What’s on the menu? This is a question that most of us ask, about twice or thrice during a day. Food is a very important part of our lives. In fact, some of us even live to eat rather than the other way around. For these foodies, a menu is like a sacred book that they want to religiously read over and over again till the time they have decided the perfect dish or dishes to satisfy the hunger in their stomachs.
A menu can be defined as a presentation of food and beverage offerings. A menu may be à la carte – which guests use to choose from a list of options – or table d'hôte, in which case a pre-established sequence of courses is served.
Classic Menu Sequence
This format is used to lay out menus as well as to indicate the order of the various courses.
Course 0: Amuse-bouche / Amuse-gueule - A little bite before the meal begins: Greetings from the Chef de Cuisine
Course 1: Hors d'oeuvre (appetizer)
This course is used to manipulate the appetite for the dishes that are to follow.
Course 2: Potage (soup)
A potage is usually puréed and is often thick, well-seasoned meat or vegetable soup.
Course 3: Oeufs (eggs)
Oeufs are the dishes made from egg.
Course 4: Farineaux (rice & pasta)
This is Italy's contribution to the courses of the menu. It includes different kinds of rice and pasta.
Course 5: Poisson (fish)
Poisson are the dishes made from fish. Fish, being soft-fibred, prepares the palate for the heavier meats that follow.
Course 6: Entrée (entry of 1st meat course)
It is a complete dish in itself, garnished and sauced the way it is intended to be served.
Course 7: Sorbet (flavored water)
This course is a rest between courses. It counteracts the previous dishes, and rejuvenates the appetite for those that are to follow.
Course 8: Reléve (meat course)
This is the main meat course on the menu, and is commonly known as the “piece de resistance.”
Course 9: Rôti (roast)
This course normally consists of game or poultry.
Course 10: Légumes (vegetables)
These can be served separately as an individual course or may be included along - with the entrée, relevé or roast courses.
Course 11: Salads (salad)
Course 12: Buffet Froid (cold buffet)
In this course chilled meat pieces are served.
Course 13: Entremet de sûcre (sweet)
Entremets on a menu refers to desserts.
Course 14: Savoureaux (savory)
They are served hot on toast or as savory soufflé.
Course 15: Fromage (cheese)
Fromage (Cheese) may be served before or after the sweet course.
Course 16: Desserts (fresh fruits & nuts)
This course comes at the end of a meal. The French word desservir means "to clear the table."
Course 17: Cafe (coffee)
The classic menu sequence outlined above was and is based on logical process of taste sensations. This classic sequence provides the guide for the compilation of menus, as it is evident in most examples of modern European menus.
- Ms. Bindu Menon
Senior Faculty, INLEAD
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