is store-bought demi-glace "cheating?"

Joined Apr 6, 2010
i like to make veal stock. i find it relaxing and fun - plus it makes the whole house smell great. but with veal bones at around $5/lb locally, it's an expensive undertaking. plus, it takes all day. and then you've got to reduce it further to get your glace.

so... i've on occasion used the more than gourmet brand of pre-made demi glace (demi-glace gold) and found it to be pretty useful. my question is, do pro chefs look down their noses at this stuff? 
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I use all of my soup Bases in my Cafe for home use. I made Chicken Piccata yesterday and used some of the base to make some chicken stock. It was fast and easy for me to accomplish this dish. I feel whatever your happy with, the hell with what anyone else thinks about it. I wouldn't want to see a line up of Knor Swiss products lining the shelves of a high end restaurant but, for home use do what feels good to you....................ChefBillyB
Joined Feb 17, 2010
Wow!!!!  $34 for 16oz of this stuff..... I think I would skip the demi and make something else.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I agree with you, bscepter. A little more than two bucks an ounce is a bargain when you add up the time it takes to make.

As to cheating, I'd say not. Pros use premade and preprepped products all the time. Soup bases are the most common case. But what about IQF products? Are they cheating? What if you bought your desserts from the bakery down the street? Is that cheating?

Personally, I believe that any ingredient which provides the quality level you want is ok to use. And, while we can sometimes get snotty about making everything from scratch, what does that actually mean? Carl Sagen once said, "if you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, first create the universe." There's a lot of truth in that.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Some places use it , some do not. Like other products there are bases and then there are bases. Spme brands are junk , cheap and pure salt. Some brands are quality and not cheap. If you take into consideration the labor factor without sacrificing quality you can't beat the expensive brands. .There is one brand that it's demi is as good as the one we about $28.00 a pound. Read the labels usually the ones that list roasted and cooked meat first are higher in quality.. There is a compay in Jersey that makes a variety of these bases both hi -end and cheaper versions.
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
what's your take on the demi-glace gold stuff?
It happens to be one of the finer ones... The biggest problem with bases as a lot of the older guys on this site will tell you is that when they first came out in the late 50s they were used as enhancers or to help an existing stock or sauce or soup. Over the years they totally replaced the stock, soup and sauce, The bases though have also gotten a lot better. In the beginning they were junk. They could be purchased wholesale for abot $2.00 a 16 oz. jar. Lets face it, we are all not working in places like T.Keller has ,nor can we charge his prices. he would through it out the window.
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
For home use, whatever works, works.

For restaurant use, it all depends....

If the bqt dept is charging $29.99 for a prime rib 3 courser, and the head count is over 300, then it makes sense to buy commercial stuff.

If the place is a 40 seater and you only have one 4 -eye range and a 24" griddle, you really don't have the stove space for hours and hours of simmering.

But if you do a significant amount of in-house butchering, the meat guys can sell you a case of veal bones at a decent price, and you have a 40 or 60 qt (or even larger) steam kettle available for a day or two, then you should be making it.
Joined Jan 24, 2011
It is pretty much impossible to get veal bones.  There are no butchers in my area, that I know of.  Everyone goes to Walmart, which doesn't have a butcher to my knowledge.
Joined Feb 12, 2011
Personally, I believe that any ingredient which provides the quality level you want is ok to use. And, while we can sometimes get snotty about making everything from scratch, what does that actually mean? Carl Sagen once said, "if you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, first create the universe." There's a lot of truth in that.
Love that quote!! 

It's only "cheating" if you feel that you unecessarily sacrificed quality to save time. In this case (honestly I find this example kinda ridiculous) you would save 20+ hours?  Really I don't think there are many people who even make a simple chicken broth anymore, let alone a glace!

We chefs can be a pretty elitist, snooty bunch of yahoos. Don't worry about what they think. Just ask yourself, was that damn good! or just soso.
Joined Oct 22, 2010
If you can't get veal bones, use beef bones. They are a lot cheaper and make great stock as well. If you need to boost the gelatin count then toss in a pigs foot or hock. Freeze in ice cube trays and then vac-pac them in batches of 10-12 and toss them back into the freezer. They last a long time.

We always have a stockpot simmering on a back burner in 2 day cycles to make glace de viande. Literally go through buckets of the stuff in a week.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
I would venture to say that quite a few restaurants buy their bread is that cheating?

When I consider whether to make or buy, I ask (1.)"can I make it better?" and (2.)"will buying it mean a dramatic change to my menu prices?"

For me: bread (1.)no (2.)no

            demi (1.)yes (2.)yes

Simple math. 

For home use I change (2.)"do I want to hassle with it"

For me: bread (1.)no (2.)sometimes

            demi (1.)yes (2.)yes

A little more complicated but still simple.
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Joined May 14, 2010
As far as chefs looking down on it, I'd say mine definitely would agree with you. We work in a small kitchen, our line is big enough for 3 people with minimal bow room. We have only 6 burners, 1 fryer, a convection and a foot and half wide grill. We only serve dinner which works out for our prep. But back to it, we do not have the space to constantly have a stock pot going. We do stocks, and we do actually do veal stocks down to Demi, but it takes over a week. Typically the chef buys reduced thickened veal Demi glacé, and adds his own spin to it. It's actually a good product, and I prefer it over his Demi in house. You gotta do what works and makes sense
Joined Jun 11, 2011
I know how to make demi and stocks on my own. However we buy some quality demi and use that. The end result is about the same. You wouldn't really be able to tell. The only difference is I didn't make it. It saves me time so I can work on more prep, and saves the company money in labor and utility costs to keep the gas/electric on for days at a time. 

Here's the way I see it as being a chef. If someone just scoops out some demi from a container and knows nothing about the product or its use, but they just know it tastes good, to me that is cheating. If someone can make a good one from scratch using the actual bones and other ingredients but chooses not to, to save time and money then it's not, because they understand the full fundamentals and use of that product. 
Joined Apr 3, 2010
I use a commercial already made one as a backup and I must say it is excellent. Not cheap though.
Joined Jan 27, 2012
I guess I was taught by some pretty old school chefs because to this day I still won't make it completely from a base. I do use bases in my restaurant (and don't feel like I'm cheating) but I use them as enhancers to add to some I already have reducing.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
As far as soup  bases ?  I agree they should be used for enhancers only not the total . However the demi is used as is and it taste like the one we make.

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