Culinary Terminology - A

À la carte: each food and beverage item has been priced separately. It can also mean that food items can be cooked to order instead of cooked in advance. An example of an online à la carte menu can be found here:

À la minute: means food items can be cooked to order.

À la nage: cooking food (usually seafood) in a court bouillon and serving the bouillon and the vegetables as part of the garniture. Click here for an online discussion on "à la nage":

Aboyeur: also called a barker, expediter or announcer. The aboyeur accepts orders from the dining room, relays them to the appropriate stations of the kitchen, and checks each plate before it leaves the kitchen. For a visual reminder, here's an image of royal French aboyeur Firmin:

Al dente: an Italian term, literally meaning "to the tooth", or "to the bite", and usually referring to pasta cooked just before it's done. For steps and a longer definition, click here:

Allemande: a classic sauce made with veal or chicken velouté, thickened with egg yolks and seasoned with lemon juice. Also called sauce Parisienne, but actually meaning German sauce. Confused? Don't be. Here's a video on how to make Allemande sauce:

Allumette: An allumette (French for matchstick) is a vegetable cut, in the shape of a matchstick, 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch x 2 inches, usually potato. A recipe for allumette potatoes can be found here:

Almande: old French for "almond". Not to be confused with "allemande".

Au gratin: a dish with a brown crusted top, usually of breadcrumbs, cheese and/or sauce. Standard fare is potatoes au gratin. Here's a pic of veggies au gratin that will make your mouth water:

Au jus: literally means "with juice". In this case, au jus refers to roasted meat served with its unthickened, natural juices. An easy recipe:,1927,151175-242206,00.html

Au point: means that your steak is perfectly cooked!

Au sec: pretty much the opposite of "au jus". Foods are cooked until virtually no moisture remains. Sec means "dry".