The Hospitality Guru (cooking) Back to Basics: Sauces

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Many chefs believe that good sauces are the main feature of good cooking because of the skill they require to prepare and the interest and excitement they give to food.  The real success of a dish is frequently determined by its sauce.  A good sauce is often the most memorable part of a meal.

Making a perfect sauce was once considered to be one of the most difficult of all cooking procedures.  The trademark of a good chef was often his or her ability to make a perfect sauce.  There is no doubt that sauce making is an exacting skill.  However, over the years, sauce making has been carefully studied and precise culinary technique have been developed to simplify procedures and to produce a consistently good quality product.  Sauces are basic but versatile commodities in the kitchen and sauce making is a skill you will need to learn.  The professional chef realises the importance of making good sauces.

FUNCTIONS

A sauce is a liquid seasoning, usually thickened, that is generally cooked apart from the food with which it is to be served.  Sauces enhance the flavour, appearance and quality of both sweet and savoury dishes.

The main functions of sauces are to provide:

  • Moisture
  • Flavour
  • Richness
  • Colour / shine
  • Interest
  • Eye appeal

Some sauces also help to digest fatty foods.  Apple sauce, for example, is traditionally served with pork.  The acid in the apple helps to break down the pork fat.

Sauces can also be used to bind ingredients together (as in croquettes).  In some instances, sauces are also used to totally mask (cover) foods to either protect them from drying out (as in braises) or to glaze them (as in cauliflower mornay).

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