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Food Production Terminology

Ageing / Aging – The process of allowing the natural tenderization of meats over time in a controlled environment.

A la – A French phrase used in menu writing to indicate the style of preparation – eg; Chicken Ala King etc.

A la Carte – Items prepared to order as per the guest choice from the menu.

Albumen – The principal protein found in egg whites.

Allemande (ah-leh-mahnd) - German style, a sauce made by adding lemon juice and a liaison to a veloute made from veal or chicken stock; used to make several small sauces of the veloute family.

Al Dente – A French phrase meaning firm to the bite, not soft or mushy.P Weight – As purchased; which indicated the weight of an item before trimming or processing.

Acidic / Acid – foods such as citrus juice, vinegar and wine that have a sour or sharp flavour (most foods are slightly acidic); acids have a pH of less than 7.

Almond Paste – Finely ground almonds mixed with sugar.

Alkali – Known as a base, any substance with a pH higher than 7 eg: baking soda is one of the few alkaline foods.

Allumette (al-yoo-meht) – French term for matchstick cut of 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch X 2 inches (3 millimetres x 3 millimetres x 5 centimetres) usually used for potatoes or carrots.

Amandine – A French term meaning served or prepared with almonds.

Appetizers – Are known as first courses, usually small portions of hot or cold foods intended to whet the appetite in anticipation of the more substantial courses to follow.

Au gratin (oh-grah-tan) – Foods with a browned or crusted top; often made by browning at food with a bread-crumb, cheese and/ or sauce topping under a broiler or salamander.

Aus Jus – A French phrase meaning served with natural juices or gravy without a thickening agent.

Aus Sec – A French phrase meaning to cook until dry.

Bacteria – Single-celled micro-organisms, some of which can cause diseases, including foodborne diseases.

Bake / Baking – To cook food by surrounding it with hot dry air. similar to roasting, the term baking is usually applied to bread, pastries, vegetables and fish.

Bain-marie – Hot water bath used to gently cook food or keep cooked food hot. An example is a container for holding food in a water bath.

Baking Soda – Sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline compound that releases carbon dioxide gas when combined with an acid and moisture; used to leaven baked goods.

Baking Powder - A mixture of sodium bicarbonate and one or more acids, generally the cream of tartar and/ or sodium aluminium sulphate, used to leaven baked goods; it releases carbon dioxide gas if moisture is present in a formula.

Barbecue – To cook food on a grill or spit over hot coals or burning of hardwood/hardwood charcoals or in an enclosed pit. A tangy tomato or vinegar based sauce is used for grilled foods, and depending upon the type of barbecue the item may be seasoned or marinated before cooking.

Bard / Barding – To cover a piece of meat with salt pork or slices or bacon prior to cooking. Example tying thin slices of fat, such as bacon or pork fetlock, over meats or poultry that have little to no natural fat covering in order to protect and moisten them during roasting. This method then adds additional moisture and flavour to the cooked food.

Baste – To pour dripping or other fat over a food before or during cooking in order to prevent drying or to glaze the item. Basting shouldn’t be done with stock for meats because this will then wash away the fats which protect it from drying.

Batter – Semiliquid mixture of flour and other starchy ingredients and liquids, which has a pouring consistency. Example semi-liquid mixture containing flour or other starch used to make cakes and bread or to coat foods for deep-frying.

Beat / Beating – To move a whip or spoon rapidly back and forth to blend products together to achieve a smooth texture.

Béchamel (bay-shah-mell) – A leading sauce which is made by thickening milk with a white roux and adding seasonings.

Beurre manié (burr-man-yay) – The method of combining equal amounts by weight of flour and soft, whole.

Beurre noir (burr-nwar) – The French term for ‘black butter’, whole butter cooked until dark brown (not black) sometimes flavoured with vinegar or lemon juice.

Beurre noisette (burr-nwah-zeht) – The French term for ‘brown butter’, whole butter heated until it turns light brown, giving off a nutty aroma.

Beurre rouge (burr-rooge) – French for ‘red butter’, an emulsified butter sauce made from shallots, red wine and butter.

Bind – To cause two or more items to cohere, unite or hold together. An example is to bind a croquette mixture.

Bisque (bisk) – Is a soup made from shellfish, the classic version of bish is thickened with rice.

Bivalves – Molluscs such as clams, oysters and mussels that have two bilateral shells attached at a central hinge.

Blanch – To cook a food item partially and very briefly in boiling water/liquid or hot oil. Example blanching vegetables in boiling water.

Blanc – French term for white. Example, Beurre Blanc (burr-blanhk) which is French for “white butter”.

Blanch / Blanching – To cook a food item partially and very briefly in boiling liquid or hot oil. Usually, this is a technique for the pre-preparation of a food item for finishing later.

Blanquette (blahn-keht) – A white stew made of a white sauce and meat or poultry that is simmered without first browning.

Blend – To mix two or more ingredients so completely that they lose their separate identities.

Béarnaise (bare-nayz) – A sauce made of butter and egg yolks and flavoured with a reduction of vinegar, shallots, tarragon and peppercorns.

Bloom – A measure of the strength of gelatin, Additionally refers to a whitish layer that forms on chocolate due to the separation of the cocoa butter.

Boil – To cook the food item in a boiling liquid. Very few items are boiled due to the fact that which this process the food might dry.

Boiling – A moist heat cooking method that uses convection to transfer heat from a hot (approximately 212°F/ 100 C) liquid to the food submerged in it. The turbulent waters and higher temperatures cook foods more quickly than do poaching or simmering.

Bouchées (Boo-shay) – A kind of small puff pastry shells that can be filled and served as bite-size hors-d’oeuvre or petit fours.

Bouquet Garni – Fresh herbs of various types, tied together and used as a flavouring agent. Used for flavouring stocks, sauces, soups and stews.

Bouquetiere (boo-kuh-ty-ehr) – The French term meaning to serve with a bouquet of vegetables.

Braising – A combination cooking method in which foods are first browned in hot fat, then covered and slowly cooked in a small amount of liquid over low heat. Also, Braising is also referred to a cooking method 1) The food item is browned and then cooked covered in a small amount of liquid. 2) The cooking of unbrowned vegetables slowly in a small amount of liquid.

Bran – Is the tough outer layer of a cereal grain and the part highest in fibre.

Breaded / Breading – Coating a food item with bread or crumbs. Such food items are then usually fried, baked or broiled.

Break (curdling) – When liquid such as milk. or a mixture such as a sauce loses its ability to hold particles or oils it contains in suspension. This is normally caused by exposure to a rapid temperature change or excess heat. The term break is also known as ‘Curdling / Curdle’.

Broil / Broiling – The cooking of a food item with radiant heat.

Broth – Is a flavourful liquid obtained from the long simmering of meats and/ or vegetables.

Brown stew – A kind of stew in which the meat is first browned in hot fat.

Brown stock – Is a richly coloured stock made of chicken, veal, beef or game bones along with vegetables. All of these items are caramelized before they are simmered in water with seasonings.

Brigade – A system of staffing a kitchen so that each worker is assigned a set of specific tasks, such tasks are often related by cooking method, equipment or the types of foods being produced.

Brioche (bree-ohsh) – Is a rich yeast bread containing large amounts of eggs and butter.

Butter Cream Icing – A combination of powdered sugar and /or sugar syrup with butter and/or shortening and possibly other ingredients to form an icing.

Cake – Refers to a broad range of pastries, including layer cakes, coffeecakes and gateaux. Cake can also refer to almost anything that is baked, tender, sweet and sometimes frosted.

Calorie – The amount of heat needed to raise one kilogram of water by 10-degree Celsius. Term calorie is also used as a measure of food energy.

Caramelization – The process of browning of sugars when exposed to 300 degrees F heat.

Carbohydrates – Any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen which combines in the form of sugar, starches and cellulose.

Casserole – A heavy dish suitable for food to be baked in and food baked in a casserole dish.

Celsius – The thermometric scale on which 0° Celsius is the freezing point and 100° Celsius is the boiling point of the water.

Clarify – To clear a liquid, such as consomme, by adding slightly beaten egg white.

Coagulation – The process of becoming thick or solidifying. The kitchen, it usually refers to the firming of protein as food is exposed to some type of heat.

Coat – To cover with a layer, usually thin, of some substance, such as flour, aspic or oil.

Consistency – The degree of density, firmness or solidity of a mixture.

Convenience food – Any food which has been partially or fully prepared by the manufacturer or producer.

Course – A food or group of foods served at one time or intended to be eaten together.

Contamination – The transfer of bacteria from one food to another.

Compound Butter – Are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients. Primarily, they are used to enhance flavour in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce.

Danger Zone – 45° F to 140° F or 7° Celsius to 60° F is the range of temperature in which the bacteria multiply the most rapidly.

Deep Fry – To cook food by submerging it in hot fat or oil.

Deglaze – The removal of caramelized sugars and other food particles from a pan by swirling with liquid or water.

Degrease – To skim the fat from the top of a liquid such as a sauce or a stock. Example using a bread to decrease the oil from the sauce.

Dredging – Process of coating food with flour or other substance without the use of a batter or binding agent.

Elastin – A type of connective tissue in meat which does not dissolve in cooking.

Emulsion – The combination of two incompatible liquids, such as oil and water.

E.P Weight – Edible Portion (E.P) - It is referred to the weight of the food item after trimming and preparation is done.

Fermentation – The interaction of yeast and carbohydrates which develops carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.

Fiber – Indigestible carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables.

Florentine – Garnishing a dish with spinach.

Fold / Folding – The process of gently mixing of one ingredient with another.

Fondant – Finely Crystallized sugar syrup worked into a smooth, creamy frosting or candy.

Food Cost – The cost of the ingredients used in the preparation of the food.

Fry / Frying – To cook in hot oil or fat.

Garni – To add a garnish or decoration to a finished food.

Garnish – Athe artistic complementing of a food item with other food or edible item.

Gelatinization – The process of converting into a jelly.

Gluten – The protein-based substance in wheat flour which builds the structure in baked items or goods.

Gram – The basic unit of weight in the metric measurement system.

Griddle – The process of cooking food on a flat, solid surface.

Grill / Grilling – The cooking of food item over an open heat source on a screen or grid.

Gross Piece – The centrepiece of a buffet platter.

Herb – A wide variety of aromatic plants used for seasoning and garnishing foods. Many of these plants also have medicinal values.

Kosher Style – Foods which have been blessed by a rabbi or those prepared in accordance with the Jewish dietary laws.

Jardiniere – The French term meaning the serving of a food item garnished with vegetables.

Jus Lie – A French term referring to meat juice that has been lightly thickened with either arrowroot or cornstarch.

Kilo – The prefix used in the metric measurement system meaning 1000. 1000 gram is called as 1 Kilogram.

Lard – The soft, white, solid or semi-solid fat rendered from the fatty tissue of the hog.

Larding – To insert a strip of fat into a piece of meat prior to cooking.

Laison – A binding and enriching agent used in the finishing of sauces, usually composed of egg and cream, or raw butter.

Liter – Tha basic unit of volume measurement in the metric system. It is equal to slightly more than one quart.

Marinate / Marination – To soak food is a flavorful liquid to add flavour and to tenderize.

Mask – To Cover a food item completely with a sauce.

Mise en Place – A French meaning everything in place. The key to efficient kitchen preparation.

Mirepoix (meer-pwah) – Mixture of vegetables, herbs, and spices used to enhance the flavour of meat, fish and shellfish dishes. Common ingredients are onion, celery, carrot leek, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, clove, thyme and rosemary.

Mix – Method of combining ingredients in such a way that the parts of each ingredient are evenly dispersed in the total product.

Nouvelle Cuisine – A modern style of cooking that emphasizes light sauces and seasoning and shortened cooking time, sometimes combined.

Nutrient – Anything having food value. It is that which is in food that supports the life system.

Pan-Fry – To cook a food item in a moderate amount of fat or oil.

Papillote – French term denoting the cooking of an item wrapped in paper or possible foil.

Par-boil – To partially cook in simmering or boiling the liquid.

Par-cook – To cook partially by any method.

Pasteurized – Partial sterilization of a substance, particularly a liquid, at a temperature and for a length of time sufficient to kill harmful bacteria.

Pathogen – Is an infectious microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, protozoa, prion, or fungus.

Portion Control – The measurement of a food item to ensure that the standard amount is served to the customer. This action is primary to have control over the food cost.

Protein – Are Extremely complex combinations of amino acids which occur naturally in different food items. Proteins are essential constituents of all living cells.

Puree – Making a puree into mash product to a fine pulp, usually by forcing it through a sieve or putting it into a blender.

Recipe – A list of ingredients and set of instructions for the preparation of a dish.

Reduce – To boil or simmer a liquid to a small volume. Usually, this is done to concentrate flavours.

Roast – To cook food by surrounding it with dry heat.

Rough Prep. – It is the preliminary preparation of ingredients to the point of being ready to cook.

Roux – Roux is flour and fat cooked together and used to thicken sauces. Roux is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight.

Royal Icing – The combination of egg white, powdered sugar and cream of tartar used as a decorative frosting for used in cakes.

Sachet Bag - Herbs and spices tied in a cheesecloth/muslin bag, used for the flavouring of stocks, sauces and soups.

Sauce – A Flavourful liquid, usually thickened which is used to enhance the flavour and give moisture to food.

Sauté – To brown a food item quickly in very little fat or oil.

Scald – To bring a liquid to a temperature just below the boiling point.

Scaling – The weighing of ingredients or prepared food mixtures for use, such as scaling of cake batter. Scaling of all items is more frequently done at the bakery.

Score – To cut narrow gashes in a crossbar or straight patterns across the outer surface of a food item. Example scoring the turkey before roasting.

Sear – To brown the surface of a food item by a short application of high heat. This process is used to develop the flavour or colour.

Season / Seasoning 1) To enhance flavour by the addition of salt or other ingredients. 2) To mature and bring to a proper condition by ageing or special preparation, this usually applies to the processing of meat.

Simmer – To cook food in a liquid which is just below the boiling point. The temperature of the liquid will be 200°F / 93°C at sea level and normal pressure and the bubbles will break gently below the surface of the liquid.

Short – Used to describe a product which is very crumbly and tender due to a high fat content.

Sift – To put flour, sugar or other similar substance through a sieve to ensure a fine grain.

Smother – To cook in a covered kettle until tender.

Spice 1) Any number of aromatic vegetable products used to season or flavour food (eg: Cardamom, Clove, nutmeg, black pepper etc.). 2) The addition of zest or flavour to a dish is also referred to as a spice.

Straight Flour – Flour milled from all parts of the wheat kernel except the bran.

Strong flour – Flour with a high gluten content such as winter patent flour.

Sauerkraut (sau-erkraut) – It’s a ‘sour cabbage’ dish which is finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavour, both of which result from the lactic acid formed when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage leaves.

Sweat – To cook in a small amount of fat or oil over low heat.

Syneresis – The release of liquid from a gel.

Temper – The gradual raising of the temperature of a cold liquid by the addition of a hot liquid. Normally done to avoid the breaking or the cold food item.

Turntable 1) A rotating platform which is on a pedestal, used for holding cakes which are being iced and decorated. 2) A glass turntable which is inside the microwave oven, rotating the food in the turntable helps the even out the exposure to microwaves the food evenly during the process.

Variety Meat – The non-skeletal meats of the dressed carcass. These includes liver, tongue, kidneys, heart etc.

Vitamin – Any of a variety of groups of compounds present in foods in small quantities which are necessary for regulating body functions.

Wash 1) Brushing or coating a food item with a liquid such as egg white, milk or egg wash. 2) The liquid used to coat a food item. 3) The applying of the coat to a food item is also called a wash.

Whip – To beat with a rapid lifting motion to incorporate air into a product.

Weak Flour – Flour which has a low gluten content, such as cake flour or all-purpose flour.

Whitewash – A thin mixture of starch, such as flour or cornstarch and cold liquid used to thicken sauces or other liquid items.

Zest – The coloured portion of the peel of citrus fruit. Example: Orange Zest, Lemon zest etc.


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