Module 2



In this second module, you will be able to discover a bit more about the most general culinary techniques. This way, you will know the theoretical background around these techniques and how to implement them in different culinary elaborations. 

Culinary techniques are the different methods that humans have developed to process food, either for cooking or preserving. All cultures around the world have developed a wide variety of culinary techniques. Professional cooks must master the most essential cooking techniques, such as smoking, roasting, fermenting, frying, boiling, and stewing.

When a food is cooked, i.e. when heat is applied to it, different beneficial changes occur. On the one hand, there is an improvement in organoleptic properties (taste, aroma, texture, visual appearance…) and, in the case of meat and other hard products, it makes them more tender, so that the food is tastier and chewier. On the other hand, there are a series of chemical changes in the nutrients (a kind of pre-digestion), which helps to better assimilate the nutritional intake, as well as the elimination of pathogens (or even toxicity), which prolongs the shelf life and prevents diseases.

In addition, you will be able to enjoy an explanatory video so that you can see in a practical way how these techniques should be made and what precautions should be considered. This module also includes a vocabulary sheet that will be very useful in the future.

Finally, there is a test that you will have to take to find out if you have learnt this lesson well or if, on the contrary, you need to revise it a little more. 

Have fun with this module and enjoy the process!

Module 2

Principles of Cooking

Cooking can be defined as the transfer of energy from a heat source to a food. The transferred energy alters the food’s molecular structure, changing its texture, flavour, aroma, and appearance. Cooking generally makes food taste better and it destroys undesirable bacteria and other harmful microorganisms making foods easier to be ingested and digested. For successful cooking one must understand the ways in which the heat is transferred: conduction, convection, and radiation. One should comprehend what the application of heat does to proteins, sugars, starches, water, and fats in foods. The most important is to understand the cooking methods used to transfer heat: broiling, poaching, simmering, boiling, steaming, braising, stewing and the combined cooking methods as well.

How to Cook with Heat

When heat is applied during cooking, it triggers a series of chemical and physical changes in various food components. These changes play a crucial role in transforming raw ingredients into the delicious dishes we enjoy. Let’s delve into how heat affects different food constituents:


Heat causes proteins to denature, which means their complex three-dimensional structure unravels. As a result, the protein chains lose their original arrangement and form new bonds with each other, leading to the firming and coagulation of proteins. This is especially noticeable in meats, where the application of heat causes muscle fibres to contract and solidify, resulting in a change in texture and colour.


Starches, present in foods like potatoes and grains, undergo gelatinisation upon heating. This involves the absorption of water, swelling of starch granules, and subsequent thickening of the mixture. This process is responsible for the transformation of raw dough into bread, the thickening of sauces, and the creaminess of cooked rice or pasta.


 When subjected to heat, sugars undergo caramelisation and the Maillard reaction. Caramelisation involves the breakdown of sugars at high temperatures, resulting in the characteristic browning and rich flavour in foods like caramel sauces and roasted vegetables. The Maillard reaction contributes to the appealing aroma, taste, and colour of cooked foods, such as the crust on baked goods and the seared surface of meats. The Maillard reaction, a browning process of sugar breaking down into presence of protein, occurs at higher temperatures, enhancing flavour and creating a desirable crust on grilled or roasted foods.


Fat is a source of energy for the plant or animal in which it is stored. Fats are smooth and greasy substances, insoluble in water. Their aggregate form varies from very firm to liquid. Oils are fats that remain liquid at room temperature. Heating fats leads to their melting and breaking down into glycerol and fatty acids. Fats will not evaporate. This process, known as lipid oxidation, can result in the development of off-flavours and rancidity if the fats are exposed to excessive heat or air. However, controlled heating can enhance flavours and textures, as in sautéed or fried foods where fats play a vital role in achieving crispiness and flavour transfer.


Heat causes water molecules to gain energy and evaporate, leading to the moisture loss commonly observed during cooking. This can result in concentration of flavours and changes in texture. On the other hand, some cooking methods involve the incorporation of water into foods, as in boiling or steaming, which can help soften and cook ingredients evenly.

In conclusion, the effects of heat on different food components are fundamental to the culinary world. Understanding these changes enables cooks to manipulate ingredients to create a wide range of flavours, textures, and appearances in dishes. Through denaturation, gelatinisation, caramelisation, and other processes, heat turns raw ingredients into delectable meals that satisfy our senses.

Culinary Techniques and their Raw Materials


Culinary techniques form the fundaments of every cuisine, shaping the textures, flavours, and presentations that delight the consumers’ palates. These techniques are rooted in a deep understanding of the principles of cooking, and they serve as a foundation for chefs to create a wide array of dishes. From blanching to stewing, each technique brings a unique touch to ingredients, ensuring their optimal taste and texture. Let's delve into the world of culinary techniques as outlined in "Cuisine de Référence," exploring their methods, temperature ranges, and raw material applications.

1. Blanching:

Blanching is short precooking for different reasons for example: to remove strong flavours of certain vegetables, to remove impurities from bones, to shorten cooking times. It involves briefly immersing raw materials, such as vegetables or fruits, in boiling salted or plane water before rapidly cooling them in ice water, or in oil at a temperature of 130°C, or in a steamer or combi steamer using a steam program.  This technique preserves colour, texture, and flavour. Temperature Range: 80-150°C. Common Raw Materials: Asparagus, broccoli, and tomatoes. 

2. Poaching:

Poaching is an extremely gentle cooking method for delicate ingredients, like eggs or fish, in barely simmering liquid. Only very tender foods can be poached. This maintains tenderness while infusing flavours. Poaching can be done in a little liquid (wine or stock), in a lot of liquid (stock or water), in a water bath, with constant whisking, in a water bath, without movement, in new style steaming apparatus which regulates the temperature. Temperature Range: 65-80°C. Common Raw Materials: Eggs, salmon, and chicken breasts.

3. Boiling:

Boiling is a moist heat cooking method that uses the process of convection to transfer heat from a liquid to a food. involves cooking below boiling point, e.g., meat, or at boiling point, e.g., pasta products. Boiling can be started off in cold water, can be started off in hot water, can be done just under boiling point (simmering), at boiling point, covered and uncovered. The boiling ingredients must be fully submerged while boiling. It's ideal for pasta, potatoes, and tough meat. Temperature Range: 100°C. Common Raw Materials: Pasta, potatoes, grains, chicken, lower quality meat cuts.

4. Steaming:

Steaming is a moist-heat cooking method that uses the process of convection to transfer heat from the steam to the food being cooked. It is commonly associated with tender, delicately flavoured foods, such as fish and vegetables, which do not require long cooking times. Steaming tends to enhance a food’s natural flavour and helps retain its nutrients. Properly steamed food should be moist and tender.  Additional flavour can be introduced by adding wine, stock, aromatics, spices, or herbs to the liquid used as the steaming medium. Food is usually placed in a basket or rack above a boiling liquid. The food shouldn’t touch the liquid and should be positioned so that steam can circulate around it.  Steaming liquid can also be used to make a sauce to be served with steamed food. Another type of steaming is using a convection steamer that uses pressurised steam to cook food quickly in an enclosed chamber. It's great for vegetables and seafood. Temperature Range: 85-100°C. Common Raw Materials: Broccoli, clams, and dumplings.

5. Deep-frying:

Deep-frying is a dry heat cooking method that uses conduction and convection to transfer heat to food submerged in hot fat. Although conceptually like boiling, deep-frying is not a moist-heat cooking method because the liquid fat contains no water. A key deference between boiling and deep-frying is the temperature of the cooking medium. The boiling point 100°C, is the hottest temperature at which food can be cooked in water. With deep-frying, temperatures up to 200°C are used and therefore surface sugars caramelise quickly. When deep-frying one should use only oils that have a high smoke point.  submerges ingredients in hot oil, creating crispiness. Temperature Range: 160-190°C. Common Raw Materials: French fries, breaded food, battered food, tempura, and doughnuts.

6. Pan-Frying:

Pan-frying is for less fibrous foods of attender structure. It sears ingredients on a hot pan with oil. Pan-frying can be done in a little heated fat, in a sauteuse, in a sautoir, in a frying pan or on a griddle. It's suitable for meats and fish. Temperature Range: 120-180°C. Common Raw Materials: Chicken breast, fish fillets, and pork chops.

7. Grilling:

Grilling is a dry-heat cooking method using a heat source located beneath the cooking surface. Grills may be electric or gas, or they can burn wood or charcoal, which will add a smoky flavour to the food. One must pay special attention that the degree of heat is adapted to each piece of food. The larger the piece, the quicker the pores should be sealed. Once the pores are sealed it is recommended to reduce the heat so it can penetrate the food. This cooking method easily exposes ingredients to direct heat, enhancing flavours and creating grill marks. Temperature Range: 150-300°C. Common Raw Materials: Steak, vegetables, and minced meat.

8. Gratinating:

Gratinating involves browning the top layer of a dish, often with breadcrumbs and cheese. Some vegetables, meats, and fish in thin slices from their raw state can be gratinated, but generally are gratinated only cooked foods. Gratinating obtains a nice colour and pronounced taste by using one or more of the following ingredients: cheese, breadcrumbs, cream, butter, and egg yolk (hollandaise), liaison, egg mixture and sugar for sweet dishes. This cooking method requires the utilisation of salamander at high temperature or oven using very high-top heat.  Temperature Range: 180-280°C. Cooked foods: Potatoes, pasta, and casseroles.

9. Baking:

Baking is a cooking method that involves cooking food using dry heat without the addition off at or liquid (except the greasing of baking trays to prevent sticking) in an enclosed space. Baking is done in a conventional oven, on trays or grids, in porcelain, glass or metal moulds; it can be done in convection oven on special trays or in a combi steamer using the hot air program. It is widely used to prepare a wide variety of dishes, including fish, fruits, vegetables, starches, breads, and pastry items. Baking relies on the even distribution of heat around the food item, resulting in a golden-brown crust, tender interior, and a delicious aroma. Temperature Range: 120-300°C. Common Raw Materials: Fish, breads, fruits, vegetables, cakes, and pastries.

10. Roasting:

 Roasting is totally the same cooking method as baking just applied for meats and poultry. While roasting one should always start off using high heat to form a crust, then continue roasting at reduced heat, basting occasionally. Liquid is never added during the roasting process. The roast is allowed to rest in a hot place before carving, this will prevent the loss of meat juices during carving. Roasting is done on a spit, with frequent basting, in the oven, basting regularly, in the convection oven, always basting regularly. Temperature Range: 150-270°C. Common Raw Materials: Turkey, beef roast, and whole chicken.

11. Braising:

Braising is a combined cooking method initially using fat and then liquid. It involves slow cooking of lean tough cuts of meats, previously larded, rendering them tender. Braising is ideal for red meats, fish, vegetables, and poultry. White meats are glazed beforehand. All braised foods are covered to 1/4 or 1/3 of their height with stock and cooked covered in the oven. Temperature Range: 90-160°C. Common Raw Materials: Beef brisket, lamb shanks, and short ribs. How to braise?

  1. Red meat is sealed very well, vegetables are added as well as tomatoes and deglazed with red wine. The meat is covered to ¼ of its height with stock and cooked in the oven, basting regularly. The braising pan is the ideal cooking equipment.
  2. Fish are braised in a fish kettle in which a Matignon is sauteed. The fish is placed on top of a buttered perforated tray, which allows it to be removed easily. White wine is used as a liquid and fish stock up to a maximum of 1/3 of the height of the food to be braised. The cooking process is continued with frequent basting.
  3. For vegetables such as fennel, Belgian endives, etc. a Matignon or onions are sauteed, if necessary, bacon rind is added e.g., for red cabbage. The trimmed vegetables are added, previously blanched, if possible, afterwards veal stock is added to 1/3 of the height of the food. It is strongly recommended to cover white vegetables with grease proof or buttered paper to prevent them from browning.
12. Glazing:

Glazing coats ingredients with a glossy finish, often using sauces or sugar. Vegetables, poultry, and white meats can be glazed.

How to glaze? 

  1. First the pores of the meats are sealed very well, a mirepoix is sauteed, deglazed with white wine and an appropriate stock is added to 1/6 of the height of the food. It is cooked covered in the oven with frequent basting. The cover is removed 30 minutes before the cooking is finished and basted with the concentrated stock. This will give a glaze to the meat, hence its name “glazing”.
  2. Vegetables are first stewed or steamed and glazed at the end with stock obtained of with and added stock. For vegetables a sauteuse is the ideal utensil for this cooking process.

Temperature Range: Variable (depends on glaze). Common Raw Materials: Carrots, ham, and pastries.

13. Casseroling:

Casseroling is a combination of stewing and roasting. For this process are only used tender meat pieces. The cooking process starts at a temperature of 150°C in a braising pan, or sautoir, or casserole, covered with lid. Towards the end the cover is removed, and the temperature is increased to 180°C, allowing the food to obtain a light brown colour. Casseroling is often used for vegetables and sauces. Temperature Range: 120-180°C. Common Raw Materials: Beef stew, chicken casserole, and bean dishes.

14. Stewing:

Stewing is a combined cooking method using fat at the beginning and continuing with liquid during the second part of the cooking process. The cooking starts with sauteing the foods with a fatty substance, if necessary, onions are added (e.g., goulash) and other vegetables, an appropriate amount of liquid is added (stock, wine) and the food is stewed slowly, covered. An attention must be paid to not to add too much liquid and the proper cooking utensils with appropriate covers to be used for this cooking method. Vegetables, meats, mushrooms, and fruits can be stewed Temperature Range: 90-160°C. Common Raw Materials: Stews, soups, and curries.

By mastering these foundational culinary techniques, chefs can transform raw materials into exquisite dishes that showcase the artistry and science of cooking.

15. Fermentation:

Fermentation is a biochemical process widely employed in gastronomy for preserving and enhancing the flavour of various foods. This natural process involves the conversion of sugars into alcohol or organic acids by microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, or moulds. Fermented foods are known for their unique and often tangy flavours. Common examples include yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread. Fermentation not only extends the shelf life of these foods but also contributes to their distinct taste profiles, making them staples in many culinary traditions around the world.

How to Cook in Different Environments

Having the appropriate tools and equipment for certain task may mean the difference between a job well done and one done carelessly, incorrectly, or even dangerously. This section introduces most of the tools and equipment typically used in a professional kitchen. Items are divided into categories according to their function: hand tools, knives, measuring and portioning devices, cookware, strainers and sieves, processing equipment and safety equipment.

Common Cookware

Pots: pots are large round vessels with straight sides and two loop handles. They are available in a range of sizes based on volume, they are used on the stove top for making stocks or soups, or for boiling or simmering foods, particularly where rapid evaporation is not desired. Pots are available with flat or fitted lids.

Woks: originally used to prepare Asian foods, woks are now found in many professional kitchens. Their round bottoms and curved sides diffuse heat and make it easy to toss or stir contents. Their large domed lids retain heat for steaming vegetables. Woks are Useful for quickly sauteing strips of meat simmering whole fish or deep-frying appetizers.

Hotel pans: hotel pans (also known as steam table pans) are rectangular stainless-steel pans designed to hold food for service in steam tables. Hotel pans are also used for baking, roasting or poaching inside an oven. Perforated pans useful for draining, steaming, or icing down foods are also available.

Chinois and China Cap: both, the chinois and China cap, are cone-shaped metal strainers. The conical shape allows liquids to filter through small openings. The body of a chinois is made from a very fine mesh screen, while a China cap has a perforated metal body. Both are used for straining stocks and sauces, with the chinois being particularly useful for consommé. A China cap an also be used with a pestle to puree soft foods.

Skimmer and Spider: the skimmer and spider are long-handled tools used to remove foods or impurities from liquids. The flat perforated disc of a skimmer is used for skimming stocks removing foods from soups or stocks. The spider has a finer mesh disk which makes it better for retrieving items from hot fat.

Mandolin: a mandolin is a manually operated slicer made of stainless steel with adjustable slicing blades. It is used to make julienne and waffle-cut slices. Its narrow, rectangular body sits on the work counter at a 45-degree angle. Foods are passed against a blade to obtain uniform slices. It is useful for slicing small quantities of fruits and vegetables when using a large electric slicer would be unwarranted. To avoid injury always use a hand guard or steel glove when using a mandolin.

Stove tops

Commercial stove tops or ranges are robust cooking appliances designed for high-capacity cooking in professional kitchens. These stove tops typically feature durable materials, multiple burners, and powerful heating elements to accommodate simultaneous cooking of various dishes. They are commonly used in restaurants, hotels, and other food service establishments, where efficiency, durability, and the ability to handle large cooking volumes are essential. Stove tops have one or more burners powered by gas or electricity. The burners may be open or covered with a cast-iron or steel plate. Open burners supply quick, direct heat that is easy to regulate. A steel plate, known as flat top, supplies even but less intense heat. Although it takes longer to heat than a burner, the flat top supports heavier weights and makes a larger area available for cooking.  Many stoves include both flat tops and open burner arrangements.

Griddles: are similar to flat tops except they are made of thinner metal plate foods are usually cooked directly on the griddle’s surface and not in pots or pans which can nick or scratch the surface. The surface should be properly cleaned and conditioned after each use. Griddles are popular for short order and fast-food type operations.

Ovens: an oven is an enclosed space where food is cooked by being surrounded with hot dry air. Come back conventional ovens are often located beneath the stove top. They have a heating element located at the unit bottom for floor, and pans are placed on adjustable wire racks inside the oven’s cavity. Convection ovens use internal fans to circulate the hot air. Because convection ovens cook foods more quickly, temperatures may need to be reduced by 10°C to 20°C from those recommended for conventional ovens. Convection ovens are almost always freestanding units powered by either gas or electricity.

Deep-Fat Fryers: deep fat fryers are used to cook foods in a large amount of hot fat. Fryers are sized by the amount of fat they hold. Fryers can be either gas or electric and are thermostatically controlled for temperatures between 90°C and 200°C.


Study Sheets

Dry-Heat Cooking Methods

Dry heat cooking methods are culinary techniques that use direct heat without the presence of moisture. These methods are great for creating a crispy exterior, browning, and bringing out natural flavours in food. The following are dry heat cooking methods: Grilling, Roasting, Poêléing, Baking, Sautéing, Pan-Frying, and Deep Frying. Dry heat cooking methods are versatile and can give your dishes a range of textures and flavours. They’re all about direct heat, making them great for achieving that satisfying crunch and delicious browning on your favourite foods. Just remember to keep an eye on cooking times and temperatures to get the best results.

Moist-heat Cooking Methods
Moist heat cooking methods are those using water or steam. They are poaching, simmering, boiling, and steaming. Moist-heat cooking methods are used to tenderise and emphasise the natural flavours of food.
Cooking in Fat Medium
Any fat heated to cook food can be described as a medium, whether it’s the peanut oil in which chicken is fried, the butter used for sauteing spring vegetables, or the olive oil in which fish can be poached. Fat makes foods juicy and tender. It adds flavour and texture to what is cooked. Cooking in fat is called frying. If the amount of fat is small the cooking method is called sauteing or pan-frying. To deep-fry food, the fat has to be heated to a temperature between 160°C and 190°C. The fat must be hot enough to quickly seal the surface of the food so that it doesn’t become too greasy, yet it shouldn’t be so hot that the food’s surface burns before the interior is cooked.
Combination Cooking Methods
Some cooking methods employ both dry heat and moist heat cooking techniques. The two principal combination methods are braising and stewing. In both methods, the first step is usually to brown the main item using dry heat. The second step is to complete cooking by simmering the food in a liquid. Combination methods are often used for less tender but flavourful cuts of meat as well as for poultry and some vegetables.

Cooking in Air Medium

Cooking in Water or another Liquid Medium

Cooking in Fat Medium

Cooking in Steam Medium



True or False

Multiple Choice

Vocabulary Sheet

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.Project Number – 2022-1-NO01-KA220-ADU-000089795