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Cooking for Servers: Types of Protein (aka Meat)

For all those servers who want the cooking staff to hate them just a little bit less
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Cooking for Servers is rundown of the most rudimentary aspects of professional cooking. While beyond unnecessary for working cooks, these summaries are intended to educate other factions of the wait staff so that they may better communicate with the BOH.


The term protein is used to refer to meat products, and the term cut will refer to the specifics regarding how big the piece of meat is and what part of the animal it came from. The majority of people know the most common types of meat, some of these being; tri-tip, filet mignon, New York steak, ribeye and others.

However, as an employee of a restaurant it is very important to know what these and other terms mean. This chapter will go over all meat related terminology.

Beef Any product that comes from cattle or veal (including veal which is a calf).

Poultry Domestic birds, chickens, turkey and roosters.

Foul Foul is similar to poultry but usually served at rare temperatures. Technically, fowl is a older bird can be either wild of domestic. Fowl tends to be large in size and over 10 months of age. Being a more developed bird, fowl is most often cooked with moist heat such and braising.

Game Game birds are wild birds of any age, it can be small or large, and old or young. Cooking methods differ because of the range in size and age of many different species. There is also a classification of game animals. This refers to traditionally wild animals (although in rare cases these animals are farmed) and are classified into sizes. Small game includes hare, rabbit, muskrat, squirrel, quail, squab, duck and any other small wild animals. Big game animals include wild boar, reindeer, venison, elk, moose, ostrich, antelope and any other large wild animal.

Pork Any product that comes from pigs.

Fish Though there are thousands of different species of fish used for food. Some of the most common fish found in restaurants are salmon, halibut, tuna, sole, swordfish, talapia, seabass and snapper

One way to categorize fish is by being fresh water (meaning they were fished out of waters other than oceans and seas), or farmed which means they come from a commercial facility consisting of lakes and or ponds used to farm fish for food.

Other categories describe the characteristics of the fish have to do with the texture or density when cooked. Steak-like fish would include; swordfish, tuna, salmon and shark, while white flaky fish would include white fish, halibut, dover, and sole. Different fish can be in multiple categories depending on there individual traits.

Shellfish The most important thing to note regarding shellfish is that they are a common food allergy, which usually is related to an iron deficiency. The most common shellfish harvested for consumption are mouluscs and crustaceans. Common crustaceans includ crab, lobster, shrimp, prawns and crawfish.Common moluscs include scallops, clams, mussels, cockles and oysters.

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