The Five Mother Sauces (should they be updated)

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Joined Oct 5, 2001

I have often wondered if the five mother sauces are still valid in today's cookery. When I consider the sauces it is the sauce espagnole that always puzzled me as to why this is a mother sauce. About the only time I remember ever seeing a chef make this base sauce was in culinary school. What I have seen most restaurant chefs using are demi-glace based sauces, coulis, compound butters, beurre blancs, and now foams. I honestly don't recall anyone ever making a classic espagnole sauce and I wonder if you have ever considered whether this should continue to be one of the five mother sauces. While I understand the importance of learning the classics the sauce Espagnole seems to be outdated.

I have also wondered why the Buerre Blanc is not considered a mother sauce mostly because it is so widely used. There is no base mother sauce for a buerre blanc.

Curious about your thoughts thanks.

Joined Apr 7, 2009
An espagnole is really the base for a demi-glace and is nowadays (without calling it as much) made, but without the roux and sometimes without all the tomatoes. Perhaps demi-glace should be named the fifth mother sauce just to avoid confusion. Beurre blanc wasn't discovered by the mainstream culinary community untiil the 60s and was always thought of as a regional (Brittany) sauce. But I think it should certainly be considered for inclusion.
Joined Apr 7, 2009
Ofcourse not. Although I must admit they have been around for ages; they are the beginning of some of the most fabulous dishes. Each of them serve a very important purpose in food preparation. Leave them alone i say. I think however maybe some one should come up with a new mother sauce.
Joined Jul 28, 2006
Perhaps they could be called "sister sauces". If that catches on, remember you heard it here first. :lol:


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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Folks, this is a Q&A with James Peterson. Please allow Mr. Peterson to address questions.
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