Cooking up some French...

Brush up on your kitchen French and start cooking (and speaking) like a chef!

 Photo by Eric Sanman from Pexels
Photo by Eric Sanman from Pexels



A proper French meal, even school lunch, tends to be made up of four courses. A meal for invités may also involve appetizers. Courses are served in the following order: starter, main, cheese then dessert.


Hors d'oeuvres (pl,m) - appetizers

Un amuse-bouche - an appetizer

L'entrée - the starter

Le plat principal - the main dish
Le fromage - the cheese course
Le dessert - the dessert



Here's some vocabulary to help you find your way around a French kitchen:


La cuisine - the kitchen

Un réfrigérateur / un frigo - a refrigerator / fridge

Un congélateur - a freezer

Un placard - a cupboard

Une étagère - a shelf

Un tiroir - a drawer

Un four - an oven

Une cuisinière (à gaz) - a (gas) stovetop

Une plaque de cuisson (vitrocéramique) - a (vitro-ceramic) hob

Un micro-ondes - a microwave

Un grille-pain - a toaster

Une bouilloire - a kettle

And there's more...


Une planche à découper - a chopping board

Un plan de travail - a worktop

La balance - the scales

Un fouet - a whisk

Une louche - a ladle

Un plateau - a tray

Un tire-bouchon - a corkscrew

Une casserole - a pan

Une poêle - a frying pan

Une passoire - a sieve



Time to get cooking!


Cuire / cuisiner - to cook

Réchauffer - to reheat

Découper - to cut up

Couper - to chop

En petits morceaux / lamelles - in small pieces / slices

Laver - to wash

Rincer - to rinse

Peser - to weigh

Remuer - to toss, stir

Mélanger - to mix, blend

Fouetter - to whisk

Battre - to beat

Râper - to grate

Éplucher - to peel

Faire fondre - to melt

Étaler - to roll out

Casser - to break

Verser - to pour

Renverser (par terre) - to spill (on the floor)

Faire tomber - to drop, to make something fall

Faire sauter - to sauté

Frire - to fry

Mijoter - to slow cook

Bouillir - to boil

Rôtir - to roast

Cuire à la vapeur - to steam cook

Brûler - to burn, to overcook

Se brûler - to burn oneself

Se couper - to cut oneself

Se blesser - to injure oneself


See more French Residential's articles with recipe videos in French


Tous à table ! The French have a great appreciation of l'art de la table, or how the table is laid. This is the scenery in which the theatre of the meal will play out, after all. Great conversation and excellent food are about to "tread the boards"!


Une nappe - a table cloth

Une serviette - a napkin

Un set de table - a place mat

Une bougie - a candle

Un chandelier -  a candlestick

Une salière - a salt shaker

Une poivrière - a pepper mill

Un couvert - a place setting

Un couteau - a knife

Une fourchette - a fork

Une cuillère (a café) - a (tea) spoon

Une assiette - a plate

Un bol - a bowl

Un verre - a glass

Une coupe / une flûte - a champagne glass

Un verre à pied - a wine glass



And when the meal is over... It is unlikely your French host will expect you to help with clearing up. They may even get offended if you offer! But that goes both ways: if you are the host you will be expected to make all the mess disappear - remember, this is a performance as much as a meal!


Débarrasser (la table) - to clear (the table)

Ranger - to put things away, to put in order

Nettoyer - to clean

Essuyer - to wipe / To dry (dishes)

Un torchon - a tea towel

Souffler les bougies - to blow out the candles


Faire la vaisselle - to do the dishes

Un lave-vaisselle -  a dishwasher

Une éponge - a sponge

Un balai - a broom

Balayer - to sweep