Known simply as the five mother sauces, their basic repertoire included the best cuisines and can easily be expanded to create dozens of sumptuous ingredients and bases for your food (if you know what you’re doing).
In the 19th century, a young pastry chef and later a renowned French chef, Marie Antoine-Carême, was the first to organize French sauces into groups that were based on four basic concepts. Later, French chef Auguste Escoffier added
one more sauce so that there were now five, which he systematized in the form of a recipe in his classic 1903 Le Guide Culinaire.):
+ Béchamel – This is a basic roux whipped with milk, butter, and flour to make a white sauce, including Mornay and Cheese sauces;
+ Velouté – A velouté is a light roux whipped with chicken, turkey, fish or any other clear broth;
+ Espagnole: your basic brown sauce made with tomato puree and mirepoix (usually a combination of onions, celery, and bell peppers) for a deeper color and flavor, including mushroom sauce, Madeira sauce, and port wine sauce;
+ Tomato sauce: classic tomato sauce, the staple in Italian restaurants, further expanded to include Creole and Provencal sauces;
+ Hollandaise: a rich egg yolk sauce known for coating Eggs Benedict and asparagus (Bernaise sauce is part of this “family”);
These sauces are considered the basis of many dishes and require learning by culinary students, whether they specialize or not. You can be sure that any Michelin-rated restaurant has a spicier staff, conscientiously preparing all five sauces every day like a creative scientist, ready for anything that needs that special addition or a mild creamy dressing. In addition to his sauces, he (or she) will be cooking broths from scratch, preparing sauces and soups.
So let’s imagine this for a minute. If you’re lucky enough to dine at a top-notch restaurant, the sauce that wraps your filet mignon will have been prepared by a true sauce chef from scratch and will taste the same. If you’re dining at the Olive Garden, you’ll either slurp up your standard ketchup (not that it’s bad at all) or a (probably) prepackaged alfredo sauce. It will taste good, but nothing like what was prepared at a Michelin-rated establishment by Thomas Keller, Gordon Ramsay, or Wolfgang Puck. You’ll also find dishes in the kitchens of top hotels like the Ritz Carlson and the Sofitel. Likewise, don’t expect a line cook at Denny’s to be stirring a pot of homemade Bordelaise red wine sauce for your steak and eggs. The waitress will drop a bottle of ketchup on your table and ask if there will be anything else (well, maybe something A-1 for the most demanding palates).
When all is said and done, in your own kitchen save yourself a great deal of trouble and simply go to the grocery store, buy a couple of sachets of hollandaise sauce, mushroom sauce, brown sauce mix, and a jar of ketchup and finish the day. . You will sleep better for sure. And we won’t tell if you don’t.