al dente
Italian term describing pasta that is cooked until just firm.

 

allumette
Basic knife cut - ¼ inch × ¼ inch × 2½ inches.

 

 

 

bain-marie

A container filled with hot water used during the cooking process, such as with crème brulee. Can also hold finished product.

Also known as: water bath

 

bake
To cook by dry heat (usually in an oven).

 

baking paper

Used to line pans before baking or cooking and to make piping bags.

Also known as: parchment paper

 

bamboo mat

Mat made from bamboo sticks tied together with cotton string. Essential when preparing rolled sushi.

 

barbecue
Generally refers to grilling done outdoors or over an open charcoal or wood fire. Specifically, barbecue refers to long, slow direct-heat cooking, including basting with a barbecue sauce.

 

barding

A technique where meat is wrapped in a layer of fat before cooking. Pork fatback and bacon are commonly used for barding.

 

baste
To moisten foods with pan drippings or other sauce while cooking to prevent drying and add flavor.

 

batonnet

Basic knife cut - ½ inch × ½ inch × 2½-3 inches.

 

batter
Uncooked mixture containing flour, liquid, and other ingredients, thin enough to pour.

 

beat
To mix rapidly to incorporate as much air as possible.

 

blanch
To immerse in rapidly boiling water and allow to cook briefly to seal in flavor and color.

 

blend
To incorporate two or more ingredients together.

 

blind baking

Technique where a pie shell or pastry case is partially or completely baked before filling is added.

Also known as: pre-baking

 

boil
To heat a liquid until bubbles break on the surface.

 

bolster

Heavy steel knob located at the front of a chef's knife handle where it meets the spine of the blade. It balances the knife and helps avoid hand fatigue.

 

bone

To remove bones from poultry, meat, or fish.

 

bouquet garni

A bundle of herbs, usually parsley, thyme, and bay leaves, that is tied together and added to soups, stews, and sauces to flavor them (removed before serving).

 

braise

To cook by browning in fat, then simmering in a small quantity of liquid in a covered container.

 

bread

To coat with some type of crumbs or meal (such as breadcrumbs or cornmeal) before cooking.

 

broil
To cook on a grill or rack over or under strong, direct heat.

 

brown

To cook over high heat, usually on top of the stove, to cause food to turn brown.

 

brunoise

Basic knife cut - 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch.

 

 

 

caramelize

To heat sugar until it liquefies and becomes a golden syrup.

 

cartouche

A cover (often parchment paper or plastic wrap) that is pressed onto the surface of food as it cools to prevent a skin from forming.

 

chafing dish

A container used for keeping cooked foods warm, usually on a buffet or for catering.

 

charcuterie

A French term which refers to preparations based on pork or offal, such as sausages, pâtés, cured meats and terrines. In France, ‘charcuterie’ is also the shop selling these products.

 

chiffonade

A knife technique used for cutting herbs and leaf vegetables into thin strips or ribbons.

 

chinois

A cone-shaped metal strainer with a very fine mesh used for straining stocks, sauces, and other items that need to have a very smooth consistency.

Also known as: China cap

 

chop
To cut into pieces with a knife or other chopping device.

 

chopsticks

A pair of thin, tapered sticks held together in one hand and used as eating utensils. They can range from ornate, lacquered models to disposable pine or bamboo versions. Longer chopsticks are used for cooking and are tied together at one end with string so they can be hung or used for serving.

 

clarify
To separate and remove solids from a liquid.

 

clay pots

Use by saturating with water and heating, causing steam to evaporate slowly and cook food in its own juices. Used for cooking since ancient times by many cultures.

 

coddling

To cook in water just below the boiling point.

 

concasse

The term for chopping a vegetable coarsely, usually referring to chopped tomatoes.

 

conduction

A heat transfer method where a piece of food is heated through direct contact with a hotter object like a pan.

 

confit

A technique for preserving meats such as duck, goose or pork that involves cooking the meat in its own fat and storing it in this fat in a covered container. Can refer to the technique or to the preserved meat.

 

convection

Heat transfer method where food is heated by a moving heat source such as hot air circulated by a fan inside an oven.

 

cooling tub

Japanese wooden tub in which cooked sushi rice is spread, cut, turned and cooled.

 

core

To remove the seeds or tough centers from fruits or vegetables.

 

cream
To soften a fat, especially butter, by beating it at room temperature.

 

cube

To cut food into small 1/2- inch cubes.

 

cure
To preserve meats by drying and salting and/or smoking.

 

cut in

To distribute a solid fat in flour with a pastry blender or two knives until divided evenly into tiny pieces.

 

 

 

deep-fry

To cook by immersing food in hot fat.

 

deglaze

To loosen browned pieces from the bottom of a pan by adding a liquid and heating while scraping the pan.

 

degrease
To remove fat from the surface of stews, soups, or stock, usually after cooling so that the fat hardens for easy removal.

 

devil

Method of preparing food with highly seasoned ingredients.

 

dice
To cut food in small cubes of uniform size and shape.

 

dissolve
To cause a dry substance to pass into solution in a liquid.

 

dollop

A spoonful of soft food such as sour cream or mashed potatoes.

 

double boiler

A kitchen tool used for applying gentle heat to delicate preparations such as Hollandaise sauce or melting chocolate. Consists of a flat-bottomed insert that fits into a pan of simmering water.

 

dredge
To sprinkle or coat with flour or other fine substance.

 

dress

To coat foods such as salad with a sauce. Also, to clean fish, poultry, or game for cooking.

 

drippings

Juices and fats rendered by meat or poultry during cooking.

 

drizzle

To pour a liquid such as olive oil or melted chocolate back and forth over food in a fine stream.

 

dry aging

A process, usually referring to beef, that adds flavor and tenderizes the meat through enzyme action.

 

dust

To sprinkle with flour, sugar or another powdery ingredient.

 

Dutch oven

A heavy cooking pot with a tightly fitting lid that is good for braising and making soups or stews.

 

 

 

effiler

To remove the fibrous string from a string bean; or, to thinly slice almonds.

 

emincer

To cut into thin slices (shorter than julienne); most often refers to meats, but also applies to fruits and vegetables.

 

emulsion

A mixture of two liquids that would ordinarily not mix together, like oil and vinegar. An example of a temporary emulsion is a simple vinaigrette. Mayonnaise is an example of a permanent emulsion, consisting of egg yolks and oil. Hollandaise sauce is another permanent emulsion, consisting of egg yolks and clarified butter.

Some substances, such as lecithin in egg yolks, act as emulsifiers, meaning they help liquids come together and stay together. Lecithin, a fatty substance soluble in both fat and water, will combine with both the egg yolk and the oil or butter, holding the two liquids together.

 

en croute

A food that has been wrapped in pastry dough and baked in the oven. A classic en croute recipe is Beef Wellington, or Boeuf en Croute.

 

en papillote

A moist-heat cooking method where the food is enclosed in a packet of parchment paper or foil and cooked in an oven.

 

 

 

filet
To remove the bones from meat or fish. A filet is also the piece of meat or fish after it has been boned.

 

flake
To lightly break into small pieces.

 

flambé

To drench with a liquor (such as brandy) and ignite.

 

flattop

A cooking range that resembles a griddle but performs differently because of its circular heating element which creates an extremely hot and even cooking surface. Unlike a griddle, pots and pans can be placed directly on the cooking surface.

 

floured surface

A clean surface with a thin covering of sifted flour.

 

flute

To make decorative grooves, usually referring to pastry.

 

fold in

To combine by gently turning one part of mixture over the other, keeping the mixture light.

 

food mill

A device used for grinding or puréeing foods such as soups, sauces, or mashed potatoes. It is shaped like a large inverted cone with a perforated disk at the bottom.

 

French-trimmed

Bone ends cleaned of meat.

 

fricassee
To cook by braising; usually applied to fowl or rabbit.

 

fry
To cook in hot fat. To cook in a fat is called pan-frying or sautéing; to cook in a 1-to-2 inch layer of hot fat is called shallow-fat frying; to cook in a deep layer of hot fat is called deep-fat frying.

 

 

 

garnish
To decorate a dish to enhance its appearance and introduce flavor. Examples of common garnishes include parsley, lemon slices, chives, and other herbs.

 

ginger grater

Grates more finely than standard graters to produce fresh ginger pulp.

 

glaze
To cook with a thin sugar syrup cooked to crack stage; also, to cover with a thin icing.

 

grate

To rub food against a serrated surface to produce shredded pieces.

 

grease

To rub the interior surface of a cooking vessel with shortening, oil, or butter to prevent food from sticking to it.

 

griddle

Flat, cast iron cooking plate used over direct heat to cook food.

 

grill
To cook on a grate over intense heat; also, a piece of cooking equipment where the cooking surface is an open grate with a heat source underneath.

 

grind
To mechanically reduce food to tiny particles.

 

 

 

hard crack stage

The point at which hot sugar syrup forms a hard, pliable ball when dropped into water.

 

hull

The leafy top of a strawberry; also, the action of removing it.

 

 

 

ibrik

A small, long-handled Turkish pot with a round bottom, narrow middle and flared top.

 

immersion blender

A kitchen tool used for blending soups, sauces and other liquids; essentially a stick with blender blades at the end of it. Useful when blending large amounts of product, which would otherwise require blending in batches in a standard blender.

Also known as:

  • Stick blender
  • Hand blender

 

induction cooktop

These use an electromagnetic field to heat a cooking vessel while leaving the cooking surface cool to the touch; more energy efficient than either gas or electric cooking.

 

infusion

The process of steeping a substance in water to extract its soluble principles.

 

IQF (individually quick frozen)

Stands for "individually quick frozen." Each piece of food is frozen separately from the others so that the end result is not a solid mass of frozen food.

 

 

 

julienne

Technique of cutting food into long, thin strips.

 

 

 

kitchen string

String made of a natural product (such as cotton or hemp) so that it doesn’t affect the flavor of the food or melt when heated.

 

knead
To work dough with the hands or mechanically to develop the gluten in the flour and form a pliable mass.

 

 

 

lamington pan

Slab cake pan measuring 20cm x 30cm, 3cm deep.

 

larding

A technique for cooking meats where long strips of fat (commonly pork fatback or bacon) are woven through the meat using a larding needle; maintains the moisture of the meat and adds flavor.

 

leaven

To cause to rise, especially by fermentation.

 

lukewarm
Neither cool nor warm; approximately body temperature.

 

 

 

macerate

To make soft by soaking or steeping in a liquid.

 

Maillard reaction

A culinary phenomenon that occurs when proteins in meat are heated to temperatures of 310°F or higher, causing them to turn brown, similar to caramelization. Named for French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard.

 

mandoline

A hand-operated kitchen tool with adjustable blades for thick to very thin slicing, shredding and cutting into straw-sized sticks.

 

marinate
To flavor pieces of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables by soaking them in a liquid mixture of seasonings known as a marinade.

 

maryland

Leg and thigh of fowl still connected in a single piece with bones and skin intact.

 

meuniere
Dredged with flour and sautéed in butter.

 

mince
To cut or chop food into extremely small pieces.

 

mix
To combine ingredients, usually by stirring.

 

 

 

non-reactive cookware

Made from materials that will not contaminate cooking, such as stainless steel, ceramic, or glass.

 

 

 

osso bucco

Another name for veal shin.

 

 

 

pan-broil
To cook uncovered in a frying pan, pouring off fat as it accumulates.

 

pan-fry
To cook in small amounts of fat.

 

parboil
To boil until partially cooked; to blanch.

 

pare
To remove the outer skin of a fruit or vegetable.

 

peel
To remove the peels from vegetables or fruits.

 

pickle
To preserve in brine.

 

pinch
The amount you can hold between your thumb and forefinger.

 

pit
To remove pits from fruits.

 

pizza paddle

A wooden board with a tapered edge and long handle designed to slide pizzas into the oven.

Also known as: pizza peel

 

planked
Cooked on a thick hardwood plank.

 

plump
To soak dried fruits in liquid until swollen.

 

poach
To cook gently in hot liquid kept just below the boiling point.

 

potato ricer

A kitchen tool used for pressing cooked potatoes or other soft foods through a perforated screen so that the result resembles grains of rice.

 

purée

To mash or grind food until completely smooth, usually in a food processor, blender, or food mill.

 

 

 

rice paddle

A tool used to spread and turn sushi rice.

 

reduce
To thicken a liquid and concentrate its flavor by boiling and reducing its volume.

 

refresh
To run cold water over food that has been blanched to stop the cooking process.

 

render
To make solid fat into liquid by melting it slowly.

 

roast
To cook by dry heat in an oven.

 

 

 

sauté
To cook and/or brown food in a small amount of fat.

 

savarin tin

A smooth, rounded ring mold.

 

scald
To bring to a temperature just below the boiling point.

 

scallop
To bake a food, usually in a casserole dish, with sauce or other liquid.

 

scaloppine

Slices of meat pounded to make thin and tender.

 

score
To make narrow cuts partway through the outer surface of food.

 

sear
To brown very quickly by intense heat.

 

shred
To cut or tear in small, long, narrow pieces.

 

sift
To put dry ingredients through a sieve or sifter.

 

simmer

To cook in liquid just below the boiling point; bubbles form but do not burst on the surface.

 

skim
To remove fat or other particles from the surface of a liquid during cooking.

 

soft-ball stage

At about 235°F, a small amount of sugar syrup dropped into very cold water forms a “soft ball” that does not hold its shape when pressed.

 

splatter screen

A wire mesh tool which catches bursts of grease from frying foods.

 

springform pan

A type of round pan used for making desserts like cheesecakes; consists of a bottom and a side which is removable, allowing for easy removal of the cake from the pan.

 

steam

To cook food on a rack or in a steamer set over boiling or simmering water in a covered pan.

 

steep
To extract flavor or other quality from a substance by keeping it in water just below the boiling point.

 

stew
To simmer slowly in a small amount of liquid for a long time.

 

stir
To mix ingredients with a circular motion until well blended.

 

stir-fry

To quickly cook small pieces of food over high heat, stirring constantly.

 

sweat

To cook over low heat in a small amount of fat, usually in a covered pan or pot, to soften them without browning.

Also known as: butter-steam

 

 

 

tang

The section of steel inside the handle of a chef's knife; helps balance the knife In addition to providing strength.

 

toss
To combine ingredients with a lifting motion.

 

truss

To bind the wings or legs of a bird before cooking.

 

trussing needle

A large, thick stainless-steel needle used to tie loose parts of meat or poultry together with kitchen string.

 

 

 

unleavened

Bread made without a raising agent.

 

 

 

whip
To beat rapidly to incorporate air and produce expansion, such as with heavy cream.

 

whisk

To beat ingredients with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

 

 

 

zester

A small tool for scraping off zest.

 

zest

The outer, colored part of the peel of citrus fruit.

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