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Module 6: Basic Techniques & Modern Conveniences Introduction

Stocks, soups and sauces are the foundation of many types of cuisines across the world. Here’s a basic introduction to these three dish bases.


Stocks are rich, flavourful liquids used as a base for soups, sauces and other dishes. Usually produced by simmering meat, fish or poultry flesh and bones, vegetables and seasoning with liquid, there are several types of stocks:

  • Brown stock – Beef or veal bones in lightly oiled roasting pan and browned in an oven.
  • White stock – Simmered and un-browned veal or beef bones, to provide more delicate flavours.
  • Chicken stock – Sometimes referred to as white stock, it is prepared by simmering chicken bones with mirepoix and seasonings.
  • Fish stock – Uses bones, heads, skin and trimmings from lean, white deep-sea fish.


Soups should be prepared with high quality ingredients, using the right techniques. Gelatine from boiled bones provide the “body”, but thickening agents such as meat, fish, poultry or vegetables can serve as alternatives. There are 2 categories of soups:

1. Clear soups
Clear soups are simple, and have no solid ingredients. Some examples are:

  • Broth – A flavour-packed liquid that is a by-product of simmered meat or vegetables.
  • Vegetable soup – Made from clear seasoned stock or broth with 1 or 2 types of vegetables.
  • Consomme – A rich, flavourful stock or broth made perfectly clear and transparent.

2. Thick soups
Thick soups are opaque and thickened by adding a thickening agent such as roux with a combination of one or more pureed ingredients to provide a heavier consistency to create:

  • Cream soups – Liquid thickened with roux or other thickening agents with milk or cream.
  • Purees – Naturally thickened by one or more pureed ingredients or based on starchy ingredients.
  • Chowders – Hearty American soups made from fish, shellfish or vegetables.
  • Potage – Thick hearty soups usually comprising of meats or vegetables cooked in a liquid until they form a thick mixture.


Sauces increase flavour and palatability, or enhance the appearance, nutritional value and moisture to food. Enhance the finished product with the following sauce thickeners:

  • Slack/brown roux – Prepare by using more fat than flour to thicken demi-glace sauces.
  • Lean/white roux – Made with more flour than fat and blended with milk to create béchamel sauce or blended with meat stock to create velouté.
  • Egg – Uses the whole egg as the whites hold moisture loosely for a creamy consistency and the yolk provides more thickening power.
  • Starch – Uses starch made from waxy maize, corn, potato, rice or arrowroot. Gelatinisation occurs in hot water to create a thickener.

Types of sauces

  • Brown sauce – Prepared with mirepoix, fat and flour to create a tan-coloured sauce.
  • Velouté sauce – Prepared from white stock and blonde roux for use as a base for cream soups and vegetarian sauces.
  • Béchamel sauce – Prepared with a mixture of flour, butter and milk from a meat base.
  • Cream sauce – Prepared with rich cream or milk base to produce a white sauce.

Congratulations, you’ve completed the Soups, Stocks & Sauces topic!

Continue on to the next topic, pick a related topic from the Basic Techniques & Modern Conveniences module, or go back to the Chefmanship Academy modules page.

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