Kitchen Technical Terms A to Z


Aigo: Simple Provence soup of garlic broth, served poured over sliced crusty bread

Aiguillette: Long thin strip cut in a slice from a breast of poultry, especially duck

Aioli: Garlic-flavoured sauce made like mayonnaise;usually served with fish, salad, or snails

Amuses: Gueule fours, assorted canapes or other dainty titbits**

Andouille: Sausage made from pig’s chitterling, bought readymade for frying

Antipasto: Italian term for hors-d’oeuvre, embracing both mixed and single ones.

Assiette anglaise: Dish of cold cuts of meat including roast beef, ham,ox-tongue and other similar joints.

Attereaux: Small items of meat, fish, vegetables on a skewer, dipped into a sauce, coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried; served as a hot hors-d’oeuvre.

Avocat: Avocado’pear, much used as a single hors-d’oeuvre,often with a filling and dressing.

Baba: Light yeast-cake soaked in rum syrup, brushed with apricot jam and decorated with cream.

Baguette: Small-length French loaf with an open texture and thick golden brown crust.

Ballotine: Boned and stuffed chicken leg cooked by braising and served with, e,g, vegetables or rice garnish; orany boned and stuffed joint.

Banquet: Formal meal for a number of persons, all seated and served with the same meal at the same time.

Bar-Ie-Duc: French town famous for its quality jam and other preserves which bear the name on the label.

Barquette: Small boat-shape pastry case; can also be shaped from other foods

Batavia: A salad vegetable also known as escarole or broadleaf endive.

Baton: French loaf made in the shape of a long thin stick.

Baveuse: Technical term used to denote a soft-centre omelette.

Beluga: Second-best quality of caviar, with large grey grains and about 5 per cent salt; the best quality caviar is called Malossol.

Bisque: Cream soup made of shellfish such as crab, lobster or prawns.

Bitocke: Round flat shape of minced raw beef or chicken, usually mixed with cream or butter and fried.

Blancmange: Cold sweet made of milk and cornflour set in a mould, then turned out.

Blanquette: A white stew of chicken, lamb, rabbit or veal, garnished with mushrooms, onions and croutons.

Blinis: Yeast pancake, 10 cm diameter x 1.5cm thick, made with buckwheat flour for serving hot with caviar, instead of toast.

Bombe: Mould shaped like a bomb; filled with several flavours of ice cream, turned out and cut into portions.

Bortsch: Broth-type soup flavoured with beetroot and duck, a speciality of Poland and Russia; served with sour cream.

Bouillabaisse: Fish stew combined with soup; a broth-type mixture of several kinds of fish with saffron, vegetables and garlic.

Bouillon: Clear but not clarified stock, usually served as a soup but can also be made into a sauce.

Brandade: Puree of cooked salt cod, usually served as Lenten dish.

Brie: Large flat round soft cheese from France, one of the most popular cheeses.

Brioche: Light yeast cake made in a large or small mould, the small ones being served as part of a continental breakfast.

Cafe-complet: Service of coffee with sugar, milk and cream, all in separate jugs, a croissant or brioche and jam or other preserve.

Calamaio, or Calamari: The squid or inkfish.

Camembert: Soft French cheese, 12 cm diameter by 2.5 cm high;one of the most popular cheeses.

Canape: Small shape of toast or biscuit covered with egg, fish,meat, etc., neatly decorated and often glazed with aspic.

Cappuccino : Cup of frothy milk coffee made with one part espresso coffee to two parts hot milk.

Carbonnade: Thin slices of beef cooked in beer with onions; a Belgian dish.

Caroline: Small chou-pastry bun filled with a savoury filling and glazed with chaudfroid, as part of a hors-d’oeuvre selection.

Casserole: Saucepan or cooking vessel made of metal or earthenware.

Cassolette: Small china dish.

Cassoulet: Kind of stew usually of goose or pork and haricot beans, cooked and served in an earthenware dish.

Cayenne: Very strong kind of pepper which must be used sparingly; often offered with oysters.

Cepe: Thick, spongy kind of wild mushroom.

Charlotte: Large-size mould used for making, e.g. Apple Charlotte,Bavarois.

Chartreuse: A moulded stew, usually made with game birds and cabbage; or a moulded sweet of jelly, fruit and bavarois.

Chaudfroid: Cold dish of fish, chicken, etc., coated with sauce and set in aspic jelly; sauce used for coating cold foods.

Chef d’etages: The head floor waiter responsible for food and beverage service in the rooms of an hotel.

Chevreuil: A roebuck, the most common form of venison;usually cooked as a joint by roasting or braising**

Chiffonade: Finely shredded items of food used to garnish or decorate a dish.

Civet: Stew of hare; the French name for jugged hare**.

Cloche: Bell-shaped glass cover used for cooking supremes of chicken, mushrooms, etc., in cream.

Cocotte: Earthenware or metal vessel with a lid; used for cooking and serving; usually oval or round in shape.

Conde: Sweetened rice entremet, usually garnished with a fruit and coated with sauce.

Consomme: Very clear soup made by clarifying a stock and adding a garnish.

Cornet: Cone-shaped slice of ham, salmon, tongue, etc.; as a garnish, it may be filled with a suitable item, e.g.smoked salmon with prawns.

Coulibiac: Large pie filled with pieces of salmon, hard-boiled egg, rice, vesiga, etc., served hot; of Russian origin.

Coulis: Concentrated essence made by prolonged cookery for eventual use in an extended form; made from shellfish, game, ham, vegetables, etc.

Coupe: Glass or silver stemmed dish for serving ice cream, stewed fruit, etc.

Courgette: Baby marrow used mainly as a vegetable; the flower also may be served stuffed and cooked.

Couvert: The accoutrements for laying a place at table for one person, done in accordance with the expected choice of menu; abbreviated to cvt.

Cover: The same as couvert; can also be the term used to denote one customer in the restaurant.

Croissant: Crescent-shape flaky roll served for breakfast; made of yeast dough rolled out like puff pastry.

Croquette: Mixture of finely chopped fish or meat, etc., bound with sauce, moulded into a sausage shape, breadcrumbed and deep fried.

(a) Small diced fried pieces of bread for a thick soup
(b) Heart-shape slice of bread as garnish in a stew
(c ) Thick square or oblong of bread for roast game birds**

Crudites: Pieces of crisp raw celery, carrot, green and red pimento, radishes, etc., served with dips as an appetiser.

Darne: Slice, approximately 2 cm thick, cut through a whole round fish, such as cod or salmon.

Demi-tasse: Smallest size cup, used for after-dinner coffee.

Dessert: The sweet course at the end of a meal; can also refer to the fresh fruit and nuts served in this country at the end of a meal.

Dips: Cold sauces of various flavours usually based on mayonnaise or salad dressing, in which bread,biscuits, pieces of vegetables, etc., can be dipped; used at receptions.

Dumb waiter: Food-lift between the kitchen and dining-room; also used to denote the waiter’s sideboard.

Duxelles: Stuffing made of finely chopped mushrooms, breadcrumbs,etc.

Entremets: Nowadays the French name for the sweet course on a menu; this used to be the name of the entree course.

Escargots: Edible snails; usually served hot in the shells as a first course.

Espresso: Strong black coffee made under steam pressure and served in a small cup.

Flambe work: Cooking carried out in front of a customer in which a spirit or liqueur is added and set alight.

Flat: A flat silver plated or stainless steel tray used for service.

Fleuron: Crescent-shape piece of baked puff pastry to garnish,e.g., a fish dish.

Flute: Long thin French loaf, often used with broth soups.Also a glass for the service of sparkling wine.

Fondue: Cheese melted with white wine and kirsch, into which cubes of bread are dipped and eaten.

Friandises: A term used to denote petits fours as a dish of several different kinds, served with the coffee.

Fricassee: White stew of chicken, veal, etc.; slightly richer than a blanquette.

Frog’s legs: The hind legs only are served as a fish course, cooked by boiling or frying.

Fruits de mer: Term to cover a mixture of shellfish including crab,lobster, mussels, prawns, shrimps, etc.

Galantine: Sausage-shaped chicken or veal forcemeat, decorated and glazed as a cold buffet dish.

Gamba: Large prawn, also called crevette rose.

Garcon: General French term for a waiter especially in a cafe where all are of the same rank.

Gateau: Elaborately decorated sponge cake for cutting into wedge-shaped portions; often served as a sweet in this country.

Gibier: Collective term for game; gibier a plumes means game birds and gibier it poil means hares, deer, wild boar, etc.

Gnocchi: Small dumplings made of chou pastry, potato or semolina, etc., served in a sauce as a farinaceous course.

Goujons: Small strips of fillets of fish approx 7 cm x 0.5 cm thick, usually fried and served in a bunch.

Gourmet: A person who is very knowledgeable about wine and food and who enjoys savouring it.

Gueridon: The trolley from which final preparations to a dish are performed.

Hatelet: Ornamental skewer used on large joints, particular cold ones on a buffet display.

Hors-d’oeuvre: First course of a menu, usually a selection of small items of egg, fish, meat and vegetables in pungent dressings.

Jambon: A ham such as a fine cooked York ham or a smoked Parma ham, cut into thin slices.

Jus: Thin gravy as made from the drippings of a roast joint, or a thickened sauce known as jus lie.

Kebab: Small pieces of fish or meat, with onion, tomato,bay leaf, etc., threaded on a skewer and grilled; another name for brochette.

Kedgeree: A mixture of flaked smoked haddock, hard-boiled egg, rice, etc. served as a breakfast or supper dish; sometimes served with curry sauce.

Kipper: Smoked opened herring, served as a breakfast or supper dish.

Langoustine: The Dublin Bay prawn, an orange-pink crustacean that stays the same colour when cooked.

Langue de chat: Dry biscuit shaped like a long tongue, served with ice cream, stewed fruit, etc.

Lasagne: Thin broad ribbon strips of pasta, cooked and served as for spaghetti.

MP: Seen next to seasonal items on a menu to indicate that the price to be charged will be according to that paid at market.

Macedoine: Diced carrot and turnip mixed with peas and diamonds of French beans, as a vegetable garnish.

Magret: The breast of duck that was fattened for its liver; usually cooked rare in that it has little fat.

Maigre: Lean in that it has little or no fat; or Lenten, meaning a dish suitable for eating during Lent.

Maitre d’Hotel: A head waiter or restaurant manager.

Mange-tout: The snow or sugar pea, grown to be cooked and eaten whole in the pod.

Marinade: Flavouring and tenderising liquid of wine, vinegar, herbs and spices; used for tough meat and for certain vegetables and fish.

Marron glace: Whole candied chestnut often served as a part of a petits fours selection.

Mtelote: Fish stew made with cider or red or white wine.

Mayonnaise: Thick cold basic sauce made of egg yolks, oil and vinegar, for serving with cold eggs, fish, vegetables,etc.

Medaillon: Thin round escalope of fish or meat

Menu: The list of dishes on offer in a restaurant; those ready prepared are on the table d’h6te side, those cooked to order, on the a la carte side.

Meringue: Light sweet made of whisked egg-whites and sugar and dried until crisp.

Mesclin: A mixture of salads grown together induding cress,dandelion, chervil, chicory, fennel and lamb’s lettuce.

Meurette: Stew of fish in red wine with onion, bacon, mushroom,etc.

Millefeuille: Flaky gateau of layers of puff pastry, jam and cream, covered and feathered with fondant icing.

Mont Blanc: Sweet made of sieved dry chestnut puree and cream.

Morille: A species of wild mushroom with a pitted, conical shape cap (morel).

Mousse: Savoury or sweet moulded item, set or cooked in a mould; very light and aerated.

Mousseron: Small wild mushroom, called the St George.

Mustard: The three main kinds are English – strong, French -milder, and German – spiced with herbs; also coarse or fine, made with red wine, cider or vinegar,thus there are dozens from which to choose.

Mustard and cress: Very delicate salad vegetable used mainly as a garnish with cold food.

Nage: E.g. homard a la nage, or lobster boiled and served ‘swimming’ in some of its cooking liquid.

Natives: Name given to oysters reared in beds such as at Colchester.

Navarin: Rich stew made with cheap cuts of mutton, usually garnished with potatoes and spring vegetables.

Nouilles: Thin strips of noodle paste, plain-boiled and usually tossed in hot butter and served with grated Parmesan cheese.

Nuts: Almonds, brazils, pecans, walnuts, etc., served as a dessert.

Oil: Several kinds of oil are used to make salad dressing,e.g. olive, peanut, sunflower, walnut, grape seed.

Okras: Also called ‘lady’s fingers’ or gombos; a pale green, elongated and hollow vegetable pod.

Orgeat: Sweet cold drink made of barley, almonds and orange-flower water.

Ormer: The abalone – a large ear-shaped shellfish sometimes caught off the Channel Islands.

Ortanique: Citrus fruit, a cross between an orange and a tangerine.

Oursin: Seafood with a spiky cover, known as a sea urchin

Paillettes: Refers to cheese straws as served with some soups, such as turtle soup.

Palmier: Biscuit made of puff pastry in the form of a palm leaf.

Papillote: An item finished to cook in a paper case so that it expands and turns brown in the oven.

Parfait: Light rich mixture such as foie gras, ice cream, etc.

Parma ham: Cured ham eaten raw as an hors-d’oeuvre when cut into wafer thin slices.

Parmesan: Very hard cheese with a sharp flavour, nearly always used grated for sprinkling over pasta dishes.

Pate: Hot or cold pie, with or without a crust, with any kind of filling; or a paste as pate de foie – liver paste baked in a mould.

Paupiette: Long fillet of fish or meat, spread with forcemeat and rolled up and cooked (a beef olive can be made as a paupiette).

Pavlova: Cake made of meringue with cream and fruit filling; of Australasian origin.

Petits fours: Variety of small dainty biscuits, iced cakes, chocolates, glazed fruits, marzipan, etc.

Piroquis: Meat or fish mixture moulded into crescent shapes, crumbed and fried; served as an appetiser or hot hors-d’oeuvre.

Pojarski: Finely chopped chicken, veal, salmon, etc., with milk, breadcrumbs and cream, moulded into cutlet shapes and shallow-fried.

Polenta: Italian type of dumpling made of cornmeal and water, stamped out as flat round cakes.

Potage: The general name for all soups, but more specifically as a thick puree soup made of pulse or vegetables.

Pouding: The French word for an English pudding, such as steak and kidney, steamed sponge pudding, etc.

Poularde: A young but large tender chicken of 2-2.5 kg in weight.

Pousse cafe: Spirit or liqueur served with the coffee after a meal;it can be either brandy, kirsch, Cointreau, Benedictine, Chartreuse, etc. Also a cocktail of several layers of liqueurs poured in a rainbow effect.

Primeurs: Early vegetables such as baby carrots and turnips and the first-grown peas and beans.

Protiteroles: Buns baked from chou pastry and filled with cream, foie gras, etc., as a sweet or as a garnish.

Prosciutto: The Italian name for cured ham, served raw and cut in very thin slices, often served with melon or a pear.

Quail: Very small game bird, now mainly reared on farms.

Quenelle: Moulded forcemeat of chicken, veal, fish, etc., poached in stock; can be a main dish or used as a garnish.

Quiche: Open flan usually filled with egg custard mix, cheese, ham, bacon, mushrooms, etc.

Qable: Saddle of hare, the part from just above the legs up to the ribs.

Ragout: Rich stew of beef.

Ramequin: Cheese-flavoured pastry tartlet.

Ratatouille: Sliced onion, egg-plant, baby marrow, tomatoes” pimentoes, etc., stewed together as a vegetable dish.

Ravioli: Small stuffed pieces of noodle paste, poached and served with a sauce.

Rechaud: The hotplate on a waiter’s sideboard for keeping food, plates, etc., warm.

RechautTe: A reheated or made-up dish; usually appears on a table d’hote lunch menu.

Risotto: Braised rice; large-grain rice cooked in stock.

Rissole: Cooked fish or meat filling enclosed in a pastry turnover and deep-fried.

Osette: A round slice of meat, e.g. lamb, shallow-fried and garnished.

SG: Menu abbreviation to indicate that the price of a seasonal or luxury item will be charged according to its size (selon grosseur).

Sambals: Side dishes served as accompaniments with curried meat.

Salmis: Game stew, usually made with cooked game birds in a rich sauce.

Salpicon: A mixture of sweet or savoury items cut into small dice and bound with a sauce, for use as a filling.

Saute: Quick method of cookery by shallow-frying tender items, or by tossing them over and over in the pan.

Savarin: Light yeast-cake, baked in a ring-mould then soaked in rum syrup and served as a sweet.

Sea salt: Coarse salt also known as freezing salt, often requested by people who prefer natural foods.

Serviette : A linen table-napkin or waiter’s cloth

Shishkebab: Skewered and grilled meats with vegetables; often abbreviated to kebab.

Sorbet: Light kind of water-ice made in many flavours, for serving midway through a long banquet meal.

Soume: Cery light, well-aerated sweet or savoury dish that has to be served immediately it comes from the oven.

Spaetzle: Very small dumplings made by pouring a batter through a colander into boiling water; a farinaceous dish.

Subric: Puree of, e.g. a vegetable mixed with bechamel and eggs, shallow-fried in spoonfuls.

Supreme: A quality piece of fish or meat, e.g. supreme devolaille is a breast of chicken.

Tabasco: Very pungent pepper-sauce sold in small bottles;used mainly to flavour a sauce or cocktail.

Tagliatelli: Thin strips of pasta.

Terrine: Earthenware dish in which items, e.g. liver pate can be cooked and served.

Tilleuil: Herbal tea made of lime tree flowers.

Tisane: Herbal tea with barley or other flavour; useful to cure a headache or other mild ill-health.

Torten: Large round continental sponge cake, flavoured with liqueurs and elaborately decorated.

Tourte: Large round savoury or sweet tart with pastry top.

Tournedos: Round piece 4·5 cm thick cut from the centre part ofa fillet of beef; usually shallow-fried and served with a garnish.

Tronc: Container for all the gratuities received by waiters, which are shared out weekly according to rank.

Troncon: Slice cut on the bone from a flat fish such as turbot.

Truffle: Very black subterranean fungus used mainly cut into slices as a decoration; Italian truffles are pale cream in colour.

Turban: Slices of fish or meat and forcemeat moulded and cooked in a ring-mould.

Tuxedo: Name given to a short dinner-jacket, known in France as ‘Ie smoking’.

Vacherin: Sweet made of meringue in the form of a nest filled with cream, etc.

Veloute: Thin white sauce or soup made with veal or chicken stock.

Venison: Flesh of a deer, served as a grilled steak or roasted joint.

Verjus: Juice pressed from sour unripe grapes or crab apples, used instead of vinegar in salad dressings.

Vinaigrette: Salad-dressing, a sauce made of oil, vinegar and seasonings.

Voiture: A trolley such as used for hors-d’oeuvre, sweets, carving, and for lampwork.

Walnut oil: One of the many kinds of oil used in salad dressings.

Waterzoi: Belgian and Dutch fish stew made with several kinds of fish.

Whitebait: Tiny fish of up to 5cm, served deep-fried.

Xeres: The French name for sherry, e.g. sauce au Xeres.

Zabaglione: Eggs, sugar and wine whisked until thick, for serving as a sweet dish.

Zeste: Thinly pared lemon or orange rind, used in drinks or grated in various dishes.

Zakouskis: Appetisers eaten before a meal to stimulate the appetite; they may consist of small items of fish, meat, vegetables and cheese.

Zucchini: The Italian (and US) name for baby marrows.