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French Culinary Terms

The next podcast is here and we deal with French culinary terms. Chef Germain Peladeau and I talk over a list of commonly used words in the classical kitchen. It’s a very relaxed 9 minutes of fun and information. Chef Peladeau was one of my teachers years ago right here at CHIC. I look up to him; I have to he’s much taller. No, seriously, he is one of the best chefs I have ever met. I hope you enjoy and learn from the recording.

French Culinary Terms Link

Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America Culinary Glossary

Allumette: a “matchstick cut”, 1/8 by 1/8 by 2 inches, most often applied to potatoes.

Anglaise: a vanilla stirred custard consisting of milk, sugar and egg yolks.

Aspic: clarified stock with addition of gelatin, used to garnish many cold preparations.

Ballotine: a hot or cold dish made from a mousseline style farce (forcemeat). Often the dish is poultry stuffed with forcemeat and then poached or braised.

Batonnets: a classical cut measuring ¼ by ¼ by 2 ½ inches, 2 inches for ACF competition.

Bavarois: a cold dessert composed of rich custard, whipped cream, various flavorings and gelatin. It is French for “Bavarian cream”.

Bechamel: a mother French white sauce made by stirring milk into a butter-flour roux. The thickness of the sauce depends of the proportion of flour and butter to milk.

Beurre Manie: equal part butter and flour (uncooked roux) kneaded together to separate starch molecules. Used to thicken soups and sauces.

Blanquette: a white stew made by poaching or simmering meat in liquid, finished with a liaison. The meat is not browned before simmering as not to impart color to the finished product.

Boudin (blanc) Sausage: a sausage made with forcemeat comprised of veal, pork, chicken or rabbit. It is French in origin.

Brunoise: a classical cut measuring 1/8 by 1/8 by 1/8 inches

Brunoisette: a classical cut measuring 1/16 by 1/16 by 1/16 inches.

Cheveau: a “hair-like” classical cut measuring 1/32 by 1/32 by 2 inches usually done on a mandolin.

Chiffonade: a classical cut where leafy vegetables or herbs have been rolled tightly then sliced thinly into ribbons.

Chinois: a metal conical sieve with and extremely fine mesh. It is used for pureeing or straining.

Ciseler: thin cuts similar to a chiffonade, may also refer to the thing scoring of skin or fish or game birds.

Concasse roughly chopped vegetables usually referred to tomatoes, which have been mongered, and the seeds removed.

Coulis: a sauce made from a puree of vegetables or fruit, either raw or cooked, served hot or cold.

Court Bouillon: aromatic poaching liquid made from mirepoix and an acidified liquid (usually wine or citrus).

Crème: cream

Demi-glace: a sauce made from 50% espangnole sauce and 50% brown veal stock that is reduced by 50%. Some contemporary interpretations omit the espagnole sauce and simply reduce brown stock.

Emincer: a cut that typically refers to a thin slice of onion or shallot performed by cutting from top to bottom of a “halved” item not by cutting across the rings.

Escalope: a French term for a very thin, usually flattened slice of meat or fish.

Espagnole: a classical mother sauce consisting of brown stock, brown roux, caramelized mirepoix, and tomato product. It is used with brown stock and reduced to form demi-glace.

Farce: a raw protein emulsification used for stuffings.

Fond: stock, there are three types: fond blanc which is white stock, fond brun which is brown stock and fond de vegetal which is vegetable stock.

Fricassee: a white braise or stew. Product is sweated in fat imparting no color and finished in sauce (no liaison).

Fumet: a concentrated stock.

Galantine: poultry poached and served cold

Garde manger: means pantry where cold foods are prepared.

Gaufrette: a classical “waffle” like cut done on a mandolin.

Hollandaise: hot emulsion of egg yolks, classic reduction (or white wine and lemon juice), with clarified butter, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper.

Julienne: a classical cut measuring 1/8 by 1/8 by 2 inches

Macedoine: refers to a medium dice for mixed vegetables or fruits.

Mignonette: a classical small “fry cut” measuring ¼ by ¼ by 2 ½ inches.

Mirepoix: a blend of aromatic vegetables used for flavoring soups, stocks and sauces. It consists of 50% onion, 25% carrot and 25% celery.

Mousse: French term for froth or foam. Rich airy dessert made with fruit puree or chocolate and the addition of whipped cream and or beaten egg whites.

Noisette: “nut” or “hazelnut” sized pieces of beef filet from the tail or butt end of the beef tenderloin. These pieces are approximately ½ ounce in weight and are often sautéed and finished quickly with a sauce.

Parisienne: a sphere shaped cut made by using the parisienne scoop.

Pate a Choux: cream puff or éclair pastry. Made from a thick paste of flour, milk and eggs.

Pate Brisee: broken pastry used for pie dough and for savory presentations such as quiches. Prepared from fat, flour and water.

Paupiette: refers to a thin slice of meat, usually beef or veal, which is rolled around a filling of ground meat or vegetables.

Petit Fours Sec: refers to an uniced or unfilled petit four such as a small butter cookie or palmier.

Pomme de terre: potato, literally “apple of the earth”.

Remoulade: an emulsified sauce similar to the gribiche except with the addition of chives, Dijon mustard, anchovies, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.

Roulade: a technique that incorporates rolled meat with a filling that is similar to a paupiette but usually browned on the outside before being finished.

Roux: a mixture of flour and fat that is cooked slowly over low heat. It is used to thicken sauces and soups. There are three types: roux blanc, roux blonde and roux brun.

Royale: a clear consume made from chicken stock, garnished with custard cut into various shapes. The basic custard mix of 1 quart of heavy cream, 10 whole eggs and salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

Sabayon: French word for zabiglione made by whisking egg yolks, white wine and sugar over heat.

Sauté: a technique of cooking quickly in very little fat, high heat. It means “to jump” in French.

Supreme: traditionally a boneless, skinless chicken breast with the tenderloin removed. A skin-on version with the arm joint cleaned and intact may also be considered a supreme or “airline breast”.

Terrine: a shaped mousseline style farce binding with vegetables or other cooked items cooked and then served cold.

Tourner: refers to “turned” vegetables cut into football shape with seven equal sides and ends left flat.

Veloute: a classical mother sauce made from white stock (fish, chicken,veal or vegetable) and a white or blonde roux, salt and white pepper.

Vichyssoise: a cold thick potage made from potatoes and leeks finished with heavy cream and sherry and a chive garnish.

2 thoughts on “French Culinary Terms

  1. as an apprentice chef that helped me immensley… last minute homework from the headchef with only half an hour to do it inbetween my split shift…. i owe you bigtime!!!! THANKYOU

  2. I cannot find a tape of “French culinary terms” or anything like that. How the heck does Cordon Bleu and CIA do it? I am in the deep Souhth and you can guess how battered the French terms get. Got any tips? My e-mail is



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