Authors : Joshita Bhasin & Simran
Since the time you were a young child, your first memories of the kitchen must have been the heavenly sight of your mother, or father cooking a scrumptious meal that went down your famished stomach like golden nectar! (No exaggeration intended!)
Rewind a bit backward, and you’ll find yourself reminiscing all the times when your mum spent most of her cooking time cutting and chopping her veggies. Now, do most of us pay heed to our cutting styles? It has always been something very routine and mundane. But, right from the Mecca of Food Blogging, we bring to you this boiling pot of culinary hacks!
Food is something that plays along the aesthetic factor. A good cook is always up to date with recipes, but without precision and technique, your meal is bound to go awry. Cutting has to be systematic, and to your suprise there’s a ton of techniques you can employ!
Why cut professionally? The important reason, after aesthetics is uniformity. Take a carrot, for instance. It goes from very fat to very thin and most people will use a coin cut to slice it. This leaves very large and very small pieces in relation to itself. Why is this important? Well, large pieces take longer to cook (Especially when it comes to carrots). Uniformity in cutting ensures that you have even, predictable cooking times. Nobody wants carrots that are mushy and hard at the same time!
Joshita recounts, “When I joined chef school, for three straight weeks, we were taught nothing but theory. It began to get real boring and I always kept wondering when would get to step into that massive professional kitchen and start chopping! Boy oh boy! Never did I expect that, that same thing I was once looking forward to, would turn out to be a HUGE task. Knowing your cuts is the first thing that is taught in a chef school, after kitchen hygiene. In order to make your food look more appealing, one must know what cut of fruits and vegetables is used where. Imagine having big chunks of cabbage in your coleslaw salad! displeasure, isn’t it? If you had that big graduation dinner or thanksgiving party at your place, don’t think you’d make a mark with poorly presented and subliminally cooked meals.”
Here at Flarebuzz Food, we have taken an oath to provide you some basic knowledge of the cuts, so you can do it like a pro!
Before jumping to cutting techniques, let’s take a dig at squaring items. You may generate some waste here and here, but, that’s the plus point of being in the food industry – One Man’s Waste Is Another Man’s Gold! Don’t worry too much about waste pieces, they’ll be used somewhere. We assure you that. Some basic pointers before you begin,
● If you want speed and low waste, you’ll lose uniformity.
● If you want low waste and uniformity, you’ll lose speed.
● If you want speed and uniformity, you’ll have more waste.
● Understanding these conditions, you will come to settle on a spot that is comfortable to you. Many industry professionals will settle somewhere in the middle.
Now that you’re ready, let’s get chopping! Here are the most commonly used Professional Cutting Styles by Masterchefs across the world :-
This cut is best suited to Finely shredded leafy vegetables, such as herbs or spinach. Stack up the items you need to slice. Roll them up to the ends, producing a cylindrical shape. (One that resembles cigarettes) and begin your cut, en chiffonade! This cut is most suited to garnishing finished dishes.
Extremely thin cut strips. Julienne cuts are extremely common with Spanish Food. The visual below will help you get a sense of it. As delicious as it makes food look, it is an art to be learned. Square your items first. Then, cut atop producing matchstick like thin strips. Use this when you make your Chowmein next!
(Pronounced as Bruno-aa) The Baton style (or the largest stick you can cut) lays the foundation for Brunoise. These are called Small cubes. Used in Salads, generally involving the use of Tofu.
(Pronounced as Paisa-aan) Thinly sliced shapes, either triangular, square or round. These are perfect culinary delights while making soups!
(Pronounced- Masa-de-on) These notify generally larger cuts and are used extensively in stews and long cooking dishes. Also known as large dice and extremely popular cross culture because of its quick nature. You may end up having a lot of waste using this method. Remember our word of wisdom stated above regarding waste!
Pronounced Jar-de-nee-yer. Small batons.
Wine- Barrel Shaped cuts.
Knowing your cuts is not only important while cooking, they play an extremely major role when it comes to food styling and photography as well.
You can’t shoot a plate of food with haphazardly cut stuff in it! Every element needs to be precise, in order for it to look like a beautifully organised palatable mess.
A last word of caution : You won’t perfect these cuts overnight. Practise will make thy perfect!