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April 21, 2013

Knife Cuts and Skills

A main focus of any beginning culinary class is gaining confidence, speed, and accuracy with basic knife skills.  My class was no exception.  We were encouraged to practice, practice, practice and taught many different cuts and shapes.  

ARD Culinary Concepts makes visual knife cuts models that are a must for a culinary student.  At Chef's recommendation, I also got the book The Professional Chef's Knife Kit by the Culinary Institute of America.  A good portion of our midterm test was made up of a knife skills practical exam, and we were not told which cuts would be on it.  The ziploc in the photo above is a 5-lb bag of potatos reduced to a medium dice as practice.

Technical specifications:  the large dice is a culinary knife cut measuring ¾ inch × ¾ inch × ¾ inch.  The batonnet measures ½ inch × ½ inch × 2½-3 inches. It is also the starting point for another cut, the medium dice.  The medium dice measures ½ inch × ½ inch × ½ inch.  Measuring ¼ inch × ¼ inch × 2½-3 inches, the allumette is sometimes referred to as the "matchstick cut." It's also the starting point for the small dice.  The small dice measures ¼ inch × ¼ inch × ¼ inch and is produced by slicing the allumette into ¼ inch sections.   The julienne cut measures 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2½ inches.  The brunoise knife cut (pronounced BROON-wahz) measures 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch.  The fine julienne knife cut measures 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 2 inches. It's also the starting point for the fine brunoise cut.  The fine brunoise knife cut (pronounced BROON-wahz) measures 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch. Tiny!

How are your knife skills at home?  Do you think they would compare on a professional level?  If you have a story of an ER visit due to cooking please leave a comment on my blog--hopefully it ended well.

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