1. A sauce is a flavoured liquid usually thickened, which served to impart richness and flavour to food that otherwise might lack flavour on its own.  Sauces are also used to counteract richness in certain foods and in addition to enhancing a dish they may also aid digestion. 
  2. The preparation of sauces is a skilled task requiring care and experience.  Sauces are important to good cooking but are often neglected.  The ability to produce tasty sauces is a vital part of achieving a good standard of cookery. 
  3. A sauce, if thickened, must be smooth, have a shine and a definite, but not overpowering taste.  The texture must be light and not too thick.  As a guide sauces should lightly coat the back of a spoon.  This is the chefs traditional rule of thumb for a good sauce.  However, to suit certain dishes, for example in cauliflower mornay, the sauce can be made thicker to adequately coat the cauliflower.


  1. There are several sauces from which, in classical cookery, hundreds of other sauces can be created.  Such sauces are referred to as “derivative sauces”.  Some examples are:

  Sauce                                       Derivative

  •  White Sauce                       -   Cheese Sauce
  •                                                Egg Sauce
  •  Veloute                              -    Mushroom
  •  Brown Sauce                      -    Demi Glace
  •  Demi-Glace                        -    Bordelaise Sauce
  •                                                Charcutiere Sauce
  • Hollandaise Sauce               -   Bernaise Sauce
  •                                               Choron Sauce
  • Mayonnaise Sauce               -   Cocktail Sauce
  •                                               Andalouse Sauce

Sauces Without Derivatives

A few sauces do not lend themselves to having derivatives.  For example apple sauce and bread sauce.


To improve a sauces consistency. flavour, texture and appearance certain ingredients can be added immediately prior to serving.  Some examples are:

  1. Liaison of egg yolks and cream:  For thickening a sauce once added do not reboil the sauce or it will curdle.
  2. Sabayon of egg yolks:  helps to achieve a good glaze or sheen for dishes finished under a grill.  Do not reboil after the addition of a sabayon.
  3. Chopped beef marrow:  Sauce Bordelaise.  Again do not reboil after adding the marrow to the sauce.
  4. Cream:  Withstands temperatures up to boiling point.
  5. Butter:  The technique of adding butter to a sauce is known as “monte au beurre” or mounting the sauce with butter.  Again do not reboil after adding the butter.


  1. After a sauce has been made, care must be taken to prevent a skin forming.  This may be achieved by providing a tight fitting cover or cartouche.