It might be the perfectly cooked piece of meat or homemade sourdough bread that attracts the oohs and aahs at a restaurant, but more often than not we’re most impressed by the way chefs can get so much flavour into seemingly simple elements on the plate. While at home we might fret over which seasonal vegetables to serve with our pigeon starter or how best to present a bowl of stew, professional chefs are focusing on how to intensify the sauce for their veal or make the carrot and ginger really sing in their soup.
With all the recipes and ingredients available to us today, it’s important to occasionally take a step back and make sure we’ve got a grasp of the basics. Without mastering these, it doesn’t matter how good we are at plating up or how many different types of paprika you’ve used in your main course. Here are five soups and sauces that should be in the repertoire of any accomplished home cook.