meat, poultry or fish rolled in a stuffing and then poached.
Potages Indicates soups. A French word translating as ‘what is put in the pot’.
Prick This is the piercing of the skin of fruit, meat, vegetables, etc, to allow the release of air, fat or moisture.
Primeurs Early season fruit or vegetables, a term especially applied to spring vegetables. Derived from the Latin word primus meaning ‘first’.
Printaniere Literally means springtime, generally a garnish of spring vegetables.
Puree A smooth blend of food. Derived from the French word purer meaning to ‘squeeze out’.
French Cooking terms – Q
Qandi To candice. An Arabic word meaning ‘crystallized into sugar’.
Quenelle Meat pounded, sieved and shaped like a brazil nut. Often poached. Derived from the German word knodel meaning ‘dumpling’.
French Cooking terms – R
Racines Root vegetables.
Rafraichir To chill a food. Also the rapid cooling of a food by running it under cold water.
Ragouts A rich slow-cooked Italian stew of meat and vegetables, often richly seasoned. Derived from the French word ragouter meaning ‘renew the appetite.
Ramekins Small round moulds, made of porcelain, glass or earthenware. Used for cold desserts and hot puddings, or for the presentation of sauces and dips. Derived from the Dutch word rameken meaning ‘little cream’.
Reduce The concentration of a sauce, stock or other dish by boiling.
Reduire To reduce a liquid to the desired consistency by gentle heating and evaporation.
Rechauffer The reheating of leftover food, literaly translating from the French as ‘reheat’. Derived from the Latin word calere meaning ‘make or be warm’.
Releve A braised or roasted joint of meat served with garnish.
Remouillage Bones boiled up again with fresh water after the stock has been poured off.
Render The heating of animal or poultry fat slowly until a liquid, before being strained and cooled. Beef dripping, for example, is extracted from beef fat. Derived from the Latin word reddere meaning ‘give back’.
Renverser To demould, to turn a food out onto a dish.
Repere A French term describing flour blended with water or egg whites, and used to seal the lids of cooking pots.
Revenir A French term describing the process of quickly frying meat or vegetables in hot oil, so sealing in flavour and juices prior to cooking.
Ribbon Long thin vegetable shavings produced using a peeler, typically of cucumber, carrot or courgette. Also a term describing the consistency of eggs beaten with sugar until stiff; when the whisk is removed the batter runs off in smooth, thick ribbons.
Rissoler To bake or fry sharply to a brown colour. For example pommes rissolees, browned potatoes.
Rocher A scoop of ice cream.
Rondeau A large shallow pan.
Rostir The act of roasting.
Roux Plain flour and fat, usually butter, cooked together and used as a thickener for sauces, soups, etc. Roux Blonde: 10oz of flour cooked in 8oz of butter to a light yellow colour. Roux Brun: 10oz of flour browned slowly in 8oz of dripping, used for brown stocks. Roux Blanc: 10oz of flour cooked slowly in 8oz of butter, stirred continually and kept white. Used for white sauces and soups.
French Cooking terms – S
Sabayon Egg yolks and water cooked until creamy, may be used as a sweet sauce.
Saisir To seal meat over a moderate heat without browning.
Salamander A cooking utensil consisting of a metal plate fitted with a handle, designed to be heated and used for browning food. When hot it is held over the food to produce a brown or caramelized surface. A term often applied to mean a grill.
Salmagundis A French term literally meaning ‘seasoned salt meats’, but more generally used to indicate a mixture of different types of foods; often a mixed salad of various ingredients such as meat, poultry, fish and vegetables arranged in neat rows on a platter
Salpicar A Spanish word meaning ‘sprinkled with salt.’
Salpicon Meat, poultry, fish, or game cut into very small cubes for use in ragouts. Also finely diced fruits for use in sweets. Derived from the Spanish word salpicar meaning ‘sprinkle with salt’.
Sauté To cook quickly in shallow oil. The tossing of food in hot oil.
Scorch To burn the surface of a food slightly, a superficial burn.
Score Incisions made through meat, fish or vegetables to assist the cooking process. Often made to assist marinating. Derived from the old Norse word skor meaning to ‘notch’.
Seal The application of intense heat to meat or vegetables causing the pores to seal, so keeping in flavour.
Sear The browning of fish, poultry or meat quickly over a high heat, keeping the centre rare.
Season The addition of condiments to food so enhancing flavour.
Shred To cut into thin strips. Derived from the German word screade meaning ‘to cut’.
Shuck A term describing the removal of oysters and clams from their shells. Also the removal of corn from its husk, and the shelling of beans and peas.
Sift The working of ingredients through a sieve to form a fine powder; also used to aerate flour when baking. Derived from the old English word siftan.
Singe The burning off of the down of a plucked bird by passing over a flame.
Sippets A white loaf cut into 10mm slices with the crusts removed, then cut into small cubes and shallow fried until golden brown. Used as a garish for soups. Derived from the German word supan meaning to ‘take liquid’.
Skillet Another term for a frying pan, now more often referring to a small shallow metal dish used for the table service of sizzling stir fries. Derived from the old French word escuelete meaning ‘small platter’.
Skim The removal of fat or scum from the surface of a liquid, also known as skimming. Derived from the French word escumer meaning ‘scum’.
Snail Butter Butter creamed, and mixed with finely chopped shallots, crushed garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
Snip The cutting of herbs or leaf vegetables into small pieces. Derived from the German word snippen, an imitation of the sound made by scissors.
Sop A piece of food that is soaked, or dipped, in a liquid before being eaten. Derived from the German word supan meaning to ‘take liquid’.
Sopp An English word meaning bread dipped into a liquid.
Soufflé A sweet or savoury, hot or cold, dish. Very light in texture, with a high
egg white content. Derived from the French word souffler meaning ‘puff-up’.
Suer A French term indicating the slow cooking of meats, poultry, fish, etc in a pan with little fat.
Supreme A delicate fillet cut from poultry or fish.
French Cooking terms – T
Table D’Hote A meal of several courses, of a limited choice and at a set price. Translates from the French as ‘host’s table’.
Tamis An extremely fine sieve for straining food. Originally a piece of unbleached calico cloth.
Tammy An extremely fine woollen strainer.
Tenderize The breaking down of meat fibbers prier to cooking, so making it less chewy and more digestible. This is achieved by either pounding the meat, marinating or by sprinkling with a commercial tenderizer.
Terrine A small round or oval earthenware mould, or the food contained within it; usually straight sided and with a fitted lid. A term often used to describe a coarse pate or similar cold food served in a small dish. Derived from the old French word terrin meaning ‘earthen’.
The Pass The hot plate where food is plated and garnished ready for service in a restaurant. An interface between the kitchen and eatery where orders are placed and collected.
Tina A French term describing a square or rectangular earthenware casserole dish, originally used to cook foods au gratin. Any food cooked in such a dish.
Timbale A half conical shaped mould of various sizes. Also, a flat bottomed conical shaped silver serving dish. A type of hot meat loaf. Derived from the French word tamballe meaning ‘a drum’.
Tomated A French term indicating the addition of tomato puree to a preparation, so adding colour and flavour.
Tomber des Legumes A French term describing the cooking of prepared vegetables in water and butter, heated gently until the liquid is completely evaporated.
Tourner A French term meaning vegetables prepared and cut into a regular barrel shape.
Tranche A thin rectangular piece of puff pastry. Also to slice or cut foods. A French word meaning ‘slice’.
Trancher To carve or slice meat, fish, game, etc.
Troncon A French term meaning a cut of flat fish taken across the bone, sometimes also applied to a similar cut taken from an oxtail.
Trousse A French word meaning ‘to truss’.
Truss The tying of game or poultry with string to retain its shape during cooking. Derived from the French word trousser meaning ‘to tie’.
Turn The cutting of potatoes and other vegetables into barrel or olive shapes. To cut a groove or channel in a mushroom. Derived from the Latin word tornare meaning ‘turn on a lathe’.
French Cooking terms – V
Vandyking An English method of preparing whole fish by cutting a “v” shape into its tail, named after the painter Anthony Van Dyck, famous for his v-shaped beard. Also a method of preparing fruits and vegetables by cutting “v” shapes along the circumference, for example tomatoes.
Varak Ultra thin edible sheets of gold or silver used for cake and sweet decorations.
Veloute A basic sauce. The base of a creamy soup or sauce, the blend of fresh stock and a roux. An old French word meaning ‘velvety’.
Velveting A method of marinating meats used in Oriental cookery; a blend of corn flour, soy sauce and seasoning used to coat food prior to cooking.
Verjus The juice of an unripe fruit, especially sour grapes.
Vesiga A jelly like substance obtained from the spinal marrow of the great sturgeon. Used in Russian cookery.
Viandes Indicates meat dishes.
Voiler A French term describing small pieces of confectionary coated with spun sugar.
Vol-Au-Vent A puff pastry case. A French term translating as ‘flight in the wind’.
Volaille Indicates poultry dishes.
French Cooking terms – W
Whites The name given to the protective clothing worn by a chef. Traditionally consisting of a white cotton tunic or jacket, blue checked cotton trousers, white apron and hat. Its is now common for almost any colour or pattern to be used as part of the kitchen uniform.
French Cooking terms – Z
Zabaione An Italian word for a ‘sabayon’.
Zakuska A selection of blinis and breads served with various toppings, especially caviar, and vodka. Traditionally served as a starter, but now more often served as a pre theatre buffet. A Russian word translating as ‘hors d’oeuvres’.
Zesting To grate the glossy rind from a citrus fruit.
Zuppe Italian term indicating the soup section on a menu.