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Chef's Dish: Easy Kitchen Knife Cutting Techniques

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Using proper knife cutting techniques is important to properly cut food and to use your kitchen cutlery safely. Executive Chef Frank Barrett-Mills offers great knife cutting techniques and tips for you to learn from. But what other tips and tricks could be out there? Let’s cover some of the easy kitchen knife cutting techniques. 

Julienne

This involves slicing your food, such as a bell pepper, into strips. Chef Frank demonstrates this technique to ensure you get even and consistent cuts every time. You will want to use your nondominant hand to guide your knife by holding the food with your fingertips and then bend those fingers so they line up parallel to your knife. Doing this will:

  • Help guide your knife
  • Maintain a consistent size
  • Keep your fingers safe

Dicing

You can dice in a variety of sizes depending on what dish you need your diced food for. The first, and most important trick to ensure you dice properly, easily, and safely is having a flat surface to cut on. This doesn’t just apply to the cutting board but also the food you are dicing.


If your product is round, slice a little bit off to give it a flat bottom to place it on while you dice. You can also square it off to ensure every surface of the product is flat. Dicing requires three different directional cuts:

  • Lengthwise
  • Widthwise
  • Heightwise

This will get you your diced cubes. The distance between each slice you make will help determine the size of your cubes. 

Batonnet

These cuts can be considered a flatter and wider version of the julienne technique. For this technique you will also want to trim off the round to have a flat surface to rest the product on, just like with dicing. Then you can proceed to square it off. After that, you will cut down and then across to create strips similar to the julienne technique but with wider and flatter pieces. 

Chiffonade 

This technique can be used on leafy greens or leafy, fresh herbs like basil. You will take your product and then roll it up together. Be sure to use the technique of keeping your fingertips on the product but fingers bent to be parallel with your knife to keep your fingers safe. Then you make very thin cuts. This technique can help enhance the flavors of your herbs. 

Chop

The chop is a simple, yet classic cutting technique. You will want to remember the knife never actually leaves the cutting board since you will work it in a rocking motion. This can be done by keeping your dominant hand on your knife handle and taking the nondominant hand to press the tip end down to ensure it doesn’t leave the cutting board as you rock the knife with the dominant hand. To ensure a finer chop, you can repeat this technique multiple times. 

Mince

You want to follow the same motion and handling techniques used for chopping to mince. You just need to ensure you repeat the technique many times to truly mince your product rather than just have it be finely chopped. Mincing is great for finely chopping:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Shallots

Crescent Cut

This cut is good to use for a vegetable you want to keep the skin on. You’re essentially going to be cutting what will look like half circles. You can start by cutting your vegetables in half, long ways. Then proceed to slice each half to create little half circles, or crescents. Thus the name crescent cut. You will want to make sure the thicknesses are the same like with a julienne.

Tomato Cut

This cut is for tomatoes or even cucumbers, and you will want to be sure you’re using a serrated knife for it. You want a serrated knife with an offset blade for this to ensure you cut all the way through to the board without risking your fingers. You simply will take this knife and slice through your tomato or cucumber to get perfect slices. 

Onion Cut

Well, according to Executive Chef Frank Barrett-Mills, the easiest way to cut an onion, uses a chef's knife. You will want to first cut your onion in half so half of the root in the center is present to help hold your onion together while cutting. Put the onion flat side down on the cutting board so you can then cut some grooves in the onion, horizontally. Be careful with the nondominant hand and put it on top of the onion to hold it down and keep your fingers away from the blade.

You can then start to cut across with perpendicular cuts to the grooves you made. Then you make your final cuts that are parallel to the grooves you cut to get your perfectly cut onion. This helps get all the pieces the same size.