At the very core of our work is our Culinary Arts program, which provides hands on vocational training in the food service industry to participants of The Doe Fund’s award-winning Ready, Willing & Able program. Trainees gain a comprehensive education in the culinary arts that includes product identification, knife skills, cooking essentials, and a history of the industry.
In order to offer our readers a window into this exciting world, we are pleased to introduce Food for Thought Friday, a weekly column that will outline the culinary fundamentals taught in our program. This week, we’ll be covering few introductory techniques.
Blanching– A cooking process where vegetables are immersed in boiling water and removed after a brief interval (around 2 minutes depending on the vegetable). The food is then quickly placed into ice water or cold running water. The process effectively “shocks” or refreshes the food and helps preserve its freshness. Blanching is an especially effective method to preserve vegetables.
Steaming- A method of cooking using steam. This process works by boiling water, causing it to vaporize into steam. The heat from the steam created cooks the food, which is kept separate from the boiling water (usually in a food steamer) but has direct contact with the steam.
Braising- A combination method for cooking that uses both moist and dry heats. Typically, food is first seared at a high temperature, and then finished in a covered pot at a lower temperature while sitting in a liquid such as a broth or base
Roasting- A dry heat cooking method in which hot air envelops food, cooking it evenly on all sides. For this process, temperatures of at least 300 degrees are created from an open flame, oven, or another heat source. It can also enhance flavor through caramelization and charring on the surface of the food.