Les Amis d'Escoffier Society Boston, LTD.

Dedicated to Auguste Escoffier the King of Chefs

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Culinary Terms of French Cuisine


à la: "In the style of"

à la broche: to roast in front of an open fire on a spit

à la carte: Dishes prepared to order and priced individually

à la Francaise: In the French style

à la minute: Cooked to order

abatis de volaille: Chicken offal

abats: Offal

aboyeur barker or caller (Fr): the person who calls out the orders to the kitchen brigade

accompaniments: Items offered separately with a dish of food

agar-agar: A gelatine substance made from seaweed

aiguillettes: small strips of cooked meat or fish (from the French; anguiles, meaning needles)

ail: garlic

aile: Wing of poultry or game birds

ailerone: Winglet

albarelle: variety of boletus mushroom which grows on chestnut and white popular trees

aloyau de boeuf: Sirloin of beef

alumette: Matchstick shape

amino acid: The basic material from which proteins are made of

antipasto: Italian appetiser consisting of a variety of cooked, smoked and cured meats, seafoods, olives etc

apperail: Prepared mixture

apprenti: Apprentice - male

apprentie: Apprentice - female

aromates: Aromatic herbs or spices

arroser: To baste

ascorbic acid: Commonly known as vitamin C; found in citrus fruits and blackcurrants. Necessary for growth and good health

aspic: A savoury jelly mainly used for buffet work

assaisonner: To season

assorti: An assortment

aubergine: Eggplant

au beurre: With butter

au bleu: Usually applied to cooking meat: very under done

au bleu: Also refers to poaching fresh whole trout,as the sea slime turns a bluish hue

au four: Baked in the oven

au gratin: Sprinkled with cheese or breadcrumbs and browned

au jus: a roasted meat dish that is dressed with its own juices

au maigre: dishes prepared without meat

au natural: dishes prepared simply and plainly without any extras

au vin blanc: With white wine


bacteria: Single celled micro-organisms (plural)

bacterium: (singular)

bain-marie: A container of water used for cooking or storing hot foods

ballontine: A boned stuffed leg of poultry or game bird, it may be poached or roasted and served cold or hot

barde: Strip of uncured bacon fat

barder: To cover breasts of birds with thin slices of bacon fat before roasting

barquette: A boat shaped pastry tartlet also a mould for baking such

Bavarois: Bavarian cream; must have custard as its base

Bavaroise: A mild punch, tea or coffee based, containing egg yolks, sugar and a liqueur

Bearnaise: A derivative of hollandaise sauce, replacing the straight reduction with a tarragon reduction

beignets: fritters

beurre: Butter

beurre fondue: Melted butter

beurre manie: Equal quantities of butter and flour mixed to a smooth paste; used for thickening

beurre noir: Blackened butter

beurre noisette: Nut brown butter

bisque: A thick shellfish soup

blanc: White

blanc: A cooking liquor of water, lemon juice, flour and salt

blanch: To plunge into boiling water or oil for the purpose of whitening as in bones, retaining colour without fully cooking as with vegetables

blanchir: French term for blanching

blanquette: A white stew cooked in stock from which the sauce is made

bombe: An ice cream speciality of different flavours made in a round mould

bonbons: small sugar confectionery

bouchées: A small puff pastry case: (a mouthful)

Bordelaise: Red wine sauce with bacon lardons and baby onions
bouillé to boil

bouillon Unclarified stock (from the French word to bubble, as in when liquid boils)

bouillabaisse: A fish stew; speciality of Provence

Bourguignonne: A red wine sauce with the addition of button onions and mushrooms

bouquet garni: A faggot of fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, bay leaf, usually tied inside pieces of leek or celery

braise: To braise

brine: A preserving solution of water, salt, saltpetre and aromates used for meats

brioche: A delicate, French sweet bread, traditionally served at breakfast

broche (la): A roasting spit

brochette (la): A skewer

brouillé: Scrambled

brunoise: Small dice of fruit or vegetables

buisson: a garnish of small groups of shrimps, also a method of twisting up pastry to a point

buttermilk: Liquid remaining from the churning of butter


ca marche: A term used at service time, to let the chefs' know that an order is to follow

calcium: A mineral required for the building of healthy bones and teeth

calorie: A unit of heat or energy

calvados: An apple brandy

canapé: A cushion of breador similar on which various foods are served as appetisers prior to a meal (cocktail party)

cannaloni: Large tubes of pasta; which are stuffed and served in a sauce, also the name of the dish

cannelons: small stuffed rolls of pastry or rice

capilotade: a kind of hashed (ragout/stew)game or chicken

caramel: water and sugar boiled together and reduced to make a golden brown 'toffee'

carbohydrate: A nutrient which has three main groups; sugar, starch and cellulose

carbon dioxide: A gas produced by all raising agents

carbonnade: A meat dish, stewed in beer

carte du jour: Menu of the day

cartouche: Round cover of greaseproof paper

casserole: An earthenware dish with a lid, also the dish of food cooked in it

cassis: A blackcurrant cordial/liqueur

cassolette: Small paper case

caviar: the roe of the sturgeon; beluga being the A grade

cellulose: The coarse structure of fruit, vegetables and cereals

cervena: Meat from New Zealand farmed deer

champignon: French for mushroom

chantilly: Whipped cream; sweetened and flavoured with vanilla

chapelure: Crumbs made from dried bread

Charcuterie: Pork butchery

Charcutier: Pork butcher

chateaubriand: Head of the fillet of beef

chaud: Hot

chaud-froid: A demi glace or velouté base with aspic or gelatine added; used for masking cold dishes for buffets

chauffant: Pan of hot salted water used for reheating foods

Chef de Cuisine: Head \ Executive Chef

Chef Sous: Second in command

Chef de saucier: Sauce Chef

Chef de potage: Soup Chef

Chef de rotisseur: Roast Chef

Chef de communard: Staff cook

Chef de froitier: Specialises in cold savoury dishes

Chef de poissonnier: Fish Chef

Chef tournant: Relief Chef

Chef de patissier: Pastry Chef

Chef de partie: Section leader

Chef de grillardin: Grill Chef

Chef de nuit: Head night cook

Chef de gardemanger: Cold larder Chef

Chef de entremettier: Vegetable Chef

Chef de rang: Head station waiter

chiffonnade: Finely shredded; usually lettuce

chinois: A conical strainer

chlorophyll: The chemical that gives plants their green colour

civet: A brown stew of game; usually hare

clarification: To make clear

clostridium perfringens: A food poisoning bacteria found in soil, vegetables and meat

clouté: Studded

coagulation: The solidification of a protein which is irreversible

cocotte: Porcelain or earthenware shallow dish, used for cooking

collagen and elastin: Proteins in connective tissue, eg gristle, found in meat

commis: Assistant cook

compote: Stewed fruit

concassé: Coarsely chopped

condiments: highly flavoured seasonings or accompaniments

connoisseur: Expert

consommé: Basic clear soup

contrefilet: Boned sirloin of beef

cook out: The process of cooking the flour in a roux

cordon: A thin line or thread of sauce

correcting: To adjust the seasoning, consistency or colour

cote: A rib or chop

cotelette: Cutlet

cottage cheese: A soft cheese made from skimmed milk

coulis: A sauce, generally of strained, pureed fruit or vegetable

coupe: Cut

coupe: An individual serving bowl

court bouillon: A well flavoured cooking liquor for fish

couverture: A form of cooking chocolate

couverture: A covering

crème: Cream

crème fraiche: Whipped cream and buttermilk heated to 24-29 C; usually bought commercially made

crémé: To cream

crêpes: Thin pancakes

croquembouche: a dessert made up of filled profiteroles, stacked in a pyramid and coated with a (spun sugar)caramel

croquettes: Cooked foods moulded into cylinders, panéed and deep fried

croûte: A bed or cushion of fried or toasted bread

croûtons: Cubes of fried bread

croustade: Empty pastry case

crudités: Small neat pieces of vegetables

cuisse [la]: Leg

cuisse de poulet: Leg of chicken

curd cheese: A low fat soft cheese, approx. 11% fat


dariole: A small mould as used for creme caramels

darne: A slice of round fish on the bone

daube: Meat stew pressure steamed in red wine

deglacer: To swill out a pan in which food has been fried with wine, stock or water in order to use the sediment for the sauce or gravy; to deglaze

degraisser: To skim off fat

dejeuner [la]: Dinner

delice: A cut of fish : a neatly skinned, trimmed fillet of

demi: Half

demi glace: A refined espagnol sauce

demi tasse: French for half cup, refers to the bowls concentrated consommé is served in, also Italian coffees such as espresso

denté: Teeth (Italian)

desosser: To bone out meats

diablé: Devilled; made hot and spicy

dilute: To add water to

dish paper: A plain dish paper

doily: A fancy dish paper

drain: To remove liquid from with a strainer

duxelle: Finely chopped mushrooms and shallots cooked together


eggwash: Mixture of egg and milk

emince: Sliced

emulsion: A mixture of oil and water which does not separate

entrecôte: A steak cut from the boned sirloin

entrée: The opening course to a meal, traditionally in Europe is dish served before the main course where fish or meat is served hot in a sauce

envoyez: A term used at service time when calling away meals

escalope: Thin slice of raw meat

espagnole: Basic brown sauce

essai: taste, sample

essayer: To taste, to sample

estouffade: Brown meat stock

étouffé: To stew or slowly cook

étouffée: A slowly cooked meat stew

etuvee: Cooked in own juices


facile: easy

farce: Stuffing

farcé: To stuff or used to described a dish that has been stuffed

fecule: Fine potato flour

feuille: Leaf or sheet (as in paper)

feuilletage: Puff pastry

feuilleté: Laminated

fines herbes: Chopped parsley, tarragon and chervil

flake: To break into natural segments

flambé: To flame with alcohol

flan: Large open fruit tart

fleurons: Small crescent shaped pieces of puff pastry

flute: 2 cm diameter slice of French bread

foie: Liver

foie gras: Goose liver (paté)

foncer: To line the base of a stew pan with slices of ham or bacon

fond: stock or bouillon (Fr for base)

fondant: Melting; a soft kind of icing

fondue: a preparation of melted cheese, also the equipment used for this (Swiss)

forcemeat: a stuffing

frangipane: a sweet mixture of

frappe: Chilled

friandises: Petit fours or sweetmeats

fricassee: A white stew in which the meat, fish or poultry is cooked in the sauce

friture: Deep fryer

froid: Cold

fromage: Cheese

fromage blanc: A fat free, fresh cheese made from skimmed milk

fumé: Smoked

fumet: The essence or concentrated flavour


galantine: A boned, stuffed whole bird (or breast of veal), it may be poached or roasted and served cold or hot

galette: A French pastry or breakfast roll

garam masala: A combination of Indian spices

Garde-manger: The cold preparation section of a kitchen : see also Larder

garni: To garnish

garnish: Trimmings on a dish for presentation purposes

gateau: A cake of more than portion and usually more than one layer

gaufre: A thin wafer biscuit, baked or fried in a mould

gaufre: Waffle

gaufrette: A lattice cut potato dish, cut wafer thin

gelatine: A soluble protein used for setting foods

Genoise: a rich sponge cake

gibelotte: A rabbit stew dressed with butter, onions and potatoes

gibier: Game

glace: A glaze

glacé: Ice cream

glacé: To glaze

gnocchi: Italian word for dumpling

goujon: Small strips of fish fillet

gourmande: An epicure, a ravenous eater, a glutton

gourmet: a judge of good food and living, one who appreciates (and knows about)good food and wine

gratinée: To sprinkle with cheese or breadcrumbs and brown under the salamander

gras: Fat, plump

graisse: Grease or fat

gratis: Free of charge

green: Fresh, uncooked ; usually applied to fish

green ginger: Fresh root of the ginger plant

grenadin: small larded slice of veal fillet

grenouille: Frog

grill: A piece of equipment that cooks with heat from below (see also salamander)

groseille: Berry


haché: Finely chopped or minced

haricot: Bean

haut: High class

herb salt: A salt flavoured with herbs

hollandaise: A rich egg and butter sauce served warm

hominy: A farinaceous dish made of maize

hors d'oeuvre: Appetising first course

hôte: Host

huile: Oil


jambon: Ham (Fr)

jardiniere: Vegetables cut into batons

julep: Ancient Arabian name for a cooling drink that contained mucilage or opium. These days applied to a variety of cooling alcoholic cocktails

julienne: Vegetables cut into fine strips

jus: Juice

jus: Roast gravy; the juices from a roast

jus lie: Thickened gravy


kebabs: Indian / Turkish dish of meats cooked and served on a skewer. Also the name of the skewers; 'shish kebabs' being of lamb only

kedgeree: An Indian breakfast dish of fish, egg and rice flavoured with curry


lait: Milk

au lait: With or of milk

lame: Fine slice of

langue: Tongue shape

lard: To insert strips of bacon or fat into meats

Larder: The cold preparation section of a kitchen : see also Garde Manger

lardon: Baton of thick streaky bacon

lasagne: Thin sheets of pasta; the dish made from it

légume: Vegetable

levure: Luting; a paste of flour and water used for sealing pastry

liaison: A thickening or binding; usually egg yolks and cream

lut: See levure

Lyonnaise: Anything cooked this style contains onions as its main ingredient. Named after the French province: Lyon, which is famous for its onions


macaroons: sweet biscuits made of almonds, sugar, (coconut) and egg white

macedoine: Fruit or vegetables cut into dice

magnetron: The device which generates the microwaves in a microwave oven

maison: House

maitre: Master

Maitre d' hotel: Used to signify the Head waiter

mandolin: Tool for slicing vegetables

mange tout: sugar or snow pea

manié: Softened

marinade: A spiced pickling liquid used to flavour and /or tenderise meats and fish prior to cooking

marmite: Stockpot

mask: To coat with sauce (see also nappé)

mayonnaise: A cold sauce emulsion consisting of egg yolks, vinegar, seasoning and a good quality oil

mélange: A mixture

meuniere: Miller

menu: A bill of fare

mignon: small, delicate

mineral salts: Mineral elements, small quantities of which are essential for good health

mirepoix: Roughly cut vegetables, usually onions, carrots, celery with a sprig of thyme and bay leaf

mis en place: Preparation prior to service

miso: Seasoning derived from the soya bean

monosodium glutamate: A chemical added to food to increase flavour

mornay: Cheese sauce

mousse: A dish of puréed food[s], egg white and cream: light in consistency

muscat: A sweet wine and the grape that produces it


napper: To coat or mask with sauce

native: A menu item denoting English oysters

navarin: Brown stew of lamb or mutton

neige: Snow (Fr); white of eggs beaten to a snow or froth

Nepaul pepper: A red sweet chilli

niacin: Part of vitamin B; found in liver, kidney, meat extract and bacon

noisette: A cut from a boned out loin of lamb

noisette: A nut; or pertaining to nuts

nori: Sheets of Japanese seaweed used in the making of sushi

Normande: Applied to dishes which contain apple or apple derivatives. Named after the French province Normandy which is famous for its apples

nougat: A sweetmeat made from sugar, honey and almonds

nouvelle cuisine: The name given to the style of food that became popular in the 80's that gave back the flavours of the food. It stepped away from the heavy sauces, etc of classical French cuisine

noyau: The stone or kernel of a fruit

noyau: A liqueur flavoured with peach or nectarine kernels

nutrients: Components of food required for good health; proteins, fats, vitamins, carbohydrates, mineral salts and water


oxidation: The chemical process whereby the product is affected by taking in of oxygen, eg the browning of cut apples


paella: A peasant rice dish from Spain, that includes shellfish, pork, spicy sausage and saffron

pain: Bread (Fr)

palatable: Pleasant to the taste

panada: Paste of water and flour or bread, used for forcemeats

pane: Passed through seasoned flour, eggwash and bread crumbs

paprika: Hungarian sweet capsicum/pepper (red)

parisienne scoop: An implement for cutting spheres out of fruit and vegetables

parsley butter: Butter mixed with lemon juice and chopped parsley

parsons nose: The extreme end of a bird, where the tail feathers grow

pass: To cause to go through a sieve or chinoise

paté: Paste (Fr), generally used to describe a passed meat dish served as an appetiser

pathogens: Food poisoning bacteria

paupiette: A stuffed, rolled fillet of fish

petit fours: Small fancy cakes and sweetmeats, highly decorated

phosphorus: A mineral element found in fish, required for healthy teeth and bones

picked parsley: Sprig of parsley

piece de resistance: the ultimate

pilaff: A rice dish

piquant: Sharply flavoured

pique: Studded [same as cloute]

plat du jour: Speciality of the day

polenta: An Italian dish using coarsely ground cornmeal

posset: Hot milk curdled with wine, ale, vinegar or other acid

potage: Soup (Fr)

potpourri: A stew of various kinds of meats and spices

poulet: Chicken

poussin: Baby chicken

praline: Flavoured with 'burnt' almonds

printanier: Garnish of spring vegetables.

profiteroles: Small, round choux paste cases

protein: The nutrient which is needed for growth and repair

prove: To allow yeast dough to rest in a warm place so that it can rise and expand

pulses: Dried vegetables that grow in pods

purée: A smooth pulp


quark: A salt free, soft cheese made from semi skimmed milk

quenelles: Oval shaped forcemeat dumplings


ragout: Stew

ramekin: Cheese fritters

ramekin: Small pastry moulds

ratafia: Essence of bitter almonds

ravioli: Small, square, stuffed pasta pockets

rechauffé: To reheat

reduce: To concentrate a liquid by simmering

refresh: To make cold under running water or plunge into iced water

rennet: A substance prepared from the inner membrane of a calf's (pig's, hare's or fowl's) stomach; used for coagulating milk

riboflavin: Part of vitamin B, also known as B2; found in yeast, liver, eggs and cheese

rissoler: To fry to a golden brown

root ginger: The root of the ginger plant

roulade: To roll

roux: A thickening agent of flour and fat/oil


sabayon: Egg yolks and a liquid whipped over a bain marie until creamy

saccharometer: Instrument used for measuring the density of sugar syrup

salami: An Italian (smoked) cured sausage

salmis: A game stew

salmonella: A pathogen found in meat and especially poultry

salsa: Spanish for sauce, but it tends to refer to a sauce that is used as a dip for finger foods

sashimi: Japanese dish consisting of raw fish that is dipped into a mix of soy sauce and waasabi

saté / satay: Indonesian for skewers or kebabs, has come to mean not just the skewer but everything served on it. Normally served with a spicy peanut sauce

sauté: To toss in fat, also a brown stew of a specific type

seal: To set the surface of meat in a hot oven or pan, so that it colours and retains the juices

seasoned: Flavoured

seasoned: When pertaining to equipment this means to treat it with oil and/or salt to give it a non stick ability

seasoned flour: Flour with which salt and other seasonings has been added

set: To seal the outside surface

shredded: Cut into fine strips {see also chiffonnade]

silicon paper: Non stick paper

singe: To brown or colour

sippets: Older culinary term for croutons

slapjack: A broad flat pancake

smetana: A low fat product; a cross between soured cream and yoghurt

sodium: Mineral found in the form of salt in founds

sorbet: Flavoured water ice, usually flavoured with something sharp as the dish is served as a palate refresher between courses

soubise: A purée of onion

soufflé: A very light sweet or savoury dish; served hot or cold

soy sauce: A dark condiment sauce of Oriental origin

soya bean: A pulse of Oriental origin

spatzlé: A German wet noodle

staphylococcus: A pathogen found in the human throat, nose and in septic cuts

starch: A carbohydrate found in cereals, certain vegetables and farinaceous products

strain: To separate to liquid from the solids

studded onion: Peeled onion studded with cloves and bay leaf

succotash: An American dish made from green corn and lima beans

supreme: Boneless breast of chicken

sushi: A Japanese dish made up of rice, veg and seafood (raw or cooked) rolled in nori and sliced. Served with a dipping sauce

sweat: To cook in fat under a lid without colouring the foods

syllabub: A cream dessert flavoured with a liquor

syneresis: The squeezing out of liquid from an over cooked protein, eg scrambled eggs


t.v.p.: Textured vegetable protein, derived from soya beans, oats etc

table d'hote: A set menu at a set price

tahini: A strong flavoured sesame seed paste

tempura: A Japanese dish of fried foods in a light batter (actually of Portuguese origin)

terrine: An earthenware dish used for making patés, patés are known as terrines if served in them

timbale: A double serving dish

tofu: Low fat bean curd made from soya beans

tourné: Turned, to shape into barrels or large olive shapes

tournedos: Small fillet steaks

tranche: A slice of, mainly applied to fish

troncon: A slice of flat fish on the bone


vanilla pod: A black beanlike plant, the flavour of which is used in the making of sweet dishes

vegan: A person that eats no animal flesh or animal by products whatsoever

vegetarian: A person that only eats vegetables and dairy products

veloute: A basic sauce or a soup based on a veloute

Vichysoisse: A chilled soup made from potato and leek

vinaigrette: A salad dressing made from good quality olive oil and vinegar

vitamin B: A complex vitamin

vitamins: Chemical substances which assist the regulation of the body's processes

vol au vent: A large puff pastry case


wasaabi: Japanese horseradish, that has an unusual florescent green flesh, it has a very strong taste and is used greatly in Japanese cuisine.

wok: A round bottomed type frying pan used extensively in Chinese cuisine


yeast extract: A mixture of brewers yeast and salt, high in flavour, protein and vitamin B

yoghurt: Easily digested fermented milk product