For those working in the catering industry, it's essential to have a good command of English vocabulary related to food, beverages, and hospitality. Here's a comprehensive list of common terms and phrases used in the catering industry:

Food Preparation and Cooking

  • 1. Ingredients: Food items used in cooking or preparing dishes.
  • 2. Seasoning: Substances used to enhance the flavor of food, such as salt, pepper, spices, and herbs.
  • 3. Marinate: To soak food in a seasoned liquid mixture before cooking to enhance flavor.
  • 4. Saute: To cook food quickly in a small amount of oil over high heat.
  • 5. Grill: To cook food over an open flame or heat source.
  • 6. Simmer: To cook food gently in liquid at a temperature just below boiling.
  • 7. Zest: The colored outer part of the peel of citrus fruits, used to flavor dishes.
  • 8. Julienne: To cut food into thin, matchsticksized strips.
  • 9. Blanch: To cook briefly in boiling water, then submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • 10. Braise: To cook food slowly in a closed pot with a small amount of liquid.

Menu and Dish Types

  • 1. Appetizer: A small dish served before the main course.
  • 2. Entree/Main course: The primary dish of a meal.
  • 3. Buffet: A selfservice style of dining where various dishes are displayed for guests to serve themselves.
  • 4. A la carte: A menu style where each item is priced separately.
  • 5. Canape: Small, decorative pieces of bread or pastry with a savory topping, served as a cocktail snack.
  • 6. Plated meal: A meal in which the food is portioned and arranged on individual plates in the kitchen before being served to guests.
  • 7. Tasting menu: A menu offering a selection of small portions of food to allow diners to sample a variety of dishes.
  • 8. Dessert: The sweet course of a meal, typically including cakes, pastries, fruits, or ice cream.


  • 1. Cocktails: Mixed alcoholic drinks typically made with a combination of spirits, mixers, and garnishes.
  • 2. Wine pairing: Selecting and serving the appropriate wine with a particular dish to enhance the flavors.
  • 3. Brew: To make beer by soaking, boiling, and fermenting malt, hops, and water.
  • 4. Nonalcoholic: Beverages that contain no alcohol, such as soft drinks, juices, and mocktails.
  • 5. Decanter: A vessel used to hold and pour wine, typically made of glass or crystal.

Customer Service and Hospitality

  • 1. Reservation: An arrangement made in advance to secure a table at a restaurant or seating at an event.
  • 2. Host/hostess: The person who greets and seats guests at a restaurant or event.
  • 3. Sommelier: A trained and knowledgeable wine professional who assists with wine selection and service.
  • 4. Maitre d': The headwaiter or manager in a restaurant, responsible for overall customer service and dining room management.
  • 5. Tip/gratuity: An additional sum of money given to service staff as a token of appreciation for good service.
  • 6. Corkage fee: A charge levied by a restaurant for serving wine that was not bought on the premises.

Catering Events and Functions

  • 1. Banquet: A large formal meal or feast, often accompanied by speeches or presentations.
  • 2. Gala dinner: A special event featuring a formal meal, often as part of a celebration or fundraiser.
  • 3. Corporate catering: Providing food and beverage services for business events, meetings, and conferences.
  • 4. Wedding reception: The meal and celebration held after a wedding ceremony.
  • 5. Canape reception: A social gathering where canapes and drinks are served.

Mastering these terms will not only enhance communication with colleagues and customers, but also contribute to a seamless and professional work environment in the catering industry.