Kitchen Terms | Words | Sayings

The Essential Kitchen Terms – Words And Sayings Used By Chefs

The Essential Kitchen Terms – Words And Sayings Used By Chefs

To follow the common kitchen terms used by chefs in professional kitchens. When you work in a kitchen for the first time you will discover a lot of unusual words and kitchen terms. Many of these words have been taken from the French language such as; mise en place and a la carte. An a la carte menu is very different from a set price menu. Mise en place is a term I use as a chef which means a list of all the preparation work that needs to be done.

  In-Depth Explanations For Starters 

What is a vegan?

What does Mise en place mean?

Who is a chef de rang?

More About Modern kitchen skills

What Is A Sous vide machine?

What does a la carte mean?

 Learn What These Common Kitchen Terms And Sayings Used In Professional Kitchens Mean

 Al dente, Baste, Blanch, Broil, Caramelise, Clarify, Deglaze, Dice, Dissolve, Dredge, Flambe, Garnish, Julienne, Parboil, Poach, Refresh, Saute, Score, Pane.

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 1 – 20

Key Words – Beurre Noir | Aromatics | Aspic

Aging
Meats and cheeses can be aged. The food will be kept in a controlled environment over an exact time. This will bring out the natural flavours and helps in tenderising foods.
Al dente
Al dente is an Italian term used in pasta cooking. The pasta will be cooked to a slightly firm texture and will have a bite to it.

Aromatics

Adding flavours to foods, aromatics may include herbs, spices and vegetables.

Aspic

This is a meaty flavoured jelly. Once the aspic is cold it will set. It is used to add moisture and flavour to cold foods such as pates

Bacteria
There are good types and bad types of bacteria. The bad bacteria are the ones that cause illness. Good bacteria, like the bacteria used in blue cheese, adds flavour and colour.
Bake
When baking a cake, it is known as: to bake. Other foods can be baked including; salt baked fish. Where the food is baked in an oven.
Barbecue
Foods being grilled over open charcoal or a wood fire.
Baste
Basting is a cooking word meaning; to spoon juices, fat or liquid over a food whilst it is still cooking. This helps to keep the ingredient moist.
Batter
You can make a cake batter used in baking. Or a batter used in making battered fish or vegetables. There are cake batters, beer batters or tempura and are a mixture of flour and other liquids.
Beat
Mixing with a spoon, spatula or on an electric mixer rapidly.

Beurre Noir

Heating a butter until it is dark brown in colour.

Bisque
A shellfish soup often using lobster, it can be thickened and cream added at the end.
Blackened
A cooking method using foods that have been highly seasoned. Often using a Cajun spice mix and cooked on a high heat.
Blanch
Means to part boil a vegetable until it is half cooked in boiling salted water. The food will be placed in iced water to cool once blanched.
Blend
Blending two or more ingredients into an even mixture. Commonly being done with a stick blender or thermomixer.

Boil

Liquids are heated to 100 degrees Celsius and left on a rolling boil.

Bouillabaisse
This is a fish soup with tomatoes, fennel, wine and saffron added.
Bouquet Garni
A bunch of seasonings tied and left to flavour soups, braised foods and stocks. Such as; bay leaf and thyme, tied in a leek leaf.
Braise

A food slowly cooked submerged in a liquid. Braised foods can include; pork belly, shin of beef or leeks.
Breaded
Foods will be dipped in flour, eggs and finally coated in breadcrumbs. They can be deep fried or pan fried with panko breadcrumbs giving a crispier finish.

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 21 – 40

Key Words – Butterfly | Caramel | Clarify

Brown
Browning can be done at the beginning of cooking or at the end depending on the dish. The outside will be browned to add flavour and look great.
Brush
Coating foods using a pastry brush with butter or a glaze.
Buttercream
A frosting for cakes made from sugar, butter, eggs and flavours being added.

Butterfly

A chicken breast will often be butterflied. The breast will be cut down the centre but not completely cut in half and opened up.

Calamari
The word calamari has the same meaning as squid

Caramel

Sugar that has been cooked down to a dark brown colour. Often used in pastry, such as a crème Brulee topping.

Caramelization
Many foods can be caramelised when the natural sugars are released and cooked down. This is what gives onions or carrots the golden dark colours when cooked for a long period of time.
Chicory
A small lettuce often used in salads needs a good dressing or to be grilled as it can be very bitter.
Chiffonade
To cut lettuce or herbs into thin strips
Chinoise
Used to remove small particles of food from soups or sauces. It has a fine mesh fitted in a conical shape.
Chop
Foods cut into rough pieces with no set size.

Clarify

Making a liquid clear such as butter soups or stocks.

Coating
Another word used for the coating of a food in breadcrumbs
Combine
Making a single mixture from several ingredients
Confit
Slowly cooking meat or vegetables in animal fat, oil or butter. Duck legs are common to use the confit method coming in duck or goose fat.
Concasse
Peeling, deseeding and dicing raw tomatoes.
Core

Removing the centre of fruits such as apples;
Cream
Beating ingredients together until light and fluffy, including butter and sugar for a cake base.
Crimp
Seals the edges of pies together, often using a fork to press, seal and leave a crimped edge.
Croquettes
A small breaded rolled fried food often ingredients are mixed with mash potato.

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 41 – 60

Key Words – Curdle | Cure | Devil

Crush
Break a food down to small pieces using a pestle or mortar or a rolling pin.
Cube

To cut ingredients into even sizes with the same size sides.
Curd 
Tart filling made with eggs, sugar, and commonly lemon juice and zest.
Curdle 
The separation of milk or cream when overcooked;
Cure – Curing
Marinate foods with salt, sugar and spices. Often used for gravadlax.
Custard
A mix of eggs, sugar and cream cooked with or without a bain-marie on a low heat.
Deep-fry
Cooking foods in hot oil until golden brown

Kitchen Terms | Words | Sayings

Deglaze

Dissolving the bits and juices stuck to the bottom and sides of a pan after cooking using a liquid such as red wine.

Devil
Adding a hot ingredient to a food such as cayenne pepper or tobacco sauce.
Dice
A uniform cut can be small, medium or large dice
Direct heat
The food is cooked directly over a heat or flame.
Dissolve
A dry ingredient that has been placed in a liquid and formed a solution with the liquid.
Dough
A mix of ingredients such as flour, water and a yeast. A dough is commonly used in making bread.
Dredge
Coating an ingredient in flour and knocking off the excess;

Drizzle
Trickling a liquid such as olive oil over a vegetable
Dust
Light coating a food with icing sugar or sprinkling flour over a work surface before working a dough
Egg wash
Used to coat baked foods before or during cooking. The egg wash is made of beaten eggs.
Emulsion
A mix of oil and a liquid. A vinegarette is made by emulsifying oil, vinegar and mustard.
Filet
A meat that has been cut away from the bone. Often a fish filet that has been skinned too.
Filet Mignon
The cut of meat from the small end of the beef tenderloin

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 61 – 80

Key Words – Flambe | Flan | Gratin

Fillet
The skill to remove the bones from meat or fish. And finish with the filet.
Filter
Removing the impurities from soups and sauces
Flambe
Setting fire to the alcohol in a food to burn off in flames.
Flan
An open tart made with sweet or savoury ingredients.
Flake
Breaking a food into smaller pieces
Fold
Gently combine two or more ingredients using a side to side action
Fondue
Hot creamy melted cheese mixture
Fricassee
Stewed foods cut into small pieces served in a thick white sauce, I make a great mushroom fricassee: )
Frittata
A baked omelette that is served flat and is not folded
Fritter

A sweet or savoury food that is covered in batter and deep fried
Fry
Cooking food in hot oil until golden brown

Ganache
A coating made of chocolate and cream for cake decorating or making truffles.
Garnish
Decorating a dish with an ingredient from picked herbs to a tuille
Giblets
The insides of poultry including the gizzard can be used in a sauce
Glaze
Giving a food a shiny surface with a melted glaze such as apricot glaze
Gluten
Gives dough its elasticity
Grate
Using a grater to break food down into tiny pieces
Gratin
Often used for gratin potatoes. Sliced potatoes are mixed with cream and cheese, set and cooked. More cheese added to the top and finished under the grill
Gravy
A sauce made from the drippings of the meat and thickened
Grill
Foods cooked directly over a heat can be on cooking racks or rods

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 61 – 80

Key Words – Hash | Hull | Julienne

Grind
Break food down into small pieces using a machine
Hash
A food that has been shaped and pan fried. Made with leftover meats and potatoes.
Herbes de Provence
A mix of herbs that have been blended and commonly used in southern France.
Hors d’Oeuvres
Another word for canapes these are small portions of food
Hull
Taking out the stems of fruits including, olives and strawberries
Infusion
Soaking ingredients in a liquid to extract the flavours.
Jerk Seasoning
A Jamaican bbq seasoning. Ingredients include; chillies, thyme, garlic, allspice, ginger and cinnamon.
Julienne
Cutting an ingredient into thin strips

Jus

The juices collected at the bottom of a roasting pan

Knead
Working a dough until it becomes smooth and elastic
Kosher salt
A course salt used by many chefs instead of table salt

Leavener
The ingredient that causes the rising process in baked goods
Line
Lining a tray with parchment paper or spray to prevent sticking
Loin
A part of meat that comes from the back of the animal
Lukewarm
The temperature in between hot and cold.
Macaroni
A type of pasta that is cooked in water and made into dishes such as; macaroni cheese
Marble
Creating a ribbon effect in cooked foods
Marinade
A seasoned liquid used to marinate and enhance the flavour of foods.
Marinate

The process of using the marinade to flavour foods
Marzipan
A mixture of ground almonds, glucose and sugar used in pastry

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 81 – 100

Key Words – Medallion | Moisten | Papillote

Mash
Making a smooth mix of food, such as potatoes being pushed through a drum sieve.
Mayonnaise
A chilled sauce made with egg yolks, mustard and oil
Medallion

A small round portion of meat including pork or veal
Meringue

There are 3 types of meringue all using egg whites as a base ingredient
Mince
To break foods down into tiny pieces using chopping dicing or a mincing machine.
Mirepoix
Used to add flavour to sauces, onions, carrot, celery and leeks can all be used.
Mix
Combining two or more ingredients together until fully mixed
Moisten
Adding a liquid to a dry mix, just enough to slightly dampen the ingredient

Mozzarella
An Italian cheese with a mild flavour
Mull
Heating wine with spices, sugar and other juices.

Pan-broil

Cooking food in a pan and removing any fat that builds up in the bottom

Panfry
Adding food to a hot pan with a little oil and turning a couple of times to cook
Papillote
Foods are cooked in a packet made of parchment paper or foil. The food will steam in its own juices.
Parboil
Another word for blanching. Means to partly cook food in salted water.

Parchment
Parchment paper is a non-stick paper used to line trays to prevent foods sticking during cooking.
Peaks `
There are two main types of peaks, soft and stiff peaks. These peaks describe cream or egg whites that have been whipped up and used in many desserts.
Peel
The removing of the outer skin of fruits and vegetables.
Pesto
Traditional pesto is made with fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Although a pesto can be made with a range of herbs and ingredients.
Pickle
The method of preserving vegetables in a brine solution.
Pinch
Roughly the amount that can be held between the thumb and forefinger.

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 101 – 120

Key Words – Pit | Puree |Rolling Boil

Pipe 
Piping cream or other soft foods through a piping bag. A range of nozzles can be placed inside the piping bag each giving a different style of finish.
Pit 
Taking out the seed or stone from a fruit such as a plum.
Poach
A food is simmered in a liquid, such as a chicken breast just below boiling point.
Pressure cooking
Cooking foods in a sealed container using steam to create high temperatures. This achieves a much quicker cooking time.
Proof

The growth of yeast in a dough product before baking.

Punch down

After a dough has risen it needs to be knocked back by punching down.

Puree
A slightly thick sauce that has been passed through a fine mesh/ Chinoise.
Ramekin
A small dish often used to make a Brulee, suitable for use in the oven.
Reduce
Taking out the water content of liquids by boiling. This can also be known as a reduction where the moisture evaporates and the flavours increase.
Refresh
Dampening or soaking vegetables with cold water to keep the freshly cooked appearance.
Render
Melting the solid fat on a food to a liquid fat and discarding or reuse.
Rest
For meats, resting a meat after cooking to keep the juices locked in before cutting
Rise
Leaving a dough in a warm place to increase in volume.

Roast
Cooking a food in the oven uncovered on a dry heat.
Rolling boil
Boiling continuously and very fast
Roux
A mix used to thicken sauces or soups. Made of 50/50 flour and fat
Royal icing
The icing used for decorating cakes sets fast and becomes solid
Salamander
A gas or electric grill often used to toast or glaze foods
Sauce
A thickened liquid that adds flavour and wetness to foods
Sautee
Cooking a food in a small amount of oil over a direct heat quickly

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 121 – 140

Key Words – Season | Sift | Smoking Point

Score
Making a few shallow slits in fish or meats
Sear
Browning meat on the outside at a high temperature to add flavour
Season
Improve the flavour of foods by adding seasonings such as; salt, pepper and spices
Set 
Food turns from a liquid consistency to a solid
Shred
Tearing food into strips, usually by hand. Such as a confit duck leg or a braised pork belly.
Sift
Passing dry ingredients including flour and sugar through a sieve to remove lumps.
Simmer
Heating a liquid to just below boiling point and adding foods to cook.
Skim
Taking the layer of fat that rises to the top of stocks, soups and sauces.

Smoking Point

The point when a heated fat starts to break down and smoke.

Springform pan
A spring loaded tin often used for baking cakes. Uses a collar that fits around a base and the collar can be removed after baking.
Steam
Cooking foods over a pan of boiling water or in a steamer.
Steel
The steel is used to sharpen knives. Two main types are a honing steel and a diamond steel.
Steep
Infusing dry ingredients in a liquid by soaking them possibly overnight.
Sterilize
Using steam, dry heat or boiling water to kill microorganisms
Stewing
Simmering meats/vegetables in a liquid over long periods of time.

Stir-Fry
Small pieces of meats or vegetables being cooked at a high temperature using a little oil. Used a lot in Asian cooking often in a wok.
Stock
The liquid that is left after simmering bones such as veal and fish. Vegetables, herbs and other seasonings can be added as well.
Sweat
Releasing the moisture of vegetables by slowly cooking in a pan. This will enhance the flavour and the food will look translucent.
Thin
Adding more liquid to a sauce to reduce the thickness.
Toss
Combining a mix of ingredients, often in a pan using an upward motion.

Kitchen Terms And Sayings 141 – 148

Key Words – Vichyssoise | Water bath | Zest

Truss
Tieing a roast together before cooking. This helps to keep the meats shape.
Unleavened
Goods that have been baked using no rising agent including, eggs or yeast.
Vichyssoise
A cold leek and potato soup.
Vinaigrette
A dressing made with 1/3 vinegar to oil.Mustard and other seasonings can be added.
Water bath
This is a container with water added that can be set to a temperature. Foods can be cooked inside using bags or pans set on top.
Whip
Mixing air into creams or eggs by whisking them vigorously until fluffy.
Whisk
The tool used for whisking. Used to whip creams and eggs.
Zest
The outer part of a citrus fruit. Often cut or peeled into strips.

 

These are all kitchen terms, sayings and words that are used by pro chefs.
 

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