See What’s Going on at the Mount This Week…. Mother Sauces-Part Two

We got of to a great start last week with our first class for new culinary students, 30 of the 50 signed up, actually showed up for class!!    First order of business, Knife skills.  I started with a demonstration of proper cutting techniques, how to protect your fingers and the difference in small or medium dice.  After the demo, and another reminder to be very careful, my new students began working on carrots, onions and celery.
I was lucky enough to have plenty of help for this class from two faculty members, and one Mountie Mom!

Of course 3 of my seasoned veterans showed up to help with instruction and organization, Thanks Ladies I really appreciate your support!!

I moved from table to table moving hands, repositioning fingers and changing dice size….and at the end of the first skill session, we had accomplished our goal.  Sometimes just getting over the fear of a big knife is part of the issue.  My students diced about 15 lbs each of onions, celery and carrots…my prep work for soup for the rest of the week.
After about 45 minutes of practical skills, we move onto instruction.  Today’s session begins with Sauces.  A good foundation in any culinary training should start with the Mother Sauces,a basic understanding of sauces, will help as we move forward into different aspects of cooking.
Today’s instruction focused on two of the Mother sauces, Bechamel and Veloute.  There really isn’t much of a difference in the two sauces and I find myself blending them together more times than making them classically.

Béchamel Sauce (white sauce)
This should always be one of the first lessons in any culinary class. When well made this sauce can be used many different ways, often making leftovers stretch or giving cooked foods new life. The French term for this medium-thick white sauce is béchamel. The foolproof way to attain a perfectly smooth sauce is to have the milk hot when added to the butter and flour. It uses an extra pot, but as you become more proficient, this step may not be necessary.

1 stick of  butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk, heated (use stock for Veloute)
Salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.
How hot should the milk be?
Warm the milk on low heat just until little bubbles begin to form at the edges. Then remove from heat.

Cheese Sauce
To make the bechamel a cheese sauce Stir in 2 cup grated Cheddar cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking, this will make a perfect sauce for baked Macaroni and Cheese.

Now the only difference with this sauce and a classic Veloute is instead of Milk , you use stock.   Doesn’t seem like much of a change, does it.   Mama Jeanette didn’t think so either, when she taught me these sauces, they were interchangeable,  there were times she wouldn’t use all milk in a bechamel, and I cant say I ever saw her make a veloute that didn’t have cream in it, and ever cream soup I have ever made starts with stock and finishes with cream…..go figure.

As Mama Jeanette would tell me “sonny boy, you just gotta make it taste good, I don’t care what the book says, if it don’t taste good, no one will eat it”.   
Thanks for stopping by I hope you enjoyed seeing what were doing at the Mount!


  1. Blackswan says:

    Cool! Thks for sharing these awesome pix & Mother Sauces 🙂

  2. misssmouse says:

    Wow Dennis,I love the pictures, I wish I could take one of your classes! It's funny, my classical French trained Mum taught me how to make both a white sauce and a veloute, but I didn't really realize they were both mother sauces or their classical names. I always learn something from you!

  3. Hi Dennis! Love that you provide inspiration to these beautiful young women! Love it! – Be well – Megan

  4. The Mom Chef says:

    I LOVED seeing those pictures and was intensely jealous that those young ladies have the opportunity to learn under you! Thanks too for the instruction on the two sauces. I was "schooled" by my mother in making the Bechamel at a very young age.

    This was a very special post; giving us a glimpse of your classroom and students. Many thanks.

  5. baking.serendipity says:

    I loved seeing your classroom and students! This would have been an awesome class to take when I was in school…I am sure they all love you 🙂

  6. Lucky girls!!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 Kate@kateiscooking

  7. I wish I was in that class! It looks like the girls are having a great time!

  8. tryanythingonce says:

    I really love this post! I've never gotten to take a culinary course so this is really a huge help to learn some terms that are basic to some. I had no idea that a bechamel sauce was what I had been making all this time. I had no clue what a Veloute was either!

    My daughter really enjoyed this post too. She was excited when I promoted her from chopping mushrooms with a butter knife to chopping fruits and some veg with a steak knife. 🙂 I keep telling her learning how to use a knife is essential to cooking and if you cannot use it properly get out of the kitchen…I say it nicer to her but she gets the idea. She and I both love seeing what you all are up to and learning!

    I'm jealous I would love to be taking that class too. I'd even do dishes without complaining!!! 🙂

  9. Do you take 50-something students? I always show up for classes and am eager? I am bookmarking this – the step-by-step reminder is always grand and oh yes sonny – just make it taste good. Wise words.

  10. PALATABLE says:

    How lucky your students are to have you, learned something new from you, great pix…

  11. anniebakes says:

    Love all of that info! i was thinking of doing a post on bechamel since I am a mac and cheese freak and your info is very complete!


  12. Hey Chef Dennis,

    I loved reading this post and learned a lot from it. I am so jealous of your girls that they get to learn under such a great chef as you. I would love to take up a class exactly like this. This is why I love food blogging, it allows me to learn from pros like you. Thank you for the two sauce lessons and tips.

  13. Amazing! Bechamel is the topic of my next theory assignment and probably the most fun to make.

    I wish a program such as yours existed when I was back in middle school or high school. Lucky girls!

  14. ButterYum says:

    Oh my goodness, this class would have been a dream come true for me when I was in high school! Quick question for you – I know the difference between bechamel and veloute, but what would the proper term be for a sauce that includes both milk and stock?

    Looking forward to your reply,

  15. Proper knife skills and learning the mother sauces. The foundation of good cooking. Wished everyone could learn these at such young ages.

  16. Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen says:

    What a fabulous post! I know I need work on my knife skills!
    Thank you for explaining the different sauces. A question- what should a true bechamel sauce taste like? I think I've captured the texture by using sorghum instead of flour- but what should it taste like? Milk? Butter? Nothing? Flour? I'd love to come up with a gf bechamel or a veloute that is indistinguishable from a regular one.

  17. Kim Kelly says:

    Oh how I wish I could attend your class! I have never really masted incorporating the flour into the sauce without a bit of lumpiness…
    Nicely done with the knife skills! One of the most important things in the kitchen.

  18. thecompletecookbook says:

    What a wonderful treat of being able to see you in your classroom. Thank you so much for sharing your lesson with us all. I hope you will share all your lessons with us. 🙂
    I agree with Mama Jeanette – doesn't matter what the book says, you got to make it taste good!
    🙂 Mandy

  19. scrambledhenfruit says:

    What a fun class you have! (And that's a great way to get all of that chopping done. 🙂 Those girls are so lucky to be in your class- I'd have loved to have had an opportunity like theirs.

  20. Chef Dennis, thanks for sharing those mother sauces…great for my pasta and oven baked chicken legs…mmmm I can imagine how great the cheese sauce would be for my baked chicken 🙂 My Piggies going to salivates over the sauce :p

    Your gals looked excited to learn more…wish I could be there and attending too. Thanks for sharing the recipes and pixs 🙂

    Have a nice day,

  21. Ana Powell says:

    Wow, you are doing such fantastic work.
    Well done.
    Wishing you a great week ♥

  22. ELIANA-Coisas Boas da Vida says:

    I loved seeing your classroom and students!
    Thank you for sharing!!

  23. Chef Dennis, why u dont make a video to teach using knife thecniques also? or already do u ve? i cant use knife proper way ,i dont cut myself too much but also i m not fast enough:)

  24. BEAR's Mom says:

    Thank you for sharing these pictures and giving us a bird's eye view of what's going on in your classes…
    I remember waaaaaay back jr. high home economics class {{do they still do that??}} we made the white sauce…
    If you ever do any adult-ed classes i'm there!!!
    Those girls are soooo lucky to have you 😀 {{{envy}}}


  25. Hi Dennis, You are an inspiration to all of us. Great post. I would have love to join your cooking class too. The photos are great and they really show what an awesome teacher you are to your girls. Well done:)

  26. lostpastremembered says:

    Honestly, if you can make a good white sauce… the world is your oyster. A friend of mine bought creamed spinach the other day and I told him he could make it in just about the same time it took to boil his frozen version. His tasted like wallpaper paste and mine was… well, great! I hope they appreciate this lesson!

  27. Dennis…how fun to see you and your students in action…and wow…so many active and enthusiastic participants. You certainly do have your hands full ;o)

    Have a great day,

  28. It's so much fun to get a peak into your class for the girls! It's truly life-changing for them to learn how to feed themselves with really good food.

  29. Organic Warrior says:

    Look at all your students! How fun for them & you!

  30. Andrea the Kitchen Witch says:

    You are so awesome Chef! Not many are willing to open their kitchens to others, much less 30+ students seeking culinary guidance. Lucky lucky ladies!! Looks like you all had fun!

    I often use Veloute and beschamel interchangeably as well. And like you my 'cream of' soups start with veloute and end with a cream finish. Great minds, right> 🙂

  31. I did not learn how to make "mother sauces" until I was well into my 20's..what a great skill for these girls to learn so young! Thanks for sharing the in class pictures with us Chef!

  32. Pacheco Patty says:

    Some great pictures, loved seeing the young ladies in your culinary program, keep up the good work:)

  33. ravienomnoms says:

    Love this post! I wish I could take one of your classes with your girls! Thanks for being awesome and keeping young girls like that interested in cooking!

  34. I loved cooking class in high school. I learned to make Delmonico potatoes and made them over and over again for my family. They were probably so tired of I still have the recipe:) The girls are lucky to have such a wonderful teacher.

  35. Emily Malloy says:

    Fabulous! Great sauce.

    How lucky those little ladies are to have you to learn from!

  36. Love how easy the mac and cheese sauce is! Making your own sauce can not even compare to the store bought kind.

  37. nice post…
    I have some questions-

    1. what is the trick to reduce bubbles?

    2. for how many days will this sauce last in a fridge ?

  38. Chef Dennis says:

    Hi Coral

    I am not sure what problems with the bubbles you are having, please email me and I will be glad to help. Also it should last at least a week in the refrigerator, if you are making it with milk, a lot will depend on how fresh the milk is, with a stock, it will last much longer.

  39. Thanks Chef Dennis, it was fun to sit in on your class today!

  40. What a great post chef.
    How very nice of you to include us with your class. These young ladies must be thrilled to have you teaching them. Can<t wait for next leson.

  41. Lovely pictures Dennis! I love the girls with you and their faces! lovely! (I made cook class by a time and I loved it) I think you make a beautiful job with these lovely girls!!

  42. The Comfort of Cooking says:

    What great photos of you teaching your little cooking prodigies – I bet they gain so much in just the short time they are lucky enough to learn from you. Thanks for sharing, Dennis!

  43. Your ladies are so lucky, I wish I had this opportunity in high school! Great pics and great info on Mother Sauces!

  44. You are laying a great foundation for these girls!

  45. Hello Chef!!!

    Loved seeing the photos of your class – brought back fond memories of cooking school for me!! Bechamel was a wonderful choice to start with – easier than many sauces and very versatile.

  46. Look at all those beautiful green sweatered girls! They are learning from one of the very best…I wish I could be in their shoes! These sauces are indeed classics, and I am thankful that you provided me with a little lesson…I've never made either of these sauces before (can you believe it?) Thanks for sharing Dennis. You always make me smile.

  47. And to think, I definitely never knew the difference between veloute and bechamel before this! I feel so knowledgeable now. Thanks Dennis!

  48. Michael Toa says:

    Chef Dennis, your students are so lucky to have such great teacher like you! I am learning from you as well. 🙂 Have a great day. Michael

  49. says:

    I wish I could come take your classes! I love the pictures–all those smiles!

  50. whatsfordinner-acrossstatelines says:

    Oh I love this one, the pics of you and the girls are priceless! They must just love having a teacher that cares so much!

  51. Sarah-Jane - says:

    only 30 of 50 – where did the others go ? They don't realise what priceless skills they could have been gaining.

    Been so busy recently I've missed a load of your posts. I now have stacks of reading back to do.

    Hope all is well 🙂

  52. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says:

    Dennis I know you are a wonderful teacher, and I really like Mama Jeanette's philosophy 😀

  53. Wow! it's like a cooking lesson without having to attend class:D Great post! Thanks for the recipes, now I can show my son I can make bechamel sauce too:D

  54. lovely pictures, how I wish i was there, maybe I'd have got over my fear of using big knives :((( and mandoline.
    many thanks for the tips on the bechamel sauce

  55. I always learn something new when I visit your blog. What an amazing opportunity these young ladies have to discover the difference between eating for necessity and eating as an experience.

    Cheers to you!

  56. says:

    LOVE that you teach kids to cook. A skill that is not taught enough these days or even valued as a skill

  57. The Enchanted Cook says:

    Love this post! I must say I agree with Mama – it's all about the taste!


  58. Chow and Chatter says:

    wow what a cool class and I agree a basic white sauce is a must learn shame so many can't make it

  59. Dennis… I still don't know how to slice and dice properly. =( I blame my crappy knives, but man could I use a lesson! 😛

    Once again, I do wish I was your student! I'd get to cook and eat and learn all at once. 🙂 (And at actual school, too! Imagine that. 😉 )

  60. great photos! i made my first béchamel sauce for lasagna about a month ago and was amaaazed. i look forward to trying this one out with different dishes!


  61. Dennis I may have told you this before but I really commend what you are doing with these young ladies. What a great start in the kitchen!

  62. Please can you come to our house to teach me some knife skills! I've had many a cut thumb from forgetting it was there as I chopped at my onion.

    An amazing thing you do in your class. We never had any of this at school.

  63. Jessie @ The Happiness in Health says:

    What a wonderful thing you're doing for these girls, Chef Dennis! I know that some of them will take the lessons you teach them and go on to have a very fulfilling (and healthy!) appreciation of food 🙂

    I confess I never knew the difference between Bechamel and Veloute – although it sounds like they're not all that different 😉

  64. This looks like so much fun! Think of all the future cooks and kitchens you are influencing! A great sauce to teach anyone.


    What fun! Wish I could have been I fly on the wall!

  66. Jess @ Bakericious says:

    Chef, I wish I am one of your students!

  67. If only I could turn back time, go back to high school and attend that school. I would love to be one of your students! LOL! Your class looks really awesome. And hey…free labor right??? Thanks for sharing this with us.

  68. I wish I had that opportunity as a very young girl. How fun and exciting that would have been…and must have been for them.

  69. Hi Chef Dennis,

    I wish I can be in your class…You're such a great inspiration and role model. I have crowned you with a blog award. Come take a look on my site.

  70. sensiblecooking says:

    I wish I was in that class. But thank you for sharing Chef Dennis and inspiring us and for the two sauces.

  71. A Thought For Food says:

    I love this!!! What a great "inside look" at what you do! Can't wait to finally meet you next week!

  72. I almost wish I were a student again so I could be schooled by you! I've made veloute many times – but never knew the name of it or that it was a mother sauce. Thanks for all the info!

  73. Hey Dennis! I just came back to thank you for your comment under my veg post. That is so sweet of you to say that-at least I'm a good influence on somebody (smile)…
    Oh, and I didn't realize I missed this post when I was here a few hours ago. You know, I see all those personalities in that kitchen, Dennis, and I just don't know how you do it. I have so much respect for teachers. Ooh, and especially teachers/chefs;-)
    Happy Halloween to my favorite on-line chef. XO, Stella

  74. Angie's Recipes says:

    Chef D, I wish I were there too! Thanks for sharing the Mother Sauces and the fun pictures.

  75. Lucky girls getting to learn from the pro!!! Loved the photos 🙂 Kate@kateiscooking

  76. I love this Dennis! You've got a lot of girls in your culinary club – makes me wish I'd had this kind of education when I was growing up 😉

    Jax x

  77. Magic of Spice says:

    I love seeing the girls learning like this…
    such a wonderful environment 🙂

  78. I wish I had field trips like that growing up! What an opportunity for those students!

  79. mangiabella says:

    Mama Jeanette gives another great pearl of wisdom, what words to live by haha – and what a treat to see you in action with the girls!

  80. ladymorgiana says:

    I love the sauce story 🙂 Mama Jeanette was right – if it doesn't taste good noone will eat it 🙂

  81. K. Belfield says:

    I think it is fantastic that you are teaching these children to cook properly. It shocks me the lack of cooking knowledge I find here in the states, and I applaud you for passing on your expertise.

    The pictures remind me of my first time in a professional kitchen. I was in University and running my very first event, I am very thankful to my mentor for allowing me that opportunity.

    These kids will thank you one day too.

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