French – Food and Culinary Word Lists

After the first six minutes of “Comme Le Chef”, I realized that there were going to be a lot of cooking terms that you would almost never normally come across. In the first minute, Jacky talks about a “turbot”, and it appears to be some kind of flat fish (like a fluke?). You would have to see a picture of it to understand what it is.

Below is a list of >490 other foods and terms that I am familiar with. You master this list, and you’ll never sit at a French restaurant again, only able to make out “hamburger” on “le menu”.other list…this one is just the verbs you may hear in a kitchen.

French English
À la broche cooked on a skewer
À la carte this term on a menu means that patrons will be paying for their choices on an individual basis as opposed to a “fixed price” meal.
À la mode (in the style of) in the us, “a la mode” means served with ice cream
À la vapeur steamed
À point medium rare
À votre goût to your liking
Addition bill
Agneau lamb
Ail garlic
Aïoli garlic mayonnaise
Airelle cranberry
Algues algae
Aligot fondue-like mix of mashed potatoes and sharp cheese
Allérgique à allergic to
Amande almond.
Amuse-bouche a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre, compliments of the chef
Ananas pineapple
Anchois anchovy
Andouille a kind of pork sausage.
Andouillette sausage (from chitterlings)
Aperitif an alcoholic drink served before a meal
Artichaut artichoke
Asperge asparagus
Au gratin baked with cheese and breadcrumbs
Au jus (with juice) meat served “au jus” is meat served with the meat’s natural juices
Au naturel natural or pure, unseasoned
Au pistou with basil
Aubergine eggplant
Avec des glaçons on the rocks
Avocat avocado pear
Baba au rhum sponge cake soaked in rum syrup
Baguette classic long, thin loaf of bread
Bain-marie a roasting pan parially filled with water for slow cooking i.e. custards
Bar sea-bass
Baron saddle
Basilic basil
Bâtard long, thin loaf of bread, larger than a baguette
Batonnet “little stick”
Bavette skirt of beef
Bavarois creamy pudding made with cream and eggs, set in gelatin
Béarnaise a rich white tarragon-flavored sauce.  Other ingredients include  egg yolks, butter, shallots, white wine, vinegar; and other herbs
Béchamel a savory white sauce, made with butter, flour, and milk, usually flavored with onion, bay leaf, pepper, and nutmeg
Beignet fritter
Belon flat oyster
Betterave beetroot
Beurre butter
Beurre Manié butter and flour, equal parts, used to thicken stews, soups, etc.
Bien cuit well done (cooked)
Bière beer
Bisque bisque (homard soup)
Blanch to cook food lightly in boiled water, a technique which makes the peeling of some fruits and vegetables very easy
Blanc-manger a sweetened milk pudding thickened with corn starch or gelatin and flavored, often with almond.
Blanc sec dry white wine
Blanquette veal stew in white sauce
Bleu, saignant rare (“blue” or “bleeding”)
Boeuf beef
Boisson drink
Bon appétit (good appetite) enjoy your meal
Bonbon a candy or sweet
Bordelaise served with a brown sauce.  Ingredients may include red wine, onions or shallots, and bone marrow
Bouchées small puff pastry with a savory filling, usually an hors d’oeuvre
Boudin pork sausage
Boudin blanc sausage (white poultry)
Bouillabaisse provencal fish soup
Bouillon stock or broth
Bouteille bottle
Brioche buttery, egg-enriched yeast bread
Brule to burn a food to caramelize the sugar on the surface (Crème brûlée)
Brunoise vegetable cutting method, small dice
Cabillaud cod
Café coffee
Café au lait coffee with milk
Café déca or décaféiné decaffeinated coffee
Café express plain black espresso
Café faux decaffeinated coffee
Café filtre filtered american-style coffee (not available at all cafés)
Café glacé iced coffee
Café noir black coffee
Café coffee, as well as a type of eating place where coffee is served
Canapé a small piece of bread or toast with a savory on top usually served as an hors d’oeuvre
Canard duck
Cannelle cinnamon
Carbonnisée Burned to a crisp
Carré d’agneau ribs of lamb
Carte menu
Carte des vins wine list
Cartouche “scroll” or “packet”, paper lid used to slow a reduction
Cassis blackcurrent
Cassoulet stew (haricot beans,goose)
Cassoulet casserole of white beans, and meats such as sausage, duck, pork, lamb, mutton, and goose
Cèpe wild mushroom
Cerise cherry
Champignon common mushroom
Chanterelle a pale orange-yellow mushroom
Chapelure breadcrumbs
Chapelux browned breadcrumbs
Charcuterie assorted delicatessen
Châtaignes chestnuts
Chateaubriand thick filet steak, grilled and garnished with herbs
Chaud hot
Chaud-froid a dish that is first cooked then chilled for service
Chêne oak
Chèvre goat but might also imply goat cheese
Chiffonade rolling herbs or leafy greens and cutting into shreds
Chine to remove backbone from rib rack
Chou cabbage
Choux pastry dough made from butter, water, flour and eggs
Choucroute sauerkraut
Ciboulette chive
Citron lemon
Citrouille pumpkins
Colin coalfish
Compote dessert consisting of fruit stewed in sugard syrup
Compris/Inclus Included
Concassé rough chop, usually tomatoes
Consommé richly flavored, clear soup
Confit d’oie/canard preserved goose/duck
Confit cooked in fat (either its own or the fat of something else)
Coq au vin chicken cooked in wine.
Coquille St-Jacques scallop
Côte chop
Côtelletes à point ribs cooked perfectly
Coulis sauce
Courges squash
Courgette zucchini
Court Bouillon flavored liquid for cooking fish
Couscous a hearty african dish of crushed wheat (originally millet) steamed over a broth, also contains vegetables, meats, hot sauce, and sometimes chickpeas and raisins.  Or couscous might refer to the granules from which this dish is made.
Crème brûlée (burnt cream) a baked custard dessert topped with caramelized sugar crust.
Crème caramel flan; custard lined with caramel.
Crème de cacao chocolate-flavored liqueur.
Crème de menthe mint-flavored liqueur.
Crème fraîche despite its literal meaning, “fresh crème,” crème fraîche is a slightly fermented, thickened cream, made with buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt.
Crêpe a thin sweet or savory pancake, sometimes wrapped around combinations of fruit or vegetables.
Crêpes suzette hot crêpe dessert flamed with orange liqueur.
Crevette prawn
Croque-monsieur toasted sandwich (cheese,ham)
Croquettes mixture of potato with cooked protein, formed into shapes, breaded, and fried
Croustade bread piece dipped in butter and baked until crisp
Croûte crust
Croûtons small cubes of toasted or fried bread often served as garnish in soup or salad
Crudité mixed raw vegetables served as hors d’ouevres.
Crudités raw vegetable hors d’oeuvre
Cuisine cookery as an art or food style
Cuisson de viande cooking meat
Dariole small cylindrical mold
Daurade sea bream
Déglacer to deglaze
Dégorger to extract juices
Dégustation the act of tasting
Déjeuner lunch
Délicieux delicious
Demi-glace meat stock which has been concentrated by evaporating some of the liquid
Demitasse (half cup) refers to a small cup of coffee
Dépouiller to skim off the skin that accumulates at the top of a stock or sauce
Dinde turkey
Doux sweet
Du jour of the day
Duxelles finely chopped raw mushrooms, used as a stuffing
Eau minérale mineral water
Échalotte shallot
En cocotte cooked in a covered baking dish
En croute wrapped in pastry
Endive chicory salad green.
Entrecôte rib steak
Entrée first course, the main course of a meal
Entremet a dessert of sweet
Épices spices
Épinard spinach
Escalope a thin, boneless slice of meat
Escargots snails
Estragon tarragon (herb)
Etoffé stuffed
Farce stuffing
Farfalles bow-tie pasta
Faugères wine growing region (red wine?)
Faux filet sirloin
Fenouil fennel
Feuille sheet
Feuilleté flaky pastry
Filet mignon a cut of beef
Flambé burning liquor on food
Flan sweet or savory tart or a crustless, custard pie
Florentine with spinach
Foie gras liver pâté
Fondant a sweet made of soft paste of flavored and colored sugar often used for icing cakes
Fondue melted, any dish in which bits of food are dipped into a hot liquid for example a cheese sauce or melted chocolate
Frais or fraîche fresh or chilled.
Fraise strawberry
Fraise des bois wild strawberry.
Framboise raspberry
Frappé a drink made with crushed ice and blended to a slushy consistency
Fricassée ingredients braised in wine sauce or butter with cream added; currently denotes any mixture of ingredients cut up and stewed in a sauce.
Frit(e) fried
frites french fries, chips
Froid cold
Fromage cheese
Fruits confit candied fruit
Fruits de mer seafood
Fumé smoked
Gambas king prawn
Ganache a classically rich mixture of chocolate and crème used as filling for cake or truffles, or as icing
Gaspacho gazpacho (a Spanish soup)
Gâteau cake
Gateau opéra classic almond sponge cake layered with chocolate butter cream and covered with a sheet of chocolate
Gâteau a large rich cake often with layers of cream or fruit
Gelée jelly
Gibier game
Gigot leg of lamb
Girolle mushroom (chanterelle)
Glace ice (cream)
Glace de Viande reduced brown stock used to add color or flavor to sauce
Gratin dish browned in oven
Groseille redcurrant
Gruyère a firm pale cow’s milk cheese
Haché ground (meat)
Hachis parmentier shepherd’s pie
Hareng herring
Haricot bean
Haute cuisine a high class, fancy, and expensive manner of preparing food
Hollandaise (from holland) a sauce of butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice
Homard lobster
Hors-d’oeuvre an appetizer
Huile oil
Huître oyster
Ile flottante snow egg with sauce
Infusion herb tea
Jambon ham
Jardiniere vegetables cut into batons, like julienne but thicker
Julienne cut into slivers, usually vegetables or meat
Jus juice
Jus Lié thickened gravy
Kir white wine with cassis
L’amuse-bouche a bite-sized hors d’oeuvre, compliments of the chef
L’apéro/L’apéritif aperitif
L’assiette plate
L’entrecôte Bercy rump steak in white wine
L’eau bouillante boiling water
La biére beer
La carte de vins the wine list
La carte/le ménu the menu
La charcuterie an assortment of cured and dried meats
La choucroute sauerkraut (expect various kinds of pork)
La crème brûlée fresh cream with caramel
La crème de champignons cream of mushrooms
La crêpe very thin pancake, sweet or savory
La cuisine the kitchen
La cuisse dark meat
La daube de poisson fish casserole
La dégustation tasting menu
La galette a savory crepe/cake
La poulard young female chicken
La viande meat
La volaille white meat
L’addition the check (must be requested)
Lait milk
Laitue lettuce
Langoustine crawfish
Lapin rabbit
Lard bacon
Le beurre Butter
Le bifteck Steak
Le blanc de poulet chicken breast
Le café coffee (typically Espresso)
Le cassoulet rich meat and bean casserole
Le châteaubriand porterhouse steak
Le cidre cider
Le consommé du volaille chicken broth
Le coq au vin chicken in red wine sauce
Le coquelet young male chicken
Le cornichon tiny pickly accompanies charcuterie
Le déjeuner lunch
Le dîner dinner
Le feuilleté savory pastry
Le filet en croûte beef wellington
Le foie liver
Le fromage cheese
Le gratin dauphinois scalloped potatoes
Le gratin de légumes vegetable pie
Le jus juice
Le Kir white wine with cassis or blackberry syrup
Le pain bread
Le parmentier like shephard’s pie, ground meat covered with mashed potatoes
Le pâté de campagne fresh plate
Le pâté liver mousse
Le petit déjeuner breakfast
Le plat principal the main dish
Le poisson fish
Le porc pork
Le potage soup
Le poulet rôti roast chicken
Le poulet/poule chicken
Le pourboire tip/ gratuity
Le serveur/la serveuse waiter/waitress
Le steak tartare seasoned, finely chopped raw beef
Le tête de veau veal head
Le veau veal
Le vol-au-vent a small, light, savory pastry
Légume vegetable
Lentille lentil
Les ailes de poulet chicken wings
Les champignons mushrooms
Les coquilles Saint-Jacques scallops
Les crêpes flambées pancakes glazed with brandy
Les cuisses de grenouilles frogs’ legs
Les escargots snails served in-shell with garlic-parsley butter
Les fromages cheeses
Les huitres oysters
Les moules marinières mussels in white wine
Les moules mussels
Les oeufs eggs
Les pâtes pasta
Les poires Belle Hélène pears in syrup
Les pommes de terre potatoes
Les rognons de veaux veal kidneys
Liason ingredients used to thicken sauces, soups, etc.
Lièvre hare
Limonade lemonade
Lotte burbot
Loup sea bass
Loup de mer sea bass
Macédoine salad that includes small pieces of mixed fruit or vegetables
Magret de canard fillet of duck
Maïs maize, sweetcorn
Maître d’ the master of
Marinade a mixture of wine, vinegar, or other acidic liquid along with oils, herbs, and spices
Mariner le soja soy marinade
Marmite covered earthenware container for soup
Marron chestnut
Marron glacé preserved chestnut
Mélange a mixture
Menthe mint
Menu menu
Mesclum or mesclun a mixture of salad greens.
Meunière cooked in browned butter
Miel honey
Mirepoix mixture of sautéed, diced vegetables
Mise en place the area where ingredients and equipment are assembled and prepared before the actual cooking takes place
Mont blanc rich classic pastry of baked meringue, chestnut purée, and whipped cream
Mornay classic cream sauce flavored with cheese
Moulè-â-manqué bake with wide base
Mousse light, airy mixture usually containing eggs and cream, either sweet or savory
Mousseline chiffon, tissue
Moutarde mustard
Muscadet a sweet white wine
Myrtille bilberry (like a black berry)
Napper to coat, mask or cover something
Navarin d’agneau lamb stew
Navet turnip
Newburg a sauce usually prepared for lobster, crab, or shrimp which contains butter, cream, egg yolks, sherry, and seasonings.
Noisette hazelnuts, or brown in color like hazelnuts
Nougat a candy made from egg white sweetened with honey or sugar and mixed with pieces of nuts and sometimes pieces of fruit.
Nouille pasta
Nouvelle cuisine a new style of cooking which avoids traditional rich sauces in favor of fresh ingredients and attractive presentation.
Oeuf à la coque soft boiled egg
Oeuf au plat fried egg
Oeuf dur hard boiled egg
Oeufs brouillés scambled eggs
Oie goose
Oignon onion
Omelette omelet
Onglet steak
Pain bread
Pamplemousse grapefruit
Panade very thick mixture made from flour, butter and milk, normally used in soufflés and fish cakes
Paprika hot, red powdered spice made from peppers
Papillote wrapping of parchment paper around fish or meat, for cooking, to retain moisture
Parisienne potatoes molded into balls with a melon scoop, then fried or roasted
Pâté de foie gras pâté made from goose liver
Pâté a paste or spread made from seasoned minced meat or fish
Pâtes pasta
Pâtisserie pastry
Paupiette foil wrapped around food for cooking
Pâtisserie A sweet or pastry, it also refers to a cake shop
Paysanne vegetables cut into thick slices
Pêche peach
Perdreau partridge
Persil parsley
Petis pois peas.
Petit déjeuner breakfast
Petit pois green peas
Petit salé salt pork
Petit-four (little oven) a small dessert especially cake
Piccata method of preparing food: meat is sliced, coated, sautéed and served in a sauce
Pièce de résistance (the one that resists) the main dish of a meal
Pignons pine nuts, edible seeds of the stone pine grown in Southern Europe
Pilchard name for sardines on the atlantic coast
Piment pepper
Pintade guinea hen
Piquant(e) agreeably sharp or spicy tasting.
Piquant spicy
Piquer to insert fat (bacon) into meat or poultry
Plat du jour daily special
Poire pear
Poireau leek
Poisson fish
Poivre pepper
Pomme apple
Pomme de terre potato
Pommes frites chips
Portefeuille food that is stuffed, folded or placed in layers
Pot-au-feu beef stew
Potimarrons pumpkins
Poulet chicken
Pourboire a gratuity or tip
Poussin a young chicken
Prix price
Prix fixe a meal consisting of several courses with one total price
Provençal cooked with tomatoes, anchovies and olives
Provençale in the style of provence; food cooked in a sauce of garlic, tomatoes, and/or olive oil.
Purée to reduce food by mashing and blending to a lump-free consistency.
Quenelles fish dumplings
Radis radish
Ragoût stew (meat and vegetables)
Raie ray
Raisin grape
Ramequin small individual casserole
Râpée shredded, grated
Ratatouille vegetable stew
Ravioles raviolis (pasta squares filled with cheese, beef, etc)
Réchauffée reheated food
Réfectoire dining hall
Reine-claude greengage (European plum)
Repere flour mixed with water or egg white, used to seal pans when slow cooking (i.e. ragoût)
Revenir quickly fry meats or veg in hot fat to warm through
Riz rice
Rocher one-handed quenelle, formed by scopping and manipulating with spoons
Rognon kidney
Romarin rosemary
Roquefort a blue-veined, sheep’s milk cheese
Rôti roast/roasted
Rouget red mullet
Rouille sauce for fish soups
Roux a cooked mixture of flour and melted fat
Safran saffron
Saignant rare
Salé salted
Sandre zandre
Sardine a young pilchard or other small fish, cured, preserved and packed for food
Saucisse pork sausage
Saucisson cooked dried sausage
Sauge sage
Saupoudrer de chapelure sprinkle with breadcrumbs
Saumon salmon
Sauté to fry quickly with a small amount of fat over high heat.
Sautoir deep frying pan with lid, used to fast fry then slow cook
Sel salt
Sole sole (filet of fish)
Son bran
Sorbet a frozen dessert made with fruit juice and beaten egg whites.
Soupe soupe
Soupe du jour soup of the day
Steak tartar uncooked meat
Sucre sugar
Table d’hôte the host table
Tapenade blend of black olives, anchovies, capers, olive oil, and lemon juice, usually served as an hors d’oeuvre
Tarte a fruit pie or tart
Tasse cup
Terrine paté, mix of minced ingredients backed or steamed in loaf shaped container
Tête head
Thé tea
Thon tuna fish
Thym thyme (berb)
Tiède lukewarm
Tilleul lime tea
Timbale dish cooked in a high, sloped mold
Tisane herbal tea
Tournedos fillet steak (beef), a cut of beef taken midway from the tenderloin
Tourte tart of meat or fish
Tranche slice
Truffe truffle
Turbot type of fish
Un méli-mélo an assortment
Un morceau a piece
Un pichet a small pitcher (usually of wine)
Une bouteille a bottle
Une crafe a glass bottle (usually of wine)
Une saucisse/Saucisson sausage
Une tranche a slice
Vanille vanilla
Veau veal
Végétalien vegan
Végétarien vegetarian
Velouté cream soup, made from butter, flour, cream and stock
Velouté de poireaux cream of the leaks
Verre glass
Verveine vervain
Viande meat
Vin wine
Vinaigrette french dressing
Vol-au-vent a very light pastry shell filled with meat or fish with sauce
Yaourt yogurt
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