Cooking Vocabulary in English – chop, grill, saute, boil, slice… Love to eat? Share your recipes and give advice to those who are lost in the kitchen. In this lesson we will look at some basic cooking vocabulary that might make food a new experience for you and your friends and family. You’ll learn words like chop, boil, saute, grill, slice, and more. Take the quiz here:


Hi again. Welcome back to I’m Adam. Today’s lesson is a very interesting one. It’s one of my favourites. Why? Because I love to eat. Actually, a long time ago, before I was a teacher, before I did any of that, I went to culinary school. “Culinary” — I learned how to cook. I was going to be a chef. But then I worked at a restaurant, actually I worked in a few restaurants and I decided: “Nope, I don’t want to be a chef anymore.” But I still like to cook, I still love to eat. So some of my students were asking me for kitchen vocab, some culinary cooking vocab.

First, let’s start with this question: “What’s cookin’?” Now, it could mean: “Ah, something smells good. What’s cookin’?” Means what are you making, what dish are you making? But sometimes, people will ask this as slang: “What’s cookin?” means: “What’s happening? How are things? How are you?” Just so you know. A good idiom to recognize.

So we’re looking at kitchen vocab. When we’re talking about cooking, we’re talking about culinary arts. Okay? So you ever hear this expression: “culinary” means about cooking, about food.

Now, before I get into these actions, some of these actions that you will use while you are cooking, it’s a moral imperative that I spend a minute about these two words. What does “moral imperative” mean? It means that to be a good person, I must tell you something about these words. First: “a chef”, a chef is a person who studied cooking, went to school and studied, has worked in many restaurants, and has practiced for a long time in his art, his cooking skills. This person – or her -, this person probably has a diploma and is usually the boss of a kitchen in a restaurant somewhere.

Now, “a cook” is a person who is just starting to cook or somebody who just makes food at home. Anybody can be a cook. So “cook” could be a noun, the person, or: “to cook”, verb, to prepare dishes. Now, very, very, very important and I must stress this: “cook”, the pronunciation of this word is very important. It’s: “uh”, “uh”, “uhk”. “Cook”, okay? “Cook”. Sounds like, it rhymes with: “look” or: “took” or: “book”. Okay? “Book”, “took”, “look”, “cook”. It does not, not rhyme with: “rock” or: “sock” or: “lock”. Okay? Not. So if somebody says to you: “Oh, I’m a good cock.” Say: “I’m happy for you. Bye-bye.” Okay?
Because they’re talking about something else completely. “Cook”, be very careful about this word.
Okay, let’s get started. Let’s say you’re on the internet, you want to look for some new dishes, you want to surprise your family with a nice new meal from a different country maybe. You get on the internet and you find a “recipe”, recipe for a nice dish. But, you’re not sure about how to make it because you don’t recognize some of these actions. “Pot”, “pan”, all of these things you can understand. My little stove here, and my little oven here, I’m sure you can understand. Let’s look at the actions.

“To saute”, now this word actually comes from the French, but we use it in English as well. “To saute” means in a skillet or in a pan, to cook lightly. So you have your pan, your flat pan, put a little bit of oil, put in your onions on the stove, and you saute, you flip, you cook it a little bit to a little bit brown, and then you put other things in it or you add it to other things.

“Boil/simmer”, these are very similar actions. “Boil”, you put something in a pot, like something like this and high, full of water. You put the heat very, very high. So boiling is very high heat, big bubbles, and very fast moving. “Bluh, bluh, bluh, bluh, bluh.” Right? Like very boiling, so the bubbles go very fast and very high. “Simmer” means lower heat, small bubbles moving slowly. Okay? So when you’re making a nice soup or a stew, first you get everything boiling, and then you reduce the heat and let it simmer for like an hour; get all the flavours to blend together really nicely.

Then you have: “broil/roast”. So “broil” and “roast”, we’re using the oven. If you want to cook something like very quickly and get the top like very crispy, you broil. “Broil” means heat from the top, so the heat is going like this on to the food. “Roast” means the heat is coming from the bottom and the sides, so it cooks the inside and takes a little bit longer. Okay.
“Grill”. “Grill”, like for example: when you barbeque. When you’re barbequing, you are grilling. You have the lines of the grill, you put your steak on it, then you flip it, etcetera. That’s grilling, usually with fire, coals, lines.

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