What’s cooking at Helms College? Sauces, sauces, sauces

Fall quarter is getting underway at Helms College, and as part of the foundation of all careers in the culinary arts is a course from which so many additional recipes can be made. It is the Stocks and Sauces course, and mastering these skills will put students well on their way to a successful career in culinary arts.

The Helms College Director of Culinary Arts, Chef Jay Stancill, has been with the college since 2009, overseeing much of its growth while teaching and assisting many students to successfully navigate the path to their new careers. Considered to be one of the more vital hands on courses he teaches, the Stocks and Sauces course is one building block of each student’s career.

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Helms College Director of Culinary Arts Chef Jay Stancill demonstrates appropriate cooking techniques.

The Stocks and Sauces course includes mastering the 5 main or “mother” sauces, referring to any one of five basic sauces, which are the starting points for making various secondary sauces. The 5 “mother” sauces are Basic Tomato, Hollandaise, Espagnole, Veloute’ and Bechamel.

#5 – Classic Tomato Sauce – Similar to the traditional red sauce found on pasta or pizza, this sauce is more robust in flavor and is more labor-intensive to make. First we render salt pork and then sauté aromatic vegetables. Then we add tomatoes, stock and a ham bone, and simmer it in the oven for a couple of hours. Cooking the sauce in the oven helps heat it evenly and without scorching. Spanish, Creole and Provençale sauces use this “mother” sauce.

#4 – Hollandaise Sauce with AsparagusHollandaise Sauce -Unlike other mother sauces, this is basically a tangy, buttery emulsified sauce made slowly with a whisk including a liquid (clarified butter), and a thickening agent (warm egg yolks), plus flavorings. It’s delicious on seafood, eggs and vegetables. Béarnaise, Dijon and Maltaise are just a few of the sauces that can be made from Hollandaise.

#3 – Espagnole Sauce – Sometimes called Brown Sauce, Espagnole is a slightly more complex mother sauce. Start by thickening brown stock (made from roasted bones) with roux, adding tomato puree and mirepoix for deeper color and flavor. If it is further refined, it will produce the rich, deeply flavorful sauce called demi-glace. Mushroom, Madeira and Port Wine are a small sampling of the sauces made from Espagnole.

Gumbo dish from the Macon team. #2 – Velouté Sauce – A relatively simple mother sauce, made by thickening white stock with roux and then simmering it for a while. While the chicken velouté, made with chicken stock, is the most common type, there is also a veal velouté and fish velouté. Going one step further, chicken velouté fortified with cream becomes the Suprême Sauce; Veal velouté thickened with a liaison of egg yolks and cream becomes the Allemende Sauce; and the fish velouté plus white wine and heavy cream becomes the White Wine Sauce. Additional sauces to be made from Veloute are Normandy, Bercy and Shrimp sauces.

#1 – Béchamel Sauce – This is probably the simplest of the mother sauces as it doesn’t require making stock. With milk, flour and butter, you can make a very basic béchamel, by first thickening hot milk with a simple white roux and then flavoring with onion, cloves and nutmeg and simmering until it is creamy and velvety smooth. It is the basis for some of the most common white sauces, cream sauces and cheese-based sauces. Additional sauces made from Bechamel are Mornay, Soubise and Mustard sauces.

 

For each program, this course, along with the other four core classes will expose you to a variety of skills and experiences you will use over and over throughout your time at Helms College that benefit you as you begin your career. Unlike many other culinary programs, our curriculum also allows students to use their skills in actual restaurant, catering and cafeteria settings, as well as baking and pastry. You will have the opportunity to work with executive chefs, experienced sous chefs and an experienced restaurant manager throughout your course of studies.

Helms CollegeIf a career in cooking is your dream, the first step to making it a reality is to contact Helms College today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you and will help guide you on your road to success. We have two campuses to serve you. Contact The Polly Long Denton School of Hospitality in Macon at (478) 471-4834 or The Augusta School of Hospitality at (706) 651-9707. Call today to get started.

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