Name the Missing Ingredient
Are you a culinary expert or a gastronomic novice? Take this quiz and find out.
Let’s imagine the following scenario. You, a lowly line cook, have been studying day and night at culinary school, hoping to become executive chef at the hottest restaurant in town. But your final hurdle is yet to come—the practical exam: a multi-course banquet, prepared to perfection and served to the judges without a hitch.
Unfortunately, there is a hitch. Though you’re provided with almost everything you need, each course has an ingredient missing. For each of the following seven questions, select which ingredient is missing from the recipe. If you can round up all the missing items, then you’ll surely ace your final exam and be headed for a successful culinary career.
- 5 – 7 Correct: Executive Chef Material
- 2 – 4 Correct: Satisfactory Sous Chef
- 0 – 1 Correct: Go Back to Cooking School
1. Your cooking school gave you a solid grounding in French cuisine, so your banquet menu focuses on French-inspired dishes. The evening starts with an hors d’oeuvre, Porcini Fondue with Ham and Ciabatta. The following ingredients are provided for your cheese sauce appetizer: porcini mushrooms, garlic, dry white wine, Gruyère and Emmental cheese, ciabatta bread, and ham slices. What is the missing ingredient?
2. Next on the menu is the soupe course, and you’re assigned a classic: French Onion. On the counter in front of you are, of course, several onions, along with unsalted butter, beef broth, flour, salt and pepper, and Gruyère cheese. What’s missing?
- pastry dough
- lemon zest
- sliced French bread
- crumbled bacon
3. Tangy, savory Salade Niçoise is the salad course. Besides the ingredients for the dressing, you’ve been given tuna, green beans, Yukon Gold potatoes, Boston lettuce, capers, tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and hard-boiled eggs. What iconic ingredient is missing?
- bell peppers
- mandarin oranges
- celery root
- anchovy fillets
4. Time for the entrées! The non-vegetarian main dish is Coq au Vin—chicken in wine. You’ve been provided with chicken, bacon, carrots, celery, mushrooms, red wine, butter, flour, olive oil, chicken broth, and assorted herbs. Unfortunately, you still need this:
- beef bouillon
- pearl onions
- bread cubes
5. The judges also requested a vegetarian entrée, so a meatless Cassoulet is also on the menu, to include olive oil, leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, ground cloves, water, and a bread crumb topping. But you can’t have a cassoulet without this item:
- cracked bulgur wheat
- white or cannellini beans
6. For a side dish, you’ll make Potatoes Au Gratin. You already have the potatoes, butter, garlic, milk, grated cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. One important ingredient is still missing. What is it?
- heavy cream
- lemon juice
- long-grain rice
- mint leaves
7. No banquet is complete without dessert, and one of the quintessentially French desserts is Crème Brulée, made with whipping cream, vanilla bean, sugar, and a topping of fresh berries…along with this item:
- egg yolks
1., a. cornstarch. Don’t forget to thicken your sauce. Runny fondue? Sacre bleu!
2., c. sliced French bread. French Onion Soup without toasted slices of pain would be incroyable.
3., d. anchovy fillets. This refreshing salad from the south of France wouldn’t be complete without those flavorful fish.
4., b. pearl onions. The flavors of chicken, wine, and vegetables are given added richness with the addition of onion.
5., c. white or cannellini beans. Whether you’re making a vegetarian cassoulet or a traditional one, you’ll invariably find beans as the hearty base.
6., a. heavy cream. From potatoes to greens, add heavy cream to give an au gratin its characteristic richness.
7., d. egg yolks. Egg adds the firm yet creamy texture that every custard should have, making this treat très magnifique.