Culinary Fundamentals Course Outline

This program consists of the following courses:

This first course in the Escoffier Online Culinary Arts program, is designed to give you an understanding of basic concepts and skills that are key to your success in the culinary industry. We’ll begin by studying Auguste Escoffier and his relevance in the world of culinary arts. We’ll then move on to knife skills, cooking principles, and seasonings. And finally end with eggs, dairy, and cheese.

 

Auguste Escoffier and Professionalism

This unit covers the impact of Chef Auguste Escoffier a name synonymous with the art and science of Cooking, and the impact of his life and legacy on the culinary profession. The course then presents along with the history of cuisine, those important personal traits that can create and produce a professional culinarian. As with the entire curriculum, sanitation, practice, and respect for the ingredients can continue to enhance the learning experience.

Chef’s Knife Skills and Classic Cuts

In this course students will have the opportunity to study, practice and demonstrate those knife skills which are critical to success in a professional kitchen. Since specific cuts of vegetables, fruits and proteins are used in kitchens worldwide, this important fundamental skill provides the basis for accurate yields, portioning and cooking of foods

The Professional Kitchen

This course is an introduction to the operation of a commercial kitchen which also covers equipment use and safety. The concepts presented apply to every aspect of kitchen operations, whether the menu, preparation lists, equipment considerations or staff training. The focus is on the main component of a chef’s job which is directing and or preparing all of the items on the menu, ensuring that service is smooth and efficient by a thorough mise en place.

Classic Cooking Methods

In this introductory course to the culinary arts, students will have the opportunity to observe and practice basic classic cooking techniques. Topics include, culinary terminology, standards of professional cooking and presentation. These basic cooking principles and various techniques found in western kitchens will be demonstrated, and through practice, the student will become adept.

World Flavors: Salts, Spices and Herbs

This unit presents indigenous ingredients from around the globe and introduces the wide variety of seasoning and flavorings that can create great food when used properly. Of great importance is the understanding of how to season before and after cooking. Next the course provides the proper method of toasting and grinding spices and when to add fresh herbs to a dish. Students will understand the importance of building flavor profiles in recipes.

Egg, Dairy and Cheese

This unit discusses eggs, dairy and cheese and includes the nutritional quality, structure, composition, selection, storage and processing, cookery functions and methods of preparation. The unit will present the important role that eggs, dairy and cheese have in the kitchen. All three are used in any number of recipes. Of particular concern is the beginning cooks ability to successfully prepare a variety of egg dishes with speed and accuracy. Also the use, care and understanding of the handling of artisanal cheeses are part of this course.

In this course we’ll cover a lot of the culinary fundamentals that lay the groundwork in most of western cooking. We’ll cover Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, stocks, sauces, soups, salads, and sandwiches.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

The course describes the processes that go into fruit and vegetable cookery and the importance of understanding the range of cooking times necessary due to age and size of vegetables. Some of the key points presented in the course will be the understanding of when vegetables are done from a restaurant service point of view. Steaming, blanching, sautéing and boiling are all covered.

Grains, Legumes and Potatoes

This course presents the various grains, legumes and potatoes that have become popular on restaurant menus. Important points that are covered are grains requiring pre-planning in the form of soaking or long cooking times and others that can be last-minute additions to a meal. Various potato dishes are presented and the methods in preparing them.

Stocks and Mother Sauces

This course provides the student guidance on the preparation and use of stocks and sauces as found in many professional kitchens. Students will learn how to classify stocks and sauces which are based on the production method and their final appearance. Importantly the student will prepare stocks that are the basis for great soups and sauces.

Traditional Regional Soups

The course presents the various categories of clear soups, thickened soups, and specialty soups. The understanding of the key groups allows the student to understand the principles of soup production, e.g. thin soups such as consommé require clarification and follow a certain process. Classifying soups is also useful when planning a menu as a culinarian can choose appropriate soups to complement main course choices.

Salads: Green and Composed

This course covers the different salads that can be made from any number of ingredients. The student will learn that salads are not only lettuces, and that menu examples can be found using vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice, seafood, poultry and meat. The additional elements that go into composing a salad as a side dish (accompaniment), a buffet item, when served in volume in a banquet, as an entrée or a dessert, will be presented.

Sandwiches: Hot, Sub and Club

Sandwiches can be found on menus anytime of the day and in many different forms. The offerings have changed considerable in the last 20 years especially due to ethnic influences and healthier choices. The sandwich is a favorite lunch time and late night food choice. The most popular sandwich is the hamburger and today we can find a wide variety of choices. Writing in his Le Guide Culinaire Auguste Escoffier describes just two types of sandwiches: those with two slices of buttered bread…covering a slice of ham or tongue, etc. and the kind served at elaborate functions, which are much smaller, and in which the sandwich product is diced.

Poultry: Cutting and Cooking

In this course the student will review and understand the structure and composition of poultry. Also covered are the steps to identify the various kinds and classes of poultry, and to grasp the purchase specifications appropriate for the restaurant needs. Significantly the student will learn how to fabricate a whole chicken. Of great importance will be the safety and sanitation practices that apply to poultry.

 

Introduction to Meat: Beef

This course will provide an overview of meat and beef and its use in foodservice operations. You will be introduced to primal and sub-primal cuts and their eventual market forms used in kitchens. By the conclusion of this course students will be very familiar with the various cuts and what cooking application is appropriate for each and the traditional presentation used.

Pork: Braise and Roast

This course will cover two cooking methods as they relate to pork; braising and roasting. You will learn how some cuts of pork that may be more inexpensive can benefit from the braising method, and also learn proper roasting techniques and which cuts of pork are appropriate for that cooking method.

Lamb: Grill and Broil

This course will cover lamb and two cooking techniques that work very well with this protein, grilling and broiling. Students will learn how to prepare flavorful lamb from using these direct heat methods that will result in a moist and flavorful product.

Health and Wellness and Specialized Diets

This course will provide the professional culinarian knowledge on how to adapt a recipe to provide a healthier result, and how to select recipes that are inherently nutritionally dense, esthetically pleasing, and delicious to eat. An important concept presented in this course is that there are substitutes for preparing foods without heavy-handed salt, fat and sugar, since these ingredients make it easy to cook foods that are liked by the general public.

 

Fish: Poach and Sauté

In this course will be the presentation of flat and round fish and two excellent cooking methods for preparing this delicate protein. Classic poaching fundamentals which impart great flavor will be discussed along with proper sauté techniques, as well as which fish are appropriate for both of these cooking methods.

Shellfish: Bake and Broil

During this course you will observe how to select the proper variety of shellfish for either baking or broiling. One of the keys to success in culinary arts is knowing how to use a variety of cooking methods with different food items. In this course you will learn how to apply that knowledge when preparing clams, oysters, lobster, crab and shrimp.

Recipe Conversion

Kitchen math and recipe conversions are very important elements of cooking. Without accurate measurements recipes would not turnout and if we couldn’t convert a recipe to accommodate an increase or decrease in the amount of product needed we wouldn’t be in business. The difference between chefs that understand and control cost and those chefs that can’t control cost is success. In this unit we will help you understand the basic concepts in kitchen math and provide you with the skills to convert recipes, cost out a recipe and determine selling price.

Life Skills and Career Development

The ability to effectively communicate and manage interpersonal relations is central to a professional culinarian. The course will also cover the aspects of résumé writing and the culinary mentor evaluation of your completed Escoffier ePortfolio, thereby enabling you to reach your true potential personally and professionally.

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