3 Cooking Basics in French Cuisine

Cuisine is the cornerstone of French culture, as famous as its love for high fashion and fine wine. France turns out some of the top chefs in the world, renowned for their creative vision and mastery of French flavor. But as diverse as their dishes may be, every French-trained chef starts out the same way: by learning – and returning to – the basics of French cooking.

As an award-winning French-trained chef, even Chef David Pan still leans on a few simple principles that give French cuisine that world-famous flair. If you’re looking to create fine French flavor in the comfort of home, here are three cooking basics to add to your cookbook.

1. Fresh In-Season Produce

First on the menu is the importance of in-season produce. French cuisine is deeply tied to the seasons, and the country is ripe with fertile landscapes that yield some of the freshest ingredients in the world. Seasonal fruits and veggies usually determine the daily menu, provided by local farmers’ markets that pop up on every corner.

In the spirit of this French tradition, at Orange Beach Concierge, Chef David sources a cornucopia of seasonal fruits and vegetables. In spring, we celebrate with asparagus, radishes, peas, and parsley. Summer heralds the arrival of beets, corn, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. As the leaves turn, autumn brings pumpkins, aubergines, and shallots. Finally, we warm the winter chill with cauliflower, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.

2. Don’t Hold Back on Butter

Next, let’s talk about butter – not just any butter, but French butter. The difference lies in its higher fat content (about 82%) compared to American butter (around 80%). This minor change lends French butter an unparalleled creaminess that works wonders whether you’re savoring it on a fresh baguette or using it as the base for a rich sauce. French butter is also commonly cultured, a process that adds a layer of tangy depth to its flavor profile. With its silky texture and dynamic taste, it’s no wonder Auguste Escoffier said the three great secrets of French cooking are butter, butter, butter.

3. Mise en Place

Finally, we can’t ignore a concept that stands at the heart of any professional kitchen: Mise en Place. The French term translates to “putting in place” and it references the practice of preparing and organizing everything you need before you begin cooking. This includes checking the recipe, gathering your tools and ingredients, and doing any prep work like trimming meats, washing fruits and vegetables, grinding spices, and chopping produce.

Mise en Place may seem simple, but it’s a vital step in French cooking. Not only does it ensure you have everything you need for your dish, but it helps prevent those sticky situations like overcooking your meat while preparing the sauce. With a smooth and streamlined cooking process, you’ll easily channel your inner Julia Child or Jacques Pepin with aplomb.

At Orange Beach Concierge, we combine these three essentials to craft truly exceptional French-inspired meals. We invite you to explore the tastes of the season, revel in the richness of French butter, and perfect your cooking process to enjoy the finest French flavor. Better yet, book our personal chef experience to let Chef David Pan handle the challenge of cooking for you, leaving you free to delight in the dynamic taste of authentic French cuisine.

Chef David Pan
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Orange Beach Concierge was born out of our love of hosting a great party, event planning and everyday organization combined with Chef David’s drive and desire to be the very best at his culinary craft. We are an Alabama gulf coast-based boutique concierge service offering highly personalized services.