Cutting food is a fundamental skill for any chef, and cutting techniques can vary depending on what you are cutting or cooking. You should be cutting with the sharpest knife possible to make cutting easier and more precise. To start, we’ll focus on the 8 cutting techniques that every chef should know how to do:
- Slicing is a cutting technique that is most often used during cutting. Slicing needs to be done thinly and evenly to ensure that all parts of the food are cut.
2. Dicing is a cutting technique in which you slice something into small, square pieces. Dicing often requires more precision than slicing because there are no straight lines when it comes to dicing your food; instead, you’ll need to get creative with what shapes and sizes work for the particular food.
3. Julienning is a cutting technique in which you cut the food into long, thin strips–for carrots or cucumbers for example. Julienne cuts are often used to make it easier to eat your vegetables and they also can be used as garnishes on certain dishes.
4. Chiffonade is an elegant way to cut leafy vegetables and certain herbs. To start, you’ll need to stack the leaves together lengthwise so they form a long pile that is then rolled up tightly from one end of your palm to another. Once it’s rolled up as tightly as possible, carefully slice into thin ribbons with either a knife or mandoline slicer–chiffonade is a good technique to cut basil or mint, for example.
5. Shredding is cutting food with the intention of creating thin strands so you can incorporate it into another dish–like pulling apart your carrots and adding them in as part of a salad dressing.
6. Mince is an easy way to quickly chop up vegetables. To start, cut the vegetable in half down its length and then chop off any tough parts. Then you will want to mince your vegetables by chopping them a few times across with your knife.
7. Cross chop is regularly used if you are cooking foods that need to be browned, like ground beef. To start, you’ll want to cut the meat into strips and then make horizontal cuts across it with your knife or a bench scraper.
8. Rock chop similar to the cross chop, hold the handle of your knife in one hand and rock the blade up and down to make quick, horizontal cuts. Rock chopping is especially good for finely mincing herbs or garlic without over-running them with the blade of your knife.