March 29, 2023
Alipio Umiten IV

Culinary Terms 101: Mastering Culinary Lingo from A to Z

Are you ready to level up your culinary game and delve into the fascinating world of culinary terms? From amuse-bouche to zesting, we’re taking you on an adventure through the A-Z of culinary terminology that every aspiring chef and passionate home cook should know.

This comprehensive list will not only broaden your gastronomic vocabulary but also empower you with the knowledge and techniques to transform your cooking skills. So, grab your apron and prepare to embark on this exciting journey as we unveil the secrets and wonders of the culinary world, one term at a time.

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What Are the Culinary Terms?

Culinary terms are words and phrases used in preparing, presenting, and consuming food. They are often terminology associated with specific cooking methods, ingredients, cooking and serving styles, and equipment. Knowing these terms can help enhance the culinary experience by providing additional clarity to recipes, menus, and other food-related topics.

Terminologies In Culinary

Terminologies in culinary are a fundamental aspect of the culinary world, where words and phrases used in food preparation, presentation, and consumption play a critical role. From cooking methods to ingredients and serving styles, culinary terms provide a common language for chefs, food writers, and enthusiasts to discuss and understand the nuances of the culinary arts. 

Below is a comprehensive list of culinary terms to help you navigate and expand your culinary vocabulary, from Acidulation to Zest and everything in between.

Culinary Terms A-Z

A | Cooking Culinary Terms

Acidulation: The process of adding acid (such as lemon juice or rice vinegar) to a dish to add tartness and balance flavors.

Aerate: To incorporate air into a mixture, often by whisking or beating vigorously, to make it lighter and fluffier.

Agar agar: A vegan alternative to gelatin, made from seaweed, used as a thickener in dishes like custards and jellies.

Aioli: A garlic-flavored mayonnaise-like sauce popular in Mediterranean cuisine.

Aji amarillo: A bright yellow chili pepper commonly used in Peruvian cuisine.

Al dente: A term describing pasta cooked to a firm, slightly chewy texture.

Allspice: A spice from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree, used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Al pastor: A Mexican pork dish marinated in a mixture of chilies, spices, and pineapple, then roasted on a spit.

Amaretti: Italian cookies made from almonds, egg whites, and sugar.

Amuse-bouche: A small, bite-sized appetizer served before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

Ancho chili: A dried chili pepper with a sweet, smoky flavor commonly used in Mexican cuisine.

Angostura bitters: Bitters made from a blend of herbs and spices, often used to add flavor and cocktail drinks.

Applewood-smoked: Foods smoked over applewood, giving them a sweet, smoky flavor.

Apricot glaze: A sweet, sticky sauce made from apricot jam or preserves, often used to glaze meats or vegetables.

Arborio rice: A short-grain rice commonly used in risotto and other Italian dishes.

Aromatic: Foods or ingredients with a strong, pleasant smell or flavor.

Artichoke hearts: The tender, edible part of the artichoke at the base of the leaves.

Asadero cheese: A mild, stringy cheese commonly used in Mexican cuisine.

Asado: A South American barbecue-style dish typically made with beef, chicken, or pork.

Asiago cheese: A semi-firm Italian cheese commonly used in pasta dishes and salads.

À la grecque: A cooking technique involving marinating vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.

À la mode: A dish served with a scoop of ice cream on top.

À point: Meat cooked to the desired level of doneness.

Au gratin: A French term for dishes topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown.

Au jus: Meat dishes served with their natural juices.

Au poivre: Dishes served with pepper sauce.

Au sec: A cooking technique where a liquid is reduced until almost completely evaporated.

B | Culinary Terminology

Back of house: The area in a restaurant where food is prepared and cooked, as opposed to the front of the house where customers are served.

Bain Marie: A cooking technique in which a container of food is placed in a larger water container to cook it slowly and evenly.

Bake: To cook food in an oven using dry heat, often used for bread, cakes, and other baked goods.

Barbecue: A cooking method that involves grilling meat over an open flame, often with a sweet and savory sauce.

Bard: To wrap meat, usually poultry, with strips of bacon or fat to add flavor and moisture while cooking.

Baste: To brush or spoon liquid, such as melted butter or broth, over food while it is cooking to keep it moist and add flavor.

Beat: To mix ingredients using a whisk, fork, or electric mixer to incorporate air and create a smooth texture.

Beurre blanc: A French sauce made with butter, white wine, and vinegar, often served with seafood.

Bouquet garni: A bundle of fresh herbs, typically thyme, bay leaf, and parsley, tied together and used to flavor soups and stews.

Bisque: A thick, creamy soup made with seafood, typically lobster or shrimp.

Blanch: To briefly cook food in boiling water, then transfer it to ice water to stop the cooking process. Often used for vegetables to retain their color and texture.

Braise: A cooking technique in which meat is first seared and then simmered slowly in liquid until it is tender.

Brine: A mixture of water, salt, and sometimes sugar and spices, used to flavor and tenderize meat or vegetables before cooking.

Broil: To cook food by exposing it to direct heat, usually from the top of the oven or grill, often used for steaks and fish.

Brown: To cook food quickly over high heat until it develops a browned or caramelized exterior, often used for meat and vegetables.

Butterfly: To cut food, usually meat or shrimp, down the center and open it up like a book to create a thinner, more even piece that cooks faster and more evenly.

C | Food Terms

Caramelize: To cook food, usually sugar or onions, until it turns brown and develops a rich, sweet flavor.

Chiffonade: A technique for cutting leafy greens, herbs, or other vegetables into thin strips or ribbons.

Chit: A chit is a small slip of paper or receipt used in restaurants or other food service establishments to record orders, usually for kitchen or bar staff. It contains details such as the table number, items ordered, and special instructions or modifications. Chits help keep track of orders and ensure food preparation and service accuracy.

Chop: To cut food into small pieces using a knife or other cutting tool.

Coddle: A gentle cooking technique that involves simmering eggs or other delicate ingredients in water just below the boiling point.

Comp: In culinary terms, “comp” is short for “complimentary” and typically refers to a free item or service provided by a restaurant or food establishment. This can include complementary dishes, appetizers, drinks, or desserts offered to guests as a gesture of goodwill or appreciation or to promote a particular dish or special. Sometimes, restaurants may also comp a meal or item if there was an issue with the guest’s order or experience as a way of apologizing and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Concasse: A technique for peeling and seeding tomatoes before chopping them into small pieces.

Confit: A cooking technique in which meat, usually duck or goose, is slow-cooked in its own fat until it becomes tender and flavorful.

Consommé: A clear soup made from a richly flavored broth that has been clarified with egg whites.

Core: The tough center portion of certain fruits or vegetables, such as apples or pineapples.

Coring: The process of removing the core from a fruit or vegetable, often using a corer or knife.

Coulis: A thick sauce made from pureed fruits or vegetables, often used as a garnish or topping for dishes.

Cream: To mix ingredients together until they become smooth and creamy, often using an electric mixer or food processor.

Croquette: A small, breaded and fried food typically made with mashed potatoes, cheese, or ground meat.

Crush: To mash or grind food into small pieces using a pestle and mortar, food processor, or other kitchen tools.

Cube: To cut food into even pieces in a square shape.

D | Culinary Words

Dash: A small amount of liquid or seasoning, usually added for flavor.

Deep fry: To cook food by completely submerging it in hot oil until it is crispy and golden brown.

Deglaze: To add liquid, such as wine or stock, to a pan in order to dissolve the flavorful browned bits that are stuck to the bottom.

Degrease: To remove excess fat from the surface of a liquid, often by skimming it off with a spoon.

Dice: To cut food into small, even cubes.

Dijon mustard: A tangy and flavorful mustard made with white wine and black or brown mustard seeds.

Dill: An aromatic herb with a bright, fresh flavor, often used to flavor fish, salads, and pickles.

Dollop: A small spoonful of soft or semi-soft food, often used as a garnish or topping for dishes, such as soups, stews, desserts, or baked potatoes.

Dough: A mixture of flour, water, and other ingredients, often used as the base for bread, pastries, and other baked goods.

Dredge: To coat food in flour, cornmeal, or other dry ingredients before cooking.

Dress: To add dressing, such as oil and vinegar or mayonnaise, to a salad or other dish in order to add flavor and moisture.

Drizzle: To pour a thin stream of liquid, such as oil or sauce, over food in a decorative or flavorful way.

Dry rub: A mixture of herbs, spices, and other dry ingredients used to flavor the meat before cooking.

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E | Chef Terms

Effiler: To cut food, usually vegetables or herbs, into thin, lengthwise strips.

Emincer: To slice food, usually meat or vegetables, into thin, uniform pieces.

Emulsify: To mix two liquids, such as oil and vinegar, together until they form a smooth, stable mixture.

En croute: A cooking technique in which food, usually meat or fish, is wrapped in pastry before being baked.

Entree: A main course dish served in a formal meal, typically served after the appetizer and before dessert.

Escabeche: A Spanish cooking technique that involves marinating fish or meat in a vinegar-based sauce.

Escalope: A thin slice of meat, usually veal or chicken, pounded flat and often dredged in flour before being sautéed or fried.

Essence: A concentrated flavoring liquid made from a specific ingredient, often used to add flavor to sauces or baked goods.

F | Culinary Terms

Farro: A type of grain that is similar to rice, often used in salads, soups, and other dishes.

Fennel: A plant with a licorice-like flavor, often used in salads, soups, and as a seasoning for meat and fish.

Fermentation: A process in which bacteria or yeast break down sugars in food, resulting in a sour or tangy flavor. Common examples include sourdough bread, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Fillet: To remove the bones from meat or fish, often resulting in a boneless, skinless piece of protein.

Fish sauce: A pungent, salty sauce made from fermented fish, often used in Southeast Asian cuisine.

Flambé: A cooking technique in which alcohol, usually brandy or rum, is added to a dish and then set on fire to create a dramatic effect and add flavor.

Fold: To gently mix ingredients together using a spatula, often used when making delicate dishes such as soufflés or mousse.

Fondant: A type of icing made from sugar and water that can be rolled out and used to decorate cakes and pastries.

Frenching: A technique for trimming meat or poultry so that the bones are exposed, often used for presentation purposes.

Frittata: An Italian dish similar to an omelet, usually made with eggs, cheese, and vegetables.

Front of house (FOH): The area in a restaurant where customers are served, and meals are presented, as opposed to the back of house where food is prepared.

Frosting: A sweet, creamy topping for cakes and other baked goods, usually made from butter, sugar, and flavorings such as vanilla or cocoa powder.

Full service restaurant (FSR): A restaurant that provides table service and a full menu of dishes, as opposed to fast food or quick service restaurants.

G | Cooking Terms

Galantine: A French dish made from deboned poultry or fish that is stuffed, rolled, and poached in broth.

Galette: A rustic French pastry made from a simple dough folded over a filling, often made with fruit or vegetables.

Gastrique: A sweet and sour sauce made from caramelized sugar, vinegar, and sometimes fruit, often used to add flavor to meat dishes.

Gazpacho: A cold Spanish soup made from tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and other vegetables.

Gelatin: A protein derived from animal collagen that is used to set or thicken liquids, often used in desserts such as jellies and mousses.

Glaze: A thin, glossy coating applied to food to add flavor and enhance its appearance, often made from sugar, honey, or fruit juice.

Gluten-free: A term used to describe foods that do not contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye that can cause health problems for some people.

Gorgonzola: A type of blue cheese made from cow's milk, usually crumbled over salads or used as a topping for pizza and pasta dishes.

Gouda: A semi-hard cheese from the Netherlands, often used in sandwiches or as a snack with crackers.

Grate: To shred food, usually cheese or vegetables, using a grater or other kitchen tool.

Gratin: A dish made with a topping of breadcrumbs or cheese that is browned under a broiler or in an oven.

Grease: To apply fat, such as butter or oil, to a cooking surface or baking dish to prevent food from sticking.

Grill: A cooking technique that involves cooking food over an open flame or on a hot surface, often used for meat, vegetables, and seafood.

H | Culinary Terminology

Hamburger: A type of sandwich made with a ground beef patty, often served on a bun with toppings such as lettuce, tomato, and cheese.

Harissa: A spicy paste made from chili peppers, garlic, and other ingredients, often used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Hollandaise sauce: A rich and creamy sauce made from butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice, often served with eggs Benedict and other breakfast dishes.

Honey: A sweet, viscous liquid produced by bees from flower nectar, often used as a natural sweetener in baked goods, sauces, and dressings.

Hors-d’oeuvre: A small, savory bite-sized food typically served before a meal or as a party appetizer.

Horseradish: A pungent root vegetable used as a condiment or seasoning, often grated and mixed with vinegar.

Hot sauce: A spicy condiment made from chili peppers, vinegar, and other ingredients, often used to add heat and flavor to dishes.

Hull: To remove the outer layer of certain foods, such as strawberries or peas, using a knife or other tool.

Hummus: A Middle Eastern dip made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, often served with pita bread or vegetables.

I | Food Terms

Infusion: A technique for flavoring liquids, such as tea or broth, by steeping herbs, spices, or other ingredients in them.

In the weeds: A term used to describe a very busy kitchen and possibly overwhelmed with orders.

Invert sugar: A type of sugar that has been chemically altered to have a higher concentration of fructose, often used in baked goods and candies.

Irish coffee: A cocktail made with hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and whipped cream.

Irradiation: A process of exposing food to ionizing radiation to kill bacteria and other harmful pathogens, often used for meat and produce.

Isinglass: A substance made from fish bladders, often used as a clarifying agent in wine and beer production.

Involtini: An Italian dish made by wrapping thin slices of meat or vegetables around a filling, often served with tomato sauce or other toppings.

J | Culinary Words

Jacquarding: A technique for tenderizing meat by piercing it with small needles or blades to break up connective tissue and make it more tender.

Jeroboam: A large bottle used for wine or champagne, typically holding 3-5 liters of liquid.

Julienne: A technique for cutting vegetables, such as carrots or zucchini, into long, thin strips.

Jus lie: A French term for a sauce made from the drippings of cooked meat, thickened with a roux or other starch.

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K | Culinary Terminology

Kale: A leafy green vegetable high in nutrients and often used in salads, soups, and smoothies.

Kebab: A dish of skewered and grilled meat, often served with vegetables and a sauce.

Kimchi: A Korean side dish made from fermented vegetables, typically cabbage, radish, or cucumber, that is spicy and sour in flavor.

Kipper: A type of smoked fish, usually herring or salmon, often served for breakfast or as a snack.

Kirsch: A clear, colorless fruit brandy made from cherries, often used in desserts and cocktails.

Kissing Crust: A term used to describe the point where two pieces of dough are pressed together, often used in pastry-making.

Knead: To work the dough with the hands or a machine to develop gluten and create a smooth, elastic texture.

Knife skills: The ability to use a knife effectively and efficiently in the kitchen, often involving techniques such as chopping, dicing, and mincing.

Kosher salt: A type of coarse-grained salt that is often used in cooking and baking, especially in Jewish cuisine.

L | Culinary Terms

Lactobacillus: A type of bacteria used in fermentation, often found in yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.

Lard: Fat from a pig that is used in cooking to add flavor and moisture, often used in pastries and savory dishes.

Leaven: A substance, such as yeast or baking powder, used to make dough or batter rise and become lighter and airier.

Lemon zest: The outermost layer of a lemon peel, used to add flavor to baked goods, sauces, and dressings.

Liaison: A mixture of egg yolks and cream used to thicken sauces and soups, often added at the end of the cooking process.

Loin: A cut of meat from the area along the spine, often used for steaks and roasts.

Low and slow: A cooking technique in which food is cooked at a low temperature for a long time, often used for tough cuts of meat or smoking meats.

Lyonnaise: A French term used to describe dishes that are prepared with onions, often sautéed or caramelized.

M | Food Terms

Macerate: To soak fruit or other ingredients in a liquid, such as sugar or alcohol, to soften and flavor them.

Marinate: To soak meat or other ingredients in a marinade, typically made with oil, acid, and spices, to tenderize and add flavor.

Mesclun: A French term used to describe a salad mix of young, tender greens, often including arugula, spinach, and other leafy greens.

Mignonette: A sauce made with cracked black pepper and red wine vinegar, often served with raw oysters.

Mince: To chop food into very small pieces, often using a knife or food processor.

Mise en place: A French term used to describe the preparation and organization of ingredients and equipment before beginning to cook.

Molasses: A thick, dark syrup made from sugar cane or sugar beet juice, often used as a sweetener in baked goods and barbecue sauces.

Mother: A starter culture used in the production of fermented foods such as sourdough bread and yogurt.

Muffin: A small, quick bread typically made with flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, or soda, often served for breakfast or as a snack.

Mull: To heat and flavor wine, cider, or other beverages with spices and sweeteners, often served hot as a winter drink.

Mustard: A condiment made from ground mustard seeds, vinegar, and other ingredients, often used as a topping for sandwiches or a flavoring in sauces.

Nappe: A French term used to describe a sauce or other liquid that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Needling: A technique used to tenderize meat by piercing it with a special tool, often used for tougher cuts of meat.

Nigella seeds: Small black seeds from the Nigella sativa plant, often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine for their slightly bitter and nutty flavor.

No-knead bread: A type of bread that is made with a slow-rise method and requires minimal kneading, often resulting in a chewy and flavorful loaf.

Nouvelle cuisine: A style of French cuisine that emphasizes lighter, fresher ingredients and simpler preparations, popularized in the 1960s and 1970s.

Nutraceutical: A term used to describe foods or food products that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition, often containing added vitamins, minerals, or other supplements.


Oeuf: The French word for egg, often used in culinary contexts to refer to different preparations of eggs.

Oignon brûlé: A French term used to describe caramelized onions, often used as a topping for soups or in savory dishes.

Oregano: A Mediterranean herb often used in Italian and Greek cuisine, typically added to sauces, marinades, and salads.

Ort: A term used to describe scraps of food left on a plate after a meal, often used in the hospitality industry.

Ouzo: A Greek liquor made from anise, often served as an aperitif or with meze dishes.

Oven-proof: A term used to describe cookware or bakeware that is safe to use in an oven, often made of ceramic or cast iron.

Oyster sauce: A sauce made from oysters, soy sauce, and other ingredients, often used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine to add a rich, savory flavor to dishes.

P | Food Terms

Pan-fry: A cooking technique that involves frying food in a small amount of oil in a skillet or pan.

Parboil: A cooking technique that involves partially boiling food, typically vegetables or potatoes, in order to reduce cooking time and ensure even cooking.

Parcook: A cooking technique that involves partially cooking food, typically meats or vegetables, in advance of finishing the dish.

Pâté: A mixture of ground meat, often liver, and other ingredients, such as herbs, spices, and wine, that is cooked and served as a spread or appetizer.

Paupiette: A French term used to describe a thin slice of meat, usually beef or veal, that is rolled and stuffed with vegetables, herbs, and other ingredients.

Persillade: A French term used to describe a mixture of chopped garlic and parsley, often used as a flavoring for meats, vegetables, and soups.

Pesto: A sauce made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, often used as a topping for pasta or as a dip.

Pinch: A small amount of an ingredient, typically salt or spices, that is held between the fingers and added to a dish.

Pipe: A technique used to apply decorative frosting or other fillings to cakes, pastries, and other desserts using a pastry bag.

Poach: A cooking technique that involves gently simmering food, typically eggs or fish, in liquid until cooked through.

Point of sale (POS) system: A computerized system used in restaurants and other food service establishments to process orders, payments, and track inventory.

Polenta: A dish made from boiled cornmeal typically served as a side dish or used as a base for other dishes.

Potluck: A meal or gathering where each participant brings a dish to share with others, often organized among friends or coworkers.

Praline: A candy made from caramelized sugar and nuts, typically almonds or pecans, often used as a topping for ice cream or baked goods.

Purée: A mixture of food, typically cooked vegetables or fruit, that has been blended or mashed to create a smooth, uniform texture.

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Q | Culinary Terminology

Quadriller: A French term used to describe a cooking technique in which meat or fish is cooked on a hot grill, resulting in a crosshatch pattern on the surface.

Quatre-épices: A French term meaning “four spices,” often used to describe a blend of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, typically used in savory dishes such as stews and pâtés.

Quenelle: A small, delicate, usually egg-shaped dumpling made of minced meat or fish that is poached and served as a garnish or as a main dish, often used in French cuisine.

Quick service restaurant (QSR): A type of restaurant that specializes in fast food and quick service, often with limited restaurant seating and a focus on takeout or drive-thru orders.

R | Culinary Words

Reconstitute: A term used to describe the process of bringing dried or dehydrated foods back to their original state by adding liquid.

Reduction: A cooking technique that involves simmering a liquid, such as stock or wine, until it thickens and reduces in volume, resulting in a more concentrated flavor.

Remouillage: A French term used to describe a second stock made by simmering bones that have already been used to make stock once.

Render: A cooking technique that involves melting fat from meat, typically bacon or other pork products, over low heat in order to separate it from the meat.

Risotto: A classic Italian dish made from Arborio rice, broth, and other ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, or meat, cooked slowly and stirred continuously until the rice is tender and creamy.

Roast: A cooking technique that involves cooking food, typically meat, in an oven or over an open flame, resulting in a browned and caramelized exterior and a tender interior.

Rondeau: A French term used to describe a wide, shallow pot with low sides and two handles, often used for slow-cooking stews, soups, or braises.

Roux: A mixture of equal parts fat, such as butter or oil, and flour, often used as a thickener for sauces, soups, and stews.

S | Chef Terms

Sachet (a.k.a. “bouquet garni”): A small pouch or bundle of herbs and spices, typically including bay leaves, thyme, and parsley, used to flavor soups, stews, and other dishes.

Sauté: A cooking technique that involves quickly cooking food in a small amount of oil or fat over high heat, often used for vegetables, meat, or fish.

Sautéing: The act of cooking food using the sauté technique.

Scald: A cooking technique that involves briefly boiling a liquid, typically milk or cream, often used in baking to scald milk before adding it to other ingredients.

Score: A technique used to make shallow cuts or incisions in the surface of the meat, often used to help it cook more evenly or to create a decorative pattern.

Sear: A cooking technique that involves cooking meat or fish over high heat to quickly brown and caramelize the surface, often used to enhance flavor and texture.

Shred: A technique used to cut or tear food, typically meat or cheese, into thin, narrow strips or pieces.

Simmer: A cooking technique that involves cooking food in liquid at a low temperature, just below boiling, often used for soups, stews, and sauces.

Skim: A technique used to remove impurities, such as foam or fat, from the surface of a liquid, typically done while simmering or boiling.

Slice: A technique used to cut food, typically meat or bread, into thin, even pieces.

Smidgen: A small amount of an ingredient, typically used in recipes for spices and seasonings.

Sous-vide: A cooking technique that involves vacuum-sealing food in plastic and cooking it in a water bath at a precise temperature for an extended period.

Spatchcock: A technique used to prepare poultry, typically a chicken, by removing the backbone and flattening it before cooking.

Spice blend: A mixture of different spices and seasonings, typically used to add flavor to dishes.

Staling: The process by which bread or other baked goods become stale, typically due to exposure to air.

Steam: A cooking technique that involves cooking food over or in. Steam is often used for vegetables, seafood, and dumplings.

Steep: A technique used to infuse flavor into liquids, typically by immersing herbs, spices, or tea leaves in hot water.

Stew: A cooking technique that involves slow-cooking food in liquid, typically meat and vegetables, often with the addition of seasonings and spices.

Stir-fry: A cooking technique that involves quickly cooking food over high heat in a wok or skillet, often used for vegetables and thinly sliced meat.

Sweat: A cooking technique that involves gently cooking vegetables, typically onions, over low heat until they become soft and translucent, often used as a base for sauces and soups.

T | Culinary Terms

Table turn: A term used in the restaurant industry that refers to the number of times a table is occupied and served during meal service.

Tempering: A process of gradually increasing the temperature of a mixture, often chocolate or eggs, to prevent it from seizing or curdling when it is further heated or combined with other ingredients.

Ticket (see also “chit”): A slip of paper used to indicate an order, typically in a restaurant kitchen or bar.

Toasting: A cooking technique that involves browning the surface of bread or other foods, often done over an open flame or in a toaster.

Tomato concasse: A technique used to peel, seed, and dice tomatoes, typically used for making sauces or salsas.

Tourner: A French term used to describe a cutting technique where vegetables, such as potatoes or carrots, are cut into oblong shapes with seven sides and pointed ends.

Truss: The act of tying up or binding food, such as meat or poultry, with twine or string to help it cook evenly.

Trussing: A technique used to tie up meat, typically poultry or game birds, in order to maintain its shape and even cooking during roasting or grilling.

Turmeric: A spice made from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, often used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines to add flavor and color to dishes.

Turnover: A type of pastry filled with sweet or savory ingredients, typically folded in half and baked until golden brown.


Ultra-pasteurization: A sterilization process that involves heating milk and other dairy products to a high temperature for a short duration, usually not less than 280° for two seconds. This method extends the shelf life of dairy products and eliminates harmful bacteria, ensuring that the product remains safe for consumption for an extended period. . 

Umami: A Japanese term used to describe the fifth basic taste, along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is often described as a savory or meaty flavor, found in foods such as mushrooms, soy sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

Unleavened: Refers to dough or bread made without leavening agents, such as yeast or baking powder, resulting in a denser texture. Unleavened bread is often found in various cuisines, such as matzo in Jewish cuisine, tortillas in Mexican cuisine, and naan in Indian cuisine.


Vandyke: A decorative knife cut used for garnishing vegetables, fruits, and other foods.

Velouté: A French sauce made from a roux (a mixture of flour and butter) and a light stock, typically chicken or fish, that is used as a base for other sauces.

Vermicelli: A type of pasta that is long, thin, and cylindrical in shape, similar to spaghetti but thinner.

Victual: Pronounced "vittle", an archaic term for food, typically used in a military context.

Vinaigrette: A sauce made by emulsifying oil and vinegar or another acid, often used as a salad dressing or as a marinade for meat or fish.

Vitello tonnato: An Italian dish made of thinly sliced veal, typically served cold and topped with a creamy sauce made from tuna, mayonnaise, and capers.

Vol-au-Vent: A French pastry that consists of a small, hollow case made of puff pastry, typically filled with a savory mixture such as chicken or seafood in a cream sauce.


Whip: A technique used to incorporate air into a mixture, often by using a whisk or electric mixer, resulting in a light and fluffy texture. Whipping is commonly used when making whipped cream, meringue, and cake batters.

Whisk: A utensil used for mixing ingredients together, typically consisting of a series of wire loops attached to a handle. Whisks are commonly used when beating eggs, whisking sauces, and emulsifying dressings.


Xanthan gum: A polysaccharide used as a thickening agent in food products, such as sauces, dressings, and ice cream. It is derived from the fermentation of sugars by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris.

Xylitol: A sugar alcohol that is often used as a sugar substitute in food products. Xylitol is derived from the bark of birch trees and can also be found in certain fruits and vegetables. It has a similar sweetness level as sugar but with fewer calories.


Yakitori: A Japanese dish consisting of grilled chicken skewers typically marinated in a savory sauce made from soy sauce, sake, and mirin.

Yeast: A single-celled microorganism that is used as a leavening agent in baking. Yeast is responsible for causing the dough to rise and giving baked goods a light and airy texture.

Yogurt: A dairy product made by fermenting milk with bacterial cultures, resulting in a tangy and creamy texture. Yogurt is often consumed as a breakfast food, snack, or used as an ingredient in recipes.


Zest: Is a technique that chefs often use when cooking or baking to extract the outermost layer of the skin from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. This thin layer, called zest, is rich in aromatic oils that can infuse a dish with flavor. To obtain zest, chefs can use a specialized tool called a zester or a common grater, carefully removing only the brightly colored skin and avoiding the bitter white pith below.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Culinary Terms

Do you ever feel lost when it comes to understanding culinary terminology? If so, this section is here to help. Here we will discuss some of the most commonly asked questions about culinary terms and provide helpful answers.

Is Vegetable a Culinary Term?

Yes, vegetable is a culinary term. It refers to any edible part of a plant that is used for cooking, such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits.

What Is CDC In Culinary Terms?

CDC, in culinary terms, stands for Chef de Cuisine. This French term refers to the head chef or executive chef of a kitchen.

What Is the Culinary Term for Carrots, Celery, and Onions?

The culinary term for carrots, celery, and onions is “mirepoix.” This French cooking technique involves finely dicing the vegetables and sautéing them in butter or oil to create a flavorful base for soups, stews, and sauces. 

What Is the Culinary Term for Garnishing With Almonds?

The culinary term for garnishing with almonds is 'amandine'. This French term refers to a dish that is served with sliced or flaked almonds, usually sprinkled over the top. This garnish is typically used to add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to dishes. It can be used on salads, pasta dishes, fish, poultry, and other savory dishes. 

What Is a Stage In Culinary Terms?

A stage, in culinary terms, refers to a period of unpaid work experience for aspiring chefs. This is often referred to as an internship or apprenticeship and usually requires the person to work in a professional kitchen under the supervision of an experienced chef.