Lingo: The Kitchen Vocabulary


Bake Blind: Baking a pastry case or flan, completely or partially before adding other ingredients or fillings
Bain-Marie: Literally a hot water bath. Normally a roasting tray that is filled with water to temper and soften cooking heats in an oven. Or used as a container that keeps dishes and ingredients warm without drying or burning during service
Baton: To cut vegetables into thin sticks normally no longer than a matchstick. Also known as 'en batonnets'. A baton, although thicker than a 'julienne' should still be of the same length
Bard: Laying fat or bacon over meat or poultry while it is roasting. Encourages flavour and moisture
Baste: To pour fat or liquid over an ingredient while it is cooking as a means to promote flavour and moisture
Baveuse: Partially liquid or a liquid that hasn't quite set
Beurre Manie: Equal quantities of butter and flour that have been kneaded together. Used to thicken sauces and liquids
Blanch: Immersing an ingredient briefly into boiling water as a means of par cooking or preparation
'Blast': Kitchen slang for rapid heating in a fierce oven or microwave
'Blast Chiller': A cold cupboard that rapidly chills hot foods
Blind Beans: Beans, rice or pulses used in conjunction with grease proof paper to weigh down a pastry case while it is being 'baked blind'
Bollocks: Traditional english culinary term used in great moments of shock, disgust or good old fashioned panic.
'Brown' or 'to Brown Off': Cooking an ingredient until it begins to colour as a means of encouraging flavours. The scientific term relative for this is the 'Maillard reaction'
Bouquet Garni: A small bundle of flavouring ingredients added to a liquid as a means of adding flavouring. Traditionally celery, bay leaf, parsley and mace
'Buzz': To blend or liquidize
'Cheesy': Term of disgust given for bland food, music and political opinions
'Chef': Casual term used to address the head chef by a junior whilst in the kitchen
Chef de Partie: A chef de partie is a section head and is responsible for managing his part or section of the kitchen (i.e. the pastry section, veg section, fish section etc) A chef de partie is beneath a sous chef but above a commis chef.
Chiffonnade: Slicing lettuce or rolled salad leaves into a 'needle-like shreds'
Chinois: A conical strainer or sieve
Chump: Affectionate term for a cross between an idiot and a fool
Commis Chef: The lowest ranked chef in a kitchen. Responsible for basic food preparation
Concasser: To roughly chop or pound a meat or vegetable (i.e. tomato concise)
'Cowboy': A chef that cooks with poor or incorrect methods
Dice: To cut an ingredient into a small square shape.
Executive Chef: Either above, below or equal to the Head Chef and only likely to be found in very large kitchens. A relatively new position created as legal issues and paperwork mounted in the catering trade. The 'Exec Chef' handles costings, health and hygiene issues, menu planning and ordering.
Fold or Folding: The gentle stirring of liquid ingredients. Used to avoid agitating food stuffs or reducing a mix's volume of air bubbles
Garnish: The final decorative touch given to a dish
Glaze: To spread a layer of fat, jelly, jam, syrup or oil over a finished dish as a means of garnish or preserving
Head Chef: The Don Daddy of the kitchen
Hobart: Generic name for an industrial mixing machine (so named after the stalworth brand that once upon a time appeared in almost every kitchen)
Julienne: To finely slice an ingredient into 'needle-like shreds'. A julienne, although thinner than a 'baton' should be of the same length
Jus: Pan juices that occur during roasting. Traditionally a jus is never thickened with flour but by reduction. (A jus thickened with flour is a gravy)
Kitchen Assistant: New politically correct term for kitchen porter
'KP' or Kitchen Porter: The backbone of any kitchen. A great kitchen porter is often the only person that stops a stressed kitchen from falling apart. Normal duties consist of cleaning and organizing a kitchen's stores as well as basic food preparation, but in most cases a KP is a chef's right hand.
Lard or Larding: The act of threading strips of fat through meat and poultry to give extra flavour and moisture
Liaison: Any ingredient or mixture used as a means of thickening a liquid i.e. beurre manie, flour, cornflour, blood, egg yolks etc
Line or 'To Line': Lining a cake tin or roasting tray with baking parchment or to line a flan case with pastry
Macerate: To soak food in a liquid as a means of marinating or infusing flavours. (Traditionally done to fresh and dried fruits)
Manky: Kitchen slang for nasty, wet or soggy
Marinade: An assortment of liquids and dry ingredients that are used as a means of flavouring and tenderizing
Mise en Place: The preparation of food prior to actual cooking. Also a state of mind that allows a head chef to manage the kitchen at high efficiency
Mirepoix: A 'bed' of vegetables placed either in a pot or roasting tray upon which poultry or meat is placed before cooking. A mirepoix is a means of adding flavour
Muppet: Kitchen slang for idiot or chump
Napper or 'to Nappe': To cover or coat an ingredient with a thick sauce
Parboil: To partially cook or soften an ingredient by boiling
Pass: To sieve or strain a liquid or ingredient through a sieve or chinois
Pipe: The act of squeezing a foamed or soft ingredient through a bag and nozzle to form various shapes. i.e. whipped cream or mash potato
Politics: Bad working relations between a kitchen and management
Prove: Allowing a yeasted dough to rise before baking to show or 'prove' that the yeast is still active and hasn't been destroyed during preparation
Punter: A client or customer
Quenelles: Shaping a soft or malleable food source into a slim 'egg' shape. Normally done with the aid of two spoons.
Rechauffee: Reheating a previously cooked dish (for health reasons you should only ever reheat a cooked dish once before discarding)
Reduce: To reduce an amount of liquid through boiling to thicken a sauce, liquid or syrup.
Refresh: To run an ingredient beneath cold (or sometimes hot) water to prevent further cooking, prevent colour loss and to remove excess starch
'Robo-arm': Common nickname for a industrial liquidizing / blending unit that is fixed onto a long metal stem or 'arm'.
'Rumbler': An industrial machine used for peeling potatoes. So named for its deep, 'rumbling' noise that permeates the kitchen
Sauter or 'to Saute': Pan-frying an ingredient until cooked and coloured
'Scald': To heat at a simmer or the point just before boiling
'Send off': On a chefs last day he or she is given a 'send off' which normally consists of being doused or dunked in nasty, old and smelly kitchen ingredients. (The drunken, debauched party normally happens after.)
Service: The duration of the time when food is served or a restaurant has its doors open to the public
'Slap or Smack': Traditional kitchen punishment for naughtiness or stupidity
Sous Chef: Second in command and runs a kitchen in absence of the head chef
Spider: A strainer used for removing ingredients from oil or water. So named because it resembles a spider sitting in a web
Steel: Tool used to maintain a knife's sharp edge
Stone: A 'wet' or 'oil' stone is used to sharpen a blunt knife
Sweat: To gently cook
Sweet: Dessert or kitchen slang for 'nice'
'Walk-in': Either a large walk-in style refirgerator or freezer or a punter who has walked into a restaurant without making a prior reservation.
'Wipe Out!': Kitchen slang for either dropping a finished dish on the floor or the act of a chef slipping on a wet surface before falling on his backside or face. Normally accompanied by laughs of derision and much finger pointing
Zest: To grate the outer layer of a citrus fruit

Creme brulee in a bain marie To bard
Creme brulee in a 'bain marie' used to moderate the oven's heat and promote a humid cooking enviroment 'Barded' chicken
To 'blind bake' a pastry To 'brown off' i.e. onions
'Buzz' to blend or liquidize A 'bouquet garni'
'Buzz' to blend or liquidize A 'bouquet garni' with celery, fresh herbs and bay leaves tied together with string
'cream' 'Batons'
To 'cream' butter and sugar together 'Batons'
'Dice' 'Folding'
'Dice' 'Folding' the act of stirring in with the gentlest of motions
'Hobart' an industrial mixer To Julienne
'Hobart' an industrial mixer To 'julienne' or cut into needle-like shreds
Using flour as a 'liaison' 'Lining' a cake tin
Using flour as a 'liaison' to thicken a gravy 'Lining' a cake tin with baking parchment
'Proving' a pizza dough 'Refreshing'
'Proving' a pizza dough until it doubles in size 'Refreshing' french beans beneath cold water
A 'rumbler'  
A 'rumbler' an industrial peeling machine  
A 'spider' 'Zesting
A 'spider', so named because it resembles a spider sitting in a web 'Zesting' or removing the skin from a citrus fruit