In our previous blog on Decoding Professional Kitchens, we took a deep dive into the Rotisseur Station, mainly responsible for handling, preparing, and cooking all non-sea related meat ingredients. This week we'll be taking a closer look into another station that is essential to the brigade system, the Entremetier Station. Traditionally, the Entremetier Station takes care of all non-meat-based ingredients and regarded as the driving engine of the kitchen.
The Entremetier, also regarded as the "vegetable chef" plays an extremely crucial part in the kitchen brigade system. As the name suggests, this station handles and prepares all vegetable related dishes, from soups to salads to even egg-based plates. With the responsibility of managing so many tasks and preparing so many dishes at a high volume, the station is often be divided in two separate stations: the Legumier, responsible for handling, preparing, and cooking raw vegetable ingredients and the Potager, mainly responsible for cooking soups and soup related menu items.
Expertise in Ingredients
With the stations primary responsibility being preparing and cooking vegetable and egg-based menu items, it is essential for an Entremetier to have an in depth understanding of different vegetables, fruits, and mushrooms and all the techniques used to cook them. Most high-end restaurants provide a wide variety of plant-based appetizers, side-dishes, and main dishes, making the Entremetier station the only other station in the brigade system alongside the Saucier that is active in preparing both appetizers and main dishes.
There are simply too many vegetables to list, however the big five when it comes to use frequency across most kitchens are tomatoes, onions, potatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. Alongside an expertise in cooking these ingredients, the Entremetier must also be familiar with other common non-vegetable items such as fruits and mushrooms, which are typically used in side-dishes, salads, and soups. A fond knowledge of herbs and spices is also very important for seasoning the final dish.
On top of being an expert in all thing's vegetable, Entremetiers must have a strong intuition in regard to how to perfectly execute the desired vegetable dish based on the type of preparation required. These different methods of preparation vary; however it can be divided into 3 main forms. The "cold dish", the "hot dish" and the "liquid dish".
Cold dishes mainly refer to appetizers and side dishes that only include the chopping and mixing a recipe of vegetables. The most common form of a "cold dish" is the salad.
The "hot dish" is any dish that requires cooking of vegetables. It is very common for the Entremetier to mix eggs into hot dishes as well, common forms of hot dishes are sautéed vegetables, mashed potatoes, and frittatas.
Last but not least, liquid dishes mainly refer to stocks and soup. With the Entremetier shouldering a lot of responsibility regarding preparation, high-end restaurants divide and specialize for maximum efficiency, giving hot and cold dishes to the Legumier and liquid dishes to the Potager.
Tools of the Trade
The Entremetier uses a wide array of different tools to cook and prepare their vegetable dishes. Out of all the other stations in the brigade system, the Entremetier undoubtedly does the most chopping due to high volume of vegetables used, so let's look at some of the main knives that the station uses on a regular basis.
When it comes to knives, the standard set used by the typical Entremetier includes:
- A santoku knife (approximately 7-inches in length)
- A standard chef knife (approximately 8-inches in length
- A tomato knife (approximately 5-inches in length)
- A paring knife (approximately 3.5-inches in length)
These knives all have a part to play in the daily routine of the Entremetier, from pre-opening prep to the last slice before serving. The entremetier station primarily requires an all-purpose, trusty knife that can be used consistently throughout their working day. The primary knives used for this purpose are the standard Chef Knife and the Santoku knife, which when translated to English from Japanese, means "Three Virtues". This is an homage given to the blades impeccable ability to cut fish, meat, and vegetables. This all-purpose knife features a flat body with a slight curve which allows for an extremely smooth chopping motion.
If you are looking for great knives to up your game, Chef Sac collaborated with Der Säbel to launch a 7 inch Santoku Knife and an 8 inch Chef Knife. Their sturdy, sharp blade is made of high quality German stainless steel that is ice hardened – so the blade won't rust or dull!
Tomato knives are designed specifically for slicing tomatoes, making it easy to get the desired quantity with the perfect chop. Lastly, there is the paring knife, where the small size (3.5-inches) and sharpness of the blade allows the chef to carve extremely thin slices off any vegetable.
Other hand-held tools commonly used by Entremetiers include:
- Skin Peeler
- Soup Ladle
- Honing Rod
Skin peelers are used on tougher vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, in order to get the skin off. The grater is a perfect tool for the potager, as it grates the vegetable, making it ready to go in the pot. The soup ladle is used for stirring and serving soups, and lastly, the honing rod is there to keep the hardworking knives sharp throughout service.
All these tools perfectly fit in Chef Sac’s knife rolls and knife case making it easy to carry all your tools in one bag from home to the restaurant. The Chef Knife Roll Bag and the Chef Knife Padded Roll Bag are highly recommended for vegetable chefs.
The Entremetier is regarded as the engine of the brigade system. This is due to the fact that the station has a hand in the production of almost all dishes, not including dessert. This means the station will have to coordinate and communicate well with other stations, particularly the Saucier, Rotisseur and Poissonnier to have the final dish prepared.
The Saucier works extremely closely with the Entremetier as both parties need to coordinate on making stocks, soups, and vegetable-based sauces. As most fish and meat-based dishes accompany a vegetable-based side-dish, the Entremetier station must be sharp in coordinating the preparation of its part, allowing for food fresh out of the kitchen to be served to customers.
Sometimes, even Pâtissiers directly connect with the Entremetier station, as both stations must coordinate on preparing appetizers and salads.
By definition the Entremetier station is regarded to be an extremely traditional and niche role in the brigade system. In most large scale operations, the Entremetier oversees and runs both the legumier chef and a potager chef.
Vegetables are the base of every dish, across all cultures of the globe. If you are aspiring to become an Entremetier, you must be determined to master all areas associated with delivering the food to the customer. The number one deciding factor of success for all chefs is a drive to learn more and improve their skills on a daily basis, and this is no different this station. On top of all the knowledge an Entremetier must have regarding their niche, a general overview and understanding of all stations is also essential.
Whether you're a culinary student aiming to become an Entremetier or a seasoned vegetable cook always looking to take his game to the next level, Chef Sac is rooting for you, and we'll always have your back.
- Tags: #Chef bag essentials #Chef bags #Chef Essential Tools #Essential Restaurant Tools #Kitchen essential tools #Kitchen Knives #Knife Bag #Knife Roll #Knives #Sharp Knives #Storing Knives #Utensil Roll bag for chefs bags for chefs brigade de cuisine Chef bag Chef de Cuisine chef essentials chef gifts Chef Knife chef tools chef types Chefs chefs bag chefs gifts culinary arts culinary school culinary students Entremetier Station Executive Chef gifts for culinary students interesting kitchen tools kitchen gifts Line Cooks restaurants roll bag Santoku Knife sharp knife Sous Chef Stagiaire Station Chefs types of chef