If you’re unfamiliar with the dining lingo, a romantic date can quickly turn into a confusing embarrassment. Worry no longer, because we’re here to assist with this beginner’s guide to fine dining.
A la Mode: A French term that means “in the manner of,” referring to how a dish is prepared. In the United States, it is commonly used to describe a dessert topped with ice cream, such as pie a la mode.
Al Dente: The term al dente originates in Italy and is used to describe pasta cooking. When cooked Al Dente, pasta should be tender but firm to the bite.
Aioli: In Mediterranean cultures, Aioli specifically refers to mayonnaise made from olive oil emulsified with mashed garlic.
Amuse-Bouche: A small complimentary appetizer
Anti-Pasto: The traditional first course of a formal Italian meal.
Aperitif: An alcoholic drink, drunk before a meal to whet the appetite.
Food Artisan: Someone who produces food in limited quantities often using traditional methods.
Béchamel Sauce: Béchamel, also known as white sauce, is made with only 3-ingredients: flour, butter, and milk.
Bouquet Garni: A bundle of herbs ( thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, etc) usually tied with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, casseroles, and various stews.
Carpaccio: Thin slices of raw beef served as an appetizer, usually topped with Lemon juice, Parmesan, or Arugula.
Charcuterie: A French term for a branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballottines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork.
Foie Gras: A French specialty food product made of the liver of a duck or goose.
Confit: French word defining any type of food that is cooked slowly over a long period as a method of preservation.
Consommé: A clear soup made with concentrated stock.
Crème Fraiche: A type of thick cream made from heavy cream with the addition of buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt.
Deconstructed cuisine: The French philosopher Jacques Derrida popularized the term “deconstruction.” However, in the culinary world, deconstruction entails taking complex dishes, simplifying them by isolating or breaking apart their components, and rebuilding a new dish.
Petits Fours: Small bite-sized pastries served with coffee and tea.
Fusion Cuisine: Fusion Cuisine is Cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions that originate from different countries, regions, or cultures.
Digestif: An alcoholic beverage that is consumed after a meal to aid digestion.
Flambe: Covered with liquor and set alight briefly.
Ghee: Clarified butter.
Gazpacho: A Spanish cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables.
Hors d’Oeuvre: In European cuisine, an Hors d’Oeuvre appetizer or starter is a small dish served before a meal.
Kobe beef: Wagyu beef from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle, raised in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture according to rules set.
Omakase: A meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef.
Sommelier: A sommelier is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants.
Cuisine Sous-vide: The process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag and then cooking it to a precise temperature in a water bath.
Tapas: Small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar.
Tartar: A meat or fish dish made from finely chopped meat or fish with capers, Worcestershire sauce, herbs, pickled vegetables, and more.
Umami: A strong meaty flavor imparted by glutamate and other amino acids: one of the basic taste sensations, along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.