Par-Cooking: The Secret’s behind Restaurant Success

Have you ever wondered how risotto is ordered and served in a restaurant faster than you can eat it? How does a professional kitchen plate a side of au gratin or roasted vegetables in twenty minutes? The process is referred to as par-cooking and the results are as delicious as they are timely.  Par-cooking is to partially cook items now to be finished latter.

There are two main reasons why I encourage you to par cook.

First, it allows foods to be prepared ahead of time, and swiftly heated before serving. Par-cooking partially cooks the food, guaranteeing the reheating process does not overcook your dish.

The second reason is to add different textures and techniques to your dishes. If you are creating a dish that has blanched broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and boiled potatoes, you could par cook each item today, to be finished all at once tonight.

If you do choose to take advantage of par-cooking, there is one important detail to remember. Cooking food and allowing it to cool properly is important to avoid bacteria that may cause flares. Immediately store any par cooked item in the refrigerator, uncovered, until it has cooled completely. Then cover and keep chilled until you are ready to complete your meal.