Cartes et Menus de Restaurant – Dictionnaire français – anglais – Geneviève de Temmerman & Didier Chedorge
Reviewed by Françoise Herrmann

Publisher: Editions Scribo in Paris (France)
Publication date: June 2007 – Third Edition
ISBN 2-9503317-3-4 (France)
Available from:
55 € (approx. $85.00)

Scribo's Cartes et Menus de Restaurant - Dictionnaire français-anglais (compiled by Geneviève de Temmerman and Didier Chedorge) was primarily designed as a reference and translation dictionary for professionals of the restaurant industry. By extension, this is a tool that dovetails perfectly with the needs of professional translators, summoned to translate for the restaurant industry from French to English. Researched with the collaboration of French restaurants and the faculty at renowned culinary art schools such as l'École LeNôtre, this prize-winning 475-page dictionary, with more than 11,000 entries, has become a premium reference for restaurants and professional training schools throughout France and Europe. Thus, when you have exhausted all your general-purpose-institutional-giant dictionary resources, and you need a specialized dictionary to translate (and to understand) French menu items such as à la Nantaise (Nantes-style), à la Navarraise (Navarre-style),à la Parisienne (Paris-style) or à la Nantua (Nantua-style), Scribo's Cartes et Menus de Restaurant not only supplies translations, it also offers definitions (termed explanations) of chefspeak!

Depth - Varieties and concordant preparations
Most headwords in Scribo’s Cartes et Menus de Restaurant explode with varieties and concordant preparations designed to supply inspiration for restaurant professionals and a treasure trove for translators. For example, a headword such as saumon (salmon) lists 11 different varieties of salmon and 62 different types of concordant preparations, to which are cross-referenced another 125 concordant methods of preparing fish (under the headword poisson [fish])! The result, beyond varieties such as saumon d’Écosse (Scottish salmon) and saumon du gave (mountain stream salmon), is an in-depth list of salmon preparations such as cervelas de saumon (salmon sausage), pavé de saumon (thick salmon steak) and saumon à l'unilatéral (salmon cooked on one side only), further cross-referenced with an extensive list of concordant generic-fish preparations, among which you will find the following examples:

[…] à l’aigre-doux: […] in a sweet and sour sauce
[…] à l’aigelette: [...] in a lightly tart sauce
[…] à l'aneth: […] with dill
[…] à l’embeurée de poireaux : […] with buttered leeks
[…] à l’oseille: […] with sorrel
[…] à la diable: devilled […] (with piquant sauce)
[…] à la fleur de sel: […] with pure sea salt
[…] à la nage: […] in aromatic broth
[…] à la vapeur: steamed […]
[…] à la vapeur de basilique: […] steamed with basil
[…] au barbecue: barbecued […]
[…] au beurre blanc: […] in white butter sauce
[…] au beurre de ciboulette : […] in chive butter
[…] au beurre de nage:[…] in a light white butter sauce
[…] au beurre sur un lit d’épinards crèmes: […] with butter sauce on a bed of creamed spinach
[…] au beurre vert: […] with herb butter
[…] au champagne: […] cooked with champagne
[…] au cidre: […] cooked with cider
[…] au coulis de langoustines: […] with a Dublin Bay prawn sauce
[…] au court-bouillon: […] poached in an aromatic stock

This generous mapping of culinary varieties and preparations will surprise you as it is applied throughout the dictionary, with consistent attention to detail, for headwords as unexpected as vapeur (steam) or côte (chop, cutlet [1. lamb […], 2. beef rib, 3. venison […], 4. mutton […], 5. porc […], 6. veal […]), including listing of all the sumptuous preparations for each type of “chop”.

Breadth - Desserts included and indexing
Beyond in-depth mapping of food varieties and their exquisite preparations, Scribo's Cartes et Menus de restaurant also spans breadth of corpus. Included in this dictionary you will find:

Contextualization - translation tips and definitions
Scribo suggests that using Cartes et Menus de Restaurant for translating menus is as easy as playing with Legos™. The analogy holds true to the extent that translation tips are provided wherever the symbol […] appears for key entries, guiding you to fill-in the spaces (or to substitute) with your own choice of terms, just as easily as you would switch Lego™ bricks. Thus, for example, in the above list of fish preparations, you could have: saumon (salmon), dorade (sea bream), glane (sheatfish) or lotte (anglerfish) à l’aigre-doux (in sweet and sour sauce). Similarly, Cartes et Menus de Restaurant walks you through constructions such as: […] à la vapeur (steamed […]), and […] à la vapeur de… ([…] steamed with …) for anyone with hesitations regarding comparative word orders.

On a more advanced linguistic level, you will no doubt find the definitions (termed explanations) supplied with translations most useful, in addition to the bounty of examples. Thus, it is one step to find the translation for à l'oriental (Oriental-style) and another, perhaps more significant, to understand that this means “with semolina and chickpeas”. Likewise, the same would hold true for a trou Normand (a Normandy-style break) referring to “a glass of Calvados or other alcohol served between courses of a meal” or for […] à la Normande (Normandy–style […]), referring to “a preparation with local Normandy products such as seafood, butter, fresh cream, apples, cider or Calvados”. The definitions, supplied with translations in Cartes et Menus de restaurant, are simply invaluable.

At the end of the day
When it comes to translating menu items such as courte-nage (aromatic broth), pithiviers (puff pastry with filling) and Ttoro (basque-style fish-soup) ; figuring out what a particular type of preparation means such as à l’écarlate (pickled), à la dieppoise (with white wine) and à la dijonaise (Dijon-style with mustard); or discovering the evocative ways of referring to the presentation of food such as pommes de terre en robe des champs (potatoes in their skins), aumonière de caviar (caviar in a beggar's purse [a thin crêpe]) and bombe cardinal (ice-cream topped with red fruit), you will find that Scribo's Cartes et Menus de restaurant has done the research for you. This is a technical dictionary that has charted extensive territory in the domain of culinary arts (including pastry), and all of the ingredients, varieties, preparations, and creativity subsumed in writing and translating menus. Cartes et Menus de restaurant is a definite (and succulent) must-have for all translators of menus and à la carte. Get it and bon appétit!!