Culinary Glossary

Here are some culinary terms that I will be using occasionally in my blog posts, as I use new terms I will update accordingly. The terms are defined as I understand them:

Al Dente – (al DEN-tay) Italian for “to the tooth”; used to describe a food, usually pasta, that is cooked only until it gives a slight resistance when one bites into it

Batonnet (bah – toh – nah) – foods cut into matchstick shapes of 1/4″ x 1/4 ” x 2″

Blanching – very briefly and partially cooking a food in boiling water or hot fat, used to assist preparation

Caramelization – the process of cooking sugars, the browning of sugar enhances the flavor and appearance of foods

Carry Over Cooking – the cooking that occurs after food is removed from a heat source; it is accomplished by the residual heat remaining in the food

Clarified Butter – purified butterfat; the butter is melted and the water and milk solids are removed

Converted Rice – parboiled/precooked rice that give rice a longer shelf life and makes it quicker to cook

Deglaze – swirling or stirring a liquid (usually wine or stock) in a pan to dissolve cooked food particles remaining on the bottom; the resulting mixture usually becomes the base for a sauce

Degrease – to remove fat from the surface of a liquid such as a stock or sauce by skimming, scraping, or lifting congealed fat

Dice – to cut into cubes with six equal-sized sides ( small dice – 1/4″, medium dice – 1/2″, large dice 3/4″)

Foodie – infatuated with food, they yearn to find the “new thing” with food creations, and they are enthusiastic about food preparation and eating food

Garnish – (1) food used as an attractive decoration; (2) a subsidiary food used to add flavor or character to the main ingredient in a dish (for example, noodles in chicken noodle soup)

Gluten – an elastin network of proteins created when wheat flour is moistened and manipulated

Infuse –  to flavor  liquid by steeping it with ingredients such as tea, coffee, herbs, or spices

Mince – to cut into very small pieces when uniformity shape is not important

Mirepoix (meer-pwa) – a mixture of coarsely chopped onions, carrots, and celery used to flavor stocks and other foods. There is sually a mixture of 50% Onions, 25% Carrots, and 25% celery

Mise En Place/MEP (meez on plahs) – “putting in place” the preparation steps and assembly of all necessary ingredients and equipment prior to actually making a dish

Ocean Water – term coined by my Chef Instructor,  it is how your water should taste when blanching, parboiling, boiling food

Parboiling – partially cooking a food in boiling or simmering liquid, similar to blanching but the cooking time is longer

Pâtissier (pah-tees-ee-yay) – a pastry chef; the person responsible for all baked items, including breads, pastries and desserts.




Poaching – a moist-heat cooking method that use convection to transfer heat from a hot liquid to the food submerged in it

Recovery Time – length of time it takes a cooking medium, to return to the desired cooking temperature after the food is submerged.

Reductioncooking a liquid until its quantity decreased through evaporation. To reduce by one-half means that one-half of the original amount remains. To reduce by three-fourths means that one-fourth of the original amount remains. To reduce au sec means that the liquid is cooked until nearly dry

Render – to melt and clarify fat; to cook meat in order to remove fat

Service – the process of delivering foods to diners in the proper fashion, appropriately prepared and presented at the correct time


Shocking – submerging a food in cold water to quickly cool it to prevent further cooking, usually done to vegetables

Standard Breading Procedure – basic way to bread food before frying (Flour, Egg Wash, Panko/Breadcrumbs)

Sweat – to cook a food in a pan, without browning, over low heat until the items softens and releases moisture, it allows to release the flavor of food quicker when cooked with other foods; item will be translucent in color

Temperature Danger Zone/TDZ – the range of temperatures between 41°F and 135°F (5°C and 57°C) at which bacteria multiples rapidly

Tomato Concasses – peeled, seeded, and diced tomato

Tourne (toor – nay) – to cut into football shaped pieces with seven equal sides and blunt ends

WOG – With out Gizzards

If you know of other words you would like to see defined or if you know a word that you want to define, please send in a comment.


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