Bill Nassikas - The Importance of Sauces in Culinary Arts

Professional cooks including Bill Nassikas know that sauce is not just something used to pour over a dish. It is a combination of fat, cooking base, juices, purees, acids, and spices used with a main ingredient to enhance its flavors. While tomato puree on the pasta and ketchup on the burger are the simplest examples of sauces, even these sauces play a critical role in the success of a dish. It is often the mayonnaise that makes the flavor of a tuna salad stand out and the special vinaigrette is what often makes one salad different from another one.

Sauce can elevate a dish from a regular one to a great one, yet it rarely calls attention to itself. It always plays an auxiliary role. It always serves something else and this is what makes sauces stand out in the culinary world. In the French ranks system of chefs, the professional that creates sauces is often the most gifted person in the kitchen. From the beginning of a meal until its end, there’s hardly a dish that couldn’t benefit from the use of some kind of sauce.

There is a number of ways that can be used to categorize different types of sauces, yet one of the most practical ones is to divide them by their origin. As such, sauces can be stock based, fat based, and fruit or vegetable based.

Stock-based sauces usually require the most work and can come with many finesse elements. Brown sauces are usually considered to be the most exquisite ones. They are usually based on veal stock. Any mixture of meat and bones can be roasted and turned into a sauce using caramelized vegetables by an experienced cook like Bill Nassikas.