dcsimg

Appetizers

Appetizers

The appetizer, or the first course of the meal, is the specialty of garde manger and pantry chefs. An appetizer is the perfect way to whet the diner's appetite and to give a preview of what to expect from the rest of the meal. In the restaurant world, appetizers are not only put on a menu for the pleasure of the guest, but it in fact, serve several functions from the kitchen's perspective as well.

Appetizers are the part of the menu that allows the chef to show the most creativity and experimentation. Because there are often a greater number of appetizers than entrees on a menu, the chef has room to be playful with ingredients and flavors and can often cross culinary and cultural borders to create new dishes. Entree menus tend to be limited to the standards--meat, fish, poultry--and can allow for one or two more unusual additions, but mostly need to provide something that appeals to everyone because just about everyone who comes into a restaurant orders an entree.

It is not necessarily the case, however, that each customer orders an appetizer and if even they do there is usually a green salad or simple soup tucked in among even the most creative of appetizers that appeals to just about anyone. The trend of featuring small plates or tapas on the menu seems to be continually growing. Many diners are applying this concept to regular restaurant menus by ordering multiple appetizers in place of the standard appetizer-entree combination. Ordering in this way allows the diner to sample more dishes for roughly the same price and presents an array of diverse ingredients and flavors, which makes what many consider to be a more interesting overall dining experience.

Because appetizer portions are smaller than entrees, chefs are able to use more intense flavors and interesting combinations. They can also use expensive ingredients, like foie gras and caviar, because they are using less of them. One of the biggest issues that affect a restaurant's profitability is its food cost. Food that is wasted has already been paid for and instead of making back the money spent on that food plus a profit, the restaurant that wastes food simply loses money. Often entire sides of meat and whole birds are purchased because it is less costly to buy animal products this way, and break them down into different cuts and portions, than it is to purchase each cut individually.

Sides of meat and whole birds do include parts that are not necessarily desirable if put on a menu as they are, such as meat and fat scraps and chicken innards. When combined with other ingredients, however, these less than desirable parts can be transformed into something magical. Delicious terrines and rillettes are made from beef and pork scraps and chicken liver pate and duck leg confit are made from less commonly used parts of poultry. A few simple techniques can transform parts that are often regarded as unusable into something not only delicious for the customer, but also profitable for the restaurant. These items, and many more like them, have their roots in the garde manger of long ago when food was scarce and people learned to use every part of an animal so that they wouldn't starve. In the restaurants of today that same concept of usage correlates to profit.

About the Author

After receiving degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Culinary Institute of America, Andrea Rappaport moved into a full-time career in the restaurant business. For over 12 years, she worked in various culinary jobs, including as a cook for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, and ultimately as the executive chef and partner of the highly revered San Francisco restaurant Zinzino. For the past seven years, Andrea has worked as the private chef for one family in the San Francisco area, and continues to expand her culinary portfolio by catering, teaching, and consulting.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found
            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]