For food lovers and chefs alike, knowing the five mother sauces is a basic skill that opens a world of culinary possibilities. Béchamel, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Tomato and Velouté are the five mother sauces that serve as the starting point for a myriad of dishes.
Two weeks ago, we did a presentation at the American Culinary Federation’s Chef Connect in Newport Beach, California. Our session was titled “Redefining the Mother Sauces”.
We had a full house of eager chefs that wanted to learn more about cooking for their guests with food allergies and special diets. Chef after chef talked about the ever-growing requests from their customers for allergy-friendly and plant-based dishes.
We are excited to share over the next several weeks, our take on the mother sauces made allergy-friendly, gluten-free and vegan.
Read more for a chance to win an exciting gift basket.
Modern sauces depend on the basic classical techniques of the mother sauces, which play a very important part in every sauce we’ve ever made and will ever make. That’s why learning to make the classical sauces is the foundation for cooking in today’s kitchen.
For the History Buffs
Many consider Francois Pierre de La Varennes to be one of the founding fathers of French cuisine. La Varennes is credited with introducing roux as a thickening agent for sauces, especially velouté sauces.
During the early 18th century, the chef to the French Duc de Levis-Mirepoix pioneered the use of onions, celery and carrots to enhance the flavor and aroma of stocks. The mixture, named after the chef’s employer, soon became the standard for many culinary applications.
Before the 18th century, large pieces of meat were cooked until their juices released and caramelized. The pan was then deglazed to create a sauce.
In the 19th century, Marie-Antoine Carême realized how expensive and cumbersome it was to make sauces this way. He figured making a standard broth base to use for all sauces would be less expensive and would save time in the kitchen.
Carême organized the French sauces into groups that were based on four foundational sauces. Later, Auguste Escoffier added one more sauce and refined the list to the contemporary five “mother sauces”, which he structured in recipe form in Le Guide Culinaire in 1903.
Our purpose is not to reinvent the mother sauces we so respect. Instead, we are redefining them to make it possible for those with food allergies and special diets to enjoy the multitude of dishes created with these sauces.
When we think about macaroni and cheese, hollandaise sauce, fettuccine alfredo, cheesy scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, cream of broccoli soup, biscuits and gravy, poutine and so much more, we think these are out of reach because of major allergens.
However, we feel no one should be deprived of these dishes because of a food allergy, special diet or lifestyle.
A Quote For All Times
Escoffier, known as the Chef of Kings, and King of Chefs ignited our passion to create allergy-friendly mother sauces with one of our favorite quotes dating over 110 years ago.
“Cookery will evolve – as society itself does – without ever ceasing to be an art. It has to be admitted that customs and the way we live have changed since 1850 so cookery too must change. The great works of Dubois and Bernard met the needs of their time but even if they last forever as documents and as a basis for our methods of working, the pattern which they made so respected no longer meets the requirements of our day.
We must respect, love and study these great works – they together with the works of Carême must be the basis of our methods of working. But instead of copying them servilely, we ourselves should seek new approaches so that we too may leave behind us methods of working that have been adapted to the customs and needs of our times.”
1st February 1907 – Auguste Escoffier
Escoffier’s words ring so true about the needs of our time. Look at how our times have changed from just 20 years ago. How many people did you know with food allergies in the 90’s? What about now?
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the prevalence of food allergy in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
- Between 1997 and 2008, the prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy appears to have more than tripled in U.S. children, according to FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education).
Statistics also show an astounding number of people going vegan and eating plant-based, from athletes to celebrities to everyday people. This rise of plant-based diets is here to stay.
Did You Know?
- There’s been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S. in the last three years.
- In the UK, the number of people identifying as vegans has increased by 350%, compared to a decade ago.
- The preliminary draft of Canada’s new Food Guide, released in 2017 by the Canadian government, favors plant-based foods.
- Mainstream health organizations are recommending a plant-based diet, including Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare organization in the U.S.
- Even Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is asking its suppliers to offer more plant-based products.
Change is Undeniable
We know Escoffier would want us to use his ideas as a starting point for new directions, much as he did with Carême’s.
Our journey making the Mother Sauces vegan and free from gluten and the top 8 allergens begins next week with Béchamel. We will bring you everyday recipes based on the mother sauces, the foundation for all sauces.
Esteemed chef and TV personality Julia Child said, “Sauces are the splendor and the glory of French cooking.” We can’t agree more.
Enter the Drawing
We developed a crossword puzzle around the topic of sauces. Let’s have some fun!
Those who provide correct answers by Friday, April 6 will be placed in a drawing to win a gift box of allergy-friendly goodies. The box will include all the specialty flours you need to make the mother sauces.
Click on Sauces and Such below and print. Fill out the crossword puzzle and submit or scan answers to email@example.com.
We’ll be posting the answers next week.
Four of the answers consist of two words. Two answers are basically the same.
Good luck and have fun! Joel and Mary