When it comes to cooking, there are numerous options in food preparation that chefs can take before preparing their dishes. From enhancing a dish’s appearance to perfecting its flavour, these are tricks that every chef needs to be aware of in the culinary industry.
Students pursuing a career in this profession should familiarize themselves with some crucial and popular cooking techniques in order to grasp the different results they each provide. Here are five cooking techniques to whet your appetite before starting culinary college.
1. Future Chefs Should Know About Searing
One common technique used in cooking in order to build flavour is searing. This technique is used to cook meat, poultry, and fish, and a stainless steel or cast iron pan is used for best results. To sear the food, the temperature must be set on high and the food is cooked until the edges begin to reveal a brown crust.
Searing makes for an interesting flavour as it creates two distinct tastes between the rest of the food and the crusted edges. Also, the dish’s appearance is much more appealing due to the meat’s brownish-coloured highlights.
2. Braising is a Great Follow-Up Technique to Searing
This technique is usually used after searing has taken place. It is a combination of two cooking methods that requires both moist and dry heat. Once seared, a braising liquid, either broth or wine, is added until approximately 2/3 of the food is covered if cooking a whole cut of meat.
After the liquid is added, the food is covered and cooked at very low temperature until it becomes tender enough to cut with minimal pressure. Braising can also be done with vegetables, and the liquid can be used to create a sauce or gravy to apply on the finished dish.
3. Students in Culinary Management Courses Can Use Emulsion to Create Dressings
Emulsion is a technique that chefs use in order to bind two liquids together that would not normally mix when making a sauce or dressing. Students enrolling in culinary management courses should be aware of the distinction between temporary and permanent emulsion.
Temporary emulsions include simple vinaigrettes such as mixing oil and vinegar (two ingredients that do not mix). If combined in a jar, they will blend for a short period but will separate if left for a while. Permanent emulsions, such as hollandaise sauce, will contain two ingredients (egg yolks and clarified butter) that will not separate after mixing.
4. Blanching is a Great Method for Preserving Vegetables
This technique is very beneficial in culinary management, as it is typically used for vegetables or fruits to help reduce their loss of colour, flavour, texture, and nutritional qualities during product storage.
For blanching, the food is placed in boiling water for approximately 1-5 minutes, depending on the type of vegetable, and is then removed and placed immediately in ice cold water. This halts the cooking process as the switch from hot to cold shocks the food to help preserve its qualities.
5. Culinary Management Students Shouldn’t Confuse Sautéing With Searing
Although similar to searing, sautéing is a fast cooking technique that involves cooking the food with a little bit of oil or fat on high heat. This method is used for thinly sliced or cut foods which are cooked for a short period of time in order to protect their texture, moisture, and flavor.