Tag Archives: Gastronomy

Larder, Garde Manger, Cold kitchen

          The term Garde Manger originally identified a storage area. Preserved foods such as: Hams, sausages, bacon, cheese, etc. were held in this area, cold foods for Banquets and Buffets are arranged here. Over the years this term evolved to mean more than just a storage area. It now, also indicates a station in the professional kitchen, responsible for preparing Cold foods, Buffets, Decorative pieces, etc. and it’s Chefs who prepare them.

           Definition: The Larder is a department set aside for the storage of all perishable foods both raw and cooked and is also used for processing and preparation of all cold items served to the.

         Functions: The Larder or Garde Manger or Cold Kitchen is a department in the professional kitchen for:

  1. The storage of all perishable raw food items which needs a storage temperature of minus-18 degree C.
  2. The storage of all prepared and cooked items like cold appetizers, cold meats, cold sauces, salads etc. and all cold items found on the Menu.
  3. In order for the Larder to function properly it is essential that the Larder is separate from the hot Kitchen and is located in a cool place but not very far. It must be well lit, airy and well ventilated; it must be sufficiently spacious for staff to carry out their duties in a hygienic and efficient manner. And it must be equipped with the necessary fittings, plant and machinery, tools, etc. in accordance with the and / or quality of work.

Sub-Sections of the Larder Kitchen
           Its main responsibility is to cater to the requirements of the Hot Kitchen for raw materials such as fish fillets, steaks, etc, and to supply the finished products as required by the Room Service, Buffets, Banquets, etc, for all cold dishes.
            The Sections of the Larder can be divided depending on the volume of work into:-


                      The Area which processes raw materials like meat, fish, etc, is the Butchery and the Fish Mongery. Basic cuts are produced, marinated, roasted, smoked, or poached over here. The portion or cuts or joints are prepared according to the demands from the different outlets with- in the hotel.

The following products are produced:-

1.       Gelatine products:

a.       Aspic

b.      Mouses, Mousseline

c.       Colees

d.      Chaufroid sauces

e.       Cold soups

2.      Marinated Products:

a.       Salads

b.      Brines and Cures

c.       Pickled products

d.      Smoked Products

3.      Forcemeats for Galantines, Pâtés, Sausages, Terrines, Quenelles, Timbales, Roulades, etc.

4.      Piece Montee or Centerpieces or Non-Edible Displays:

a.       Ice carvings

b.      Tallow sculpture

c.       Salt dough sculpture

d.      Fruit and vegetable displays

e.       Pastillage

f.        jelly logos

g.       Thermocol displays

5.       Cold Hors d’oeuvres

6.      Sandwiches

7.       Specialty items such as, Caviar, Oysters, Snails, Foe gras, cheese, etc.


Large or heavy duty equipment

1) Buffalo Chopper or bowl chopper
2) Mincing machine
3) Bone saw machine
4) Gravity slicer or meat slicer
5) Vegetable processor
6) Dough mixer
7) Vacuum packing machine
8) Sandwich counter
9) Hanging rail system.
10) Sausage stuffer
11) Smoking machines
12) Grinding machine
13) Refrigerator
14) Walk in
15) Steel work tables
16) Weighing scale
17) Salamander
18) Butcher
s blocks
19) Fish kettle
20) Steam kettle

Tools and small equipment

1) Zester
2) Channeller
3) Can and bottle openers
4) Corer
5) Pitters
6) Egg slicer
7) Mandolin slicer
8) Butcher
s chopper and cleavers
9) Boning knife
10) Filleting knife
11) Oyster knife
12) Buntz knife or wavy knife
13) Cheese knife
14) Mezzaluna or mincing knife
15) Sieves
16) Chinois
17) Pie moulds
18) Terrine moulds
19) Trauchelard
20) Larding needles
21) Trussing needles
22) Perissienne scoops
23) Steak hammer
24) Meat thermometers
25) Brining syringe & pump

Duties and responsibilities of the Chef Garde Manger:
1) He is responsible directly to the Chef de Cuisine.
2) He is responsible for all perishable and frozen foods stored in the Larder.
3) He is responsible for all cold foods that are issued from the Larder.
4) He is responsible for supplying different cuts, joints, etc. of meat and fish as required by the outlets.
5) He is responsible for all the staff in the Larder and their Training.
6) He is responsible for Hygiene in the larder as per H.A.C.C.P. standards.
7) He is responsible for maintaining Larder control, like checking for quality and quantity, storing, keeping records of issues, daily stock sheets, etc.
8) He is responsible for controlling pilferage.

Essentials of Larder Control:
1) All invoices to be checked for quality and quantity against goods delivered to the Larder.
2) To ensure that all goods received must be stored at the right place and at the right temperature.
3) Portion control while pre-preparation must be carried out to ensure „yield
and required number of portions.
4) Stock of food both raw and cooked must be regularly turned over. (FIFO).
5) Do not over stock.
6) Food items stored must be protected from vermin and pest.
7) Proper record of issues from the Larder both raw and cooked.
8) A daily stock / consumption sheet to be maintained.
9) Ensure complete hygienic standards are followed as per H.A.C.C.P.
10) Precautions must be taken to avoid pilferage.


Brines and cures or salting is a method of preserving food and has been practiced since antiquity. Probably the first preserved foods may have come about by accident- fish drying on the boats or ships in the middle of the sea, dried for future use.




The salt most commonly used the World over is the common salt or Sodium Chloride. Salt changes foods, by drawing out water, blood and other impurities. In doing so, it preserves them, making them less susceptible to spoilage and rot.

The important role played by salt is:-

  • OSMOSIS– is the movement of water through a semi-permeable membrane, such as the cell walls of plant and animal, in order to equalize the concentrations of a solute (typically salt) on both sides of the membrane. This is known as osmotic pressure. Plant and animal cells contain relatively weak solutions of natural salts. Bacteria and other micro nutrients thrive in such solutions, drawing in nutrients through the cell walls. If however these cell walls are exposed to a strong salt solution the outward osmotic pressure created by the strong solution prevents them from feeding and thus from reproduction, there by their activity is inhibited and decay is prevented.
  • DEHYDRATION: The presence of „free‟ water is one of the indicators of a food’s relative susceptibility to spoilage through microbial action. In order to increase the shelf life it is important to remove as much excess water as possible. Salt has a dehydrating effect on foods by attracting the free water and making it unavailable to microbes. Exposure to air or heat for controlled periods allows the water to evaporate, reducing the overall volume and weight of the food.
  • DEHYDRATION: The presence of „free‟ water is one of the indicators of a food’s relative susceptibility to spoilage through microbial action. In order to increase the shelf life it is important to remove as much excess water as possible. Salt has a dehydrating effect on foods by attracting the free water and making it unavailable to microbes. Exposure to air or heat for controlled periods allows the water to evaporate, reducing the overall volume and weight of the food.
  • FERMENTATION: Decay in foods is also caused by enzymes naturally present in foodstuff as well as by living micro-organisms. Salt stops all enzymatic action by upsetting the electrical balance of the liquid in which they act. The strength of the salt solution is important. Some micro-organism can tolerate strong solutions of salt. Among these are certain lactic acid producing bacteria, which, rather causing decay, bring about beneficial fermentations. For this reason just the right amount of salt is used so as to kill all harmful pathogens and allowing these to grow. The lactic acid produced by these bacteria, itself safeguards it from bad bacteria. Eventually the acid becomes so concentrated that even these bacteria die and fermentation stops ant the food keeps, however the foods flavour is changed.
  • DENATURING PROTIENS: salt inevitably changes the structure of proteins in food. Smooth foods become grainy and firm foods may soften.



For thousands of years humans have been eating meat cured with unrefined salt. Two special mixtures are generally used for curing purposes:

Tinted Cure Mix (T.C.M.) or Pink Cure or Prague Powder

Prague Powder is a commercially-sold salt mixture used in preserving meat. It is a generic term, not a trademarked name. The mixture is sold dyed pink to avoid confusion in homes with table salt.

The mixture contains nitrites to give meat its pink colour, and prevent botulism. The nitrites break down into nitric oxide and then dissipate. Ultimately, what is produced in the meat is nitric oxide, which combines with myoglobin protein to give a pleasing red or pink colour to the meat.


Two versions of Prague Powder are sold –


Prague powder #1

Prague powder #1 is 1 part (6.25%) sodium nitrite to 15 parts (93.75%) salt, plus anti-caking elements.

It is used for all curing other than dry cure. You use 1 teaspoon for 5 pounds (2 kg) of meat, or 100g per 100 pounds (45 kg), and mix it with cold water to use.

Prague powder #2

Per pound (16 oz) (450g) of Prague powder #2, there is 1 oz (6.25%) sodium nitrite, .64 oz (4%) sodium nitrate, 14.36 oz (89.75 %) salt, and anti-caking elements. It is mostly for dry curing (e.g. products that require no cooking, refrigeration or smoking.) These meat products typically take a longer time to cure. You mix with cold water to use, using 1 teaspoon for 5 pounds (2 kg) of meat, or 100g per 100 pounds (45 kg).



Ordinary white sugar and other forms of sugar, including corn syrup, honey, and maple sugar is used in some cures. Using less sweet forms of sugar, such as corn syrup and dextrose, provides the advantage of sugar without adding too much sweetness.

Sweeteners are used for:-

  • Overcoming the harshness of salt in the cure.
  • Balance the overall flavour.
  • Counteract bitterness.
  • Help stabilize colour in cured meats.
  • Increase water retention in the finished product.
  • Provide a good nutrient source for fermentation.



Nearly any spice or flavourings that are used in cooking may be used in curing. Some traditional herbs and spices used are garlic, pepper, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, mace, dry mustard, cinnamon, all spice, cardamom, etc. in addition, ingredients such as dry and fresh chillies, infusions and essences, wines and vinegars may also be incorporated to give a contemporary appeal.


Curing is done for the following reasons:-

  • For fixing of colour so as to give meat a nice colour. The nitrous oxide obtained from reduction of nitrite reacts with haemoglobin and myoglobin to form nitric oxide haemo or myoglobin, which upon heating or maturing is converted to the bright pink nitrosylmyochromogen.
  • To alter and improve flavour.
  • Provides antioxidant function.
  • Provides protection from Clostridium Botulism.
  • To retard the development of rancidity.
  • To make the texture rougher.
  • To improve shelf life.



The two basic methods of cures are DRY CURES and WET CURES or BRINES.


Probably the oldest method still used. In a dry cure the cure ingredients are mixed together and packed or rubbed over the food product to coat it completely. The length of time required for dry curing meats depends on their thickness. Whole Joints may take as long as 45 days, in such long cures the food is repeatedly turned and rubbed with the cure mixture in order to maintain uniform contact.



When salt and other curing agents are dissolved in water you get brine. To make brine you may use hot water or even bring the brine to simmer to infuse the spices or other aromatics. However the brine must be thoroughly chilled before you use it to cure foods. The simplest way to use brine is to immerse the food in brine, may be by using weights and let it soak until the cure is complete. However, brine may take a long time to penetrate to the center of large items such as ham. To hasten the process brine may be pumped or injected into the meats to make sure it penetrates evenly. After injecting the Joint may then be soaked in brine as well. Commercial operations use multiple needle injection method. The length of time required for wet curing depends on the size and thickness of the item. Fresh brine should be made for each batch of cured items, do not reuse brines.



Before cured foods are smoked, they should be allowed to air dry long enough to form a tacky skin, known as pellicle. The pellicle plays a key role in producing excellent smoked items. It acts as a protective barrier for the food and also plays a role in capturing the smoke’s flavour and colour. The exterior of the item must be sufficiently dry if smoke is to adhere.






Smoking has been used as a way of drying and preserving food since prehistoric times. Smoking does have some preservative effects, but for modern cooking, it is more important for the flavours that it gives to meats, poultry and seafood. Even smoked chesses and vegetable are relished for their special flavours.


Basic rules for smoking:-

  1. Do not smoke meats, poultry and fish that have not been cured, without the preservative effects of curing, smoking could be unsafe.
  2. Foods must be air dried after curing and before smoking.
  3. In order to smoke foods a “Smoker” is necessary. The basic feature shared by each type of smoker is a smoke source, a smoke chamber where the food is exposed, circulation and ventilation.
  4. The wood used for smoking could be Hickory, Oak, Walnut, Chestnut, apple, wood from citrus trees, etc. In order to produce a rich, aromatic smoke soft woods must be avoided.
  5. In addition to various hardwoods other flammable materials like teas, herbs, stems, whole spices, corn husks, fruit peels and peanut shells, may be added. Wood must be free from oil or charcoal.



There are two types of smoking; they are Cold smoking and Hot smoking. In cold smoking the temperature inside the smoke house is kept at or below 30 degree Celsius. At these temperatures, the food take on the flavour of the smoke but are not cooked.

In hot smoking the temperature in the smoke house may be as high as 90 degree C, for fish and poultry. These temperatures are high enough to cook the foods being smoked. Higher temperatures tend to cause excessive shrinkage. Foods may be hot smoked until they reach an internal temperature of 150 to 163 degree C, to ensure that they are fully cooked.

What is food?


Food is any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water, and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal for nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food may be derived from plants, animals or other categories such as fungus or fermented products like alcohol. Although many human cultures try to get food items through hunting and gathering, today most cultures use farming, husbandry, and fishing, with hunting, foraging, and other methods of a local nature included but playing a minor role.

Most traditions have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions, preferences, and practices, the study of which is known as Gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by-way-of food, not just by consumption.

What is cooking?

Cooking is the act of preparing food for consumption by the application of heat. It encompasses a vast range of methods, tools, and combinations of ingredients to alter the flavor or digestibility of food. It is the process of selecting, measuring, and combining of ingredients in an ordered procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Factors affecting the final outcome include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the individual doing the actual cooking.

The term “cooking” encompasses (covers) a vast range of methods, tools and combinations of ingredients to improve the flavor or digestibility of food. Cooking technique, known as culinary art, generally requires the selection, measurement, and combining of ingredients in an ordered procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the individual cooking.

Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually, though not always, chemically transforms it, thus changing its flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties. Cooking proper, as opposed to roasting, requires the boiling of water in a container, and was practiced at least since the 10th millennium BC with the introduction of pottery. There is archaeological evidence of roasted foodstuffs from 420,000 years ago.

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