Refers to a food that is prepared so that when it is cooked it has a brown, crusty surface. The term also refers to the cooking process used to achieve this effect. A hot oven, a broiler oven, or a cooking torch are all kitchen utensils used to produce the crust over foods that usually have a toppping of bread crumbs, grated cheese, and/or butter that help to achieve the browning. One misconception is that Au Gratin applies to any cooked dish with cheese as an ingredient, but there are many Au Gratin dishes that do not contain cheese. There are also recipes that have no added toppings and still form the brown crust that is characteristic of Au Gratin dishes. This term is also commonly known as "gratiné" and the pan most often used to prepare the food is referred to as a gratiné pan or a gratiné dish.