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Getting Started With French Cooking: Our Top Tips

France is famous for its cuisine. Whether you are discussing its rich variety of food types or its acres of vineyards producing the perfect wines, it is difficult to talk about France without the topic of gastronomy making an appearance. This is in part because they have the ingredients readily available; however, you will also find that much of the quality of French food comes in the way that it is cooked.

You can train yourself in the art of French cooking, but it is important to do so properly. Pay attention as this article breaks down some of the best tips when it comes to getting started with French cooking.

Learn The Basics

Everyone has to start their cooking journey somewhere, and French cuisine has a lot of complicated dishes that will improve your culinary skills tenfold. Unfortunately, you won’t get very far by attempting these straight away. Failing to create something like this is going to put you off learning more. While France is famous for its rich and complex tapestry of food, it also provides some simple dishes like ratatouille.

Ratatouille is a dish comprised mainly of roasted vegetables that anyone can make, and you can do so by using this easy ratatouille recipe from A Clean Bake. Trying out something simple will give you the confidence to move forward while also providing you with the basic principles of French cooking.

Find Out Where The Food Comes From

France is able to create a range of different culinary experiences because of the cuisine it has available. The north coast is fishing country, which means that this part of France is familiar with creating mouth-watering fish dishes. However, there is a lot of Italian influence spread around the country because of its previous occupation by the Romans. This means that you will find a lot of herbs complimenting meat that it should not work with to great success. There have also been other historical influences that have spread the range of cooking techniques and ingredients even further.

The mixing of these styles created something truly unique that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Cooking is more than just putting things on heat and adding them together. What’s more, French cooking is more about the why than the how. Learning about the historical aspects of French cooking will inform you about why these dishes work so well, giving you a solid understanding of France as a culinary expert.

Learn To Sauté

Sautéing is the act of pan-frying something with very little fat or oil at a high temperature. This practice is often confused with basic frying, and you will find that a lot of cooks that cannot recreate French dishes correctly choose to fry the food instead of sautéing.

The ability to sauté food is essential if you wish to learn French cooking. You will find that most dishes require you to sauté something, whether that is a thin strip of meat or some carefully chopped vegetables. The art of sautéing is what gives French cuisine its light texture, so you must practice your sauté skills if you want your French food to taste authentic.

Learn About Delicacy

French food is often referred to as haute cuisine. This style of cooking is meticulous, requiring the chef to experiment with gentle techniques to create heavy sauces that cover delicate food. It was first brought to the culinary world in the 16th century and has been a staple of French cooking ever since. 

Examples of these heavier sauces include hollandaise sauce and béchamel, whereas the main focus of each haute cuisine meal will consist of pastries or truffles. Furthermore, the art of haute cuisine also extends to the presentation. The food needs to be in minimal quantities and arranged in an artistic way. This may seem daunting at first, but you can always look for other examples of haute cuisine for inspiration. Once you get the hang of it you can use your creativity to arrange your own haute cuisine dishes.

Think About Every Meal

France may be the center of excellence when it comes to haute cuisine meals, but that does not mean that they neglect other meals. In fact, you will find that breakfast and lunch are equally important when it comes to French cooking.

The most popular French breakfast treat is the croissant, and this delicacy requires some of the delicate skills that were mentioned above. To bake croissants, you must first learn the technique of lamination. This involves carefully rolling and folding a buttery dough until it is perfectly thin. Even if you do not want to learn how to bake croissants, learning some of the delicate procedures can hone your skills to tackle some of the more difficult haute cuisine meals.

Then, of course, there are plenty of French desserts. Each of these will provide you with another challenge and get you working with sweeter flavors. Therefore, you should expand your horizons as much as possible when you learn French cooking.

Use The Correct Ingredients

You should now be aware of how important every aspect of the food preparation process is when it comes to French cooking. However, the most important part of this preparation starts at the very beginning.

There is nothing more important in French cooking than using fresh ingredients. Part of the overall flavor comes from the little imperfections that come from food that is prepared by hand. Using newly caught meats and freshly grown vegetables provides some of that authenticity that is associated with French cuisine. You won’t find any artificial flavors in a classic French dish, so try to avoid them where possible. 


You will need to rethink everything that you know about cooking when it comes to preparing French food. However, these tips should give you a good idea about where to start. While it may be difficult to get started with this style of cuisine, it is a skill worth learning if you are a food lover. Give it a try and look for further advice if you find something particularly tricky.


  1. Mary Ambrosino says

    I love French food and I my start to create my own after reading this article. I will start with the basic ratatouille. Good article.