If you’re a newcomer to the kitchen, you might scoff at sauces. You know, that starchy liquid that other chefs like to drizzle over their finished dish? Sometimes they’re even used as decorative elements on the plate. So how important can they be?
As it turns out, pretty darn important. The truth is that sauces are like little keys that help to unlock the secret potential of ingredients. Imagine a world where steak is served completely plain without a creamy béarnaise or an earthy peppercorn sauce to liven it up; it’s like watching a movie with no sound on. In fact, it’s so important that traditional French kitchens would employ one chef (called a saucier) to do nothing else but just make sauces.
Sauce are thickened liquids that enhance and complement ingredients through flavour, texture and moisture, and can also make a dish look more visually appealing
Sauce can be served cold (mayonnaise), lukewarm (pesto), or warm (Béchamel), and can even be savoury or sweet. At its very base, sauces should complement the flavours of the main ingredient, as well as its texture and cooking method.
Chefs trained in Western cuisine would immediately be familiar with the fundamental French sauces, more affectionately known as the 5 Mother Sauces.
Here’s a quick guide to your leading sauces: