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Module 5: Principles of Food Preparation

1. Menu

A menu helps you plan, organise, operate and control the kitchen. It serves as a mirror of your establishment. Here are some of the types of menus:

A la carte – This is when there are separately-priced items on the menu.

Table d’Hote – This is a single-priced complete meal or a group of items.

Du Jour – Means “of the day”. Examples are fish specials or soup of the day. This is normally given with the a la carte menu.

Limited – Usually for quick service restaurants and cafés where the selections are few.

Cyclical – Institutional foodservice menu that’s offered and repeated for a certain period ranging from 7 to 14 days.

California – Offers a wide range of choices. Items are printed on a menu folder and are available the whole day.

Developing the menu

Here are some tips on how to ensure your menu stays appealing.

  • Redesign your menu regularly to keep up with the times.
  • Include comfort food and traditional or ethnic food.
  • Make your menu more appealing and impactful by getting creative.
  • Keep it delicious and play with flavours.
  • Make it healthy and nutritious.
  • Go for variety.
  • Provide value for money, as good food need not be expensive.

2. Methods

Food preparation methods should be standardised to ensure safety, consistency and quality. Observe appropriate cooking principles and methods in composing the dish. For a more complete discussion, read the module Basic Techniques & Modern Conveniences.

Basic cooking methods

There are 2 basic cooking methods: Moist heat and dry heat.

Moist heat

This method uses liquids to cook food and includes the following methods:

  • Blanching
  • Poaching
  • Boiling
  • Simmering
  • Steaming
  • Braising
  • Stewing

Dry heat

This method uses direct or indirect heat to cook food and includes the following methods:

  • Baking
  • Broiling
  • Grilling
  • Griddling
  • Pan-broiling

Dry heat cooking also uses fats such as oil to prepare food in the following ways:

  • Pan-frying
  • Sautéing
  • Deep-frying

3. Minutes

Prepare and serve food by observing the time to achieve quality and work efficiency. Set time standards for the following stages:

  1. Receiving – Weigh, inspect and store food immediately.
  2. Storing – Observe shelf life, stock rotation or First In, First Out system when storing raw or cooked food.
  3. Issuing – Set a schedule for issuance of goods.
  4. Cooking/reheating – Heat food at the right internal temperature.
  5. Food preparation/serving – Handle food at the shortest possible time to maintain quality and temperature.

Congratulations, you’ve completed the 3 Ms of an Outstanding Kitchen & Menu topic!

Continue on to the next topic, pick a related topic from the Principles of Food Preparation module, or go back to the Chefmanship Academy modules page.

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