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With these cutting techniques, you’ll soon be an expert in the kitchen
Cutting correctly when cooking is an art in itself. Here we go over the most important cutting techniques that every chef should master.
Regardless of whether it’s vegetables, meat or fish, before you can tuck in, the ingredients need to be correctly prepared. This usually means “wielding” the knife – however, depending on how the dish is to be served, different cutting techniques are required. This not only makes the dish look more appetising; sometimes the recipe also calls for a certain ingredient to be cut as thin or thick as possible. The most important thing when it comes to cutting is, without doubt, a sharp knife—ensuring that everything from sweet potato to apples and meat can be chopped up effortlessly.
Vegetables in particular can be cut in countless different ways – into strips, cubes or rings, for example. Here, we provide an overview of some of the most common techniques.
With the Julienne technique, the vegetable is cut into very fine strips that are around 3mm in thickness. This is particularly suited to elongated vegetables such as carrots and cucumber, but can also be used for round vegetables. Food prepared using the Julienne technique tends to be used in salads or as garnish.
If a recipe calls for particularly small cubes, Brunoise is the right cutting technique. Once the food has been cut into strips – or Julienned – the strips are then rotated 90 degrees and diced into cubes of about 2mm on each side. Brunoised vegetables are great for hearty soups, broths and stock, as the small cubes give off more flavour.
The Paysanne technique – which translates to “the farmer’s way” – is mainly used when preparing fine-leaved root vegetables. The vegetable is cut into batons that are about 1.5cm thick, and then cut lengthways into 1-2mm thick slices.
For slicing vegetables into discs, the Vichy technique is best. It was made for cucumber, carrots and courgette, but is also often used for preparing mushrooms. The resulting vegetable discs are around 1-2cm thick.
When it comes to preparing meat and fish, the cutting technique varies depending on the animal in question. However, not every method has been created with the layman in mind. Some techniques should be left to the expert, as they require a little more knowledge of the animal’s anatomy. Deboning, for instance, should be left to a butcher, whereas with a bit of practice, both filleting and carving can be done yourself. For the latter, the meat is dissected and the best pieces cut out using a carving set. With filleting, on the other hand, the meat is removed from both sides of the spine and cut along the fibres.
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