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History of... Chopping Styles

Whilst knowing the "how to" of different cutting techniques is important, knowing a little bit of background information on the style of cutting is as important and allows the chef to appreciate what they are doing.


 

The different types of cutting techniques mentioned below:

-> Julienne

-> Rock chop

-> The Batonnet

-> Brunoise

-> Paysanne

-> Chiffonade

-> Pont-Neuf

 

Julienne


It is a culinary knife cut in which food items are cut into long strips, mostly vegetables or fruit, similar to matchsticks. The popularity of this type of cut could be attributed to the vast use of this cutting style for most dishes. Ensures quick and even rate of cooking.


Mostly, it is used for firm produce such as:


  • Apples

  • Beets

  • Carrots

  • Bell peppers


It is named after French Julienne (1722), presumably given from the cutting technique which was used for potage julienne soup made up of thin vegetable slices. It is probably that it is named after a chef of the name Jules or Julien, but is not known as a fact but more of a speculation. Its first documented use of the term is from the 1722 edition of Francois Massia Lot’s Le Cuisnier Royal et Bourgeoi.




Chiffonade


This type of cut is mostly used to cut thin strips of a flat leafy vegetable or larger leaf herb. It roughly translates to “in rags” from French which mostly describes the cutting style and how the food item is left after going through the cutting process.


In the context of strict french cooking it the word means when lettuce & sorel is cut in this manner, which is then braised in butter to be used as a garnish on soup.


Pont-Neuf


-> Used to cut potatoes into what are essentially french fries


This could be the origin of both names as the story goes that the first place to have deep-frying facilities was near the Pont Neuf bridge, the oldest standing bridge across the Seine bridge.


Rock Chop


It is mostly to be used for finely mincing fresh herbs, zest or other aromatics. The aim is to use your hand to move the ingredient towards the knife while keeping the knife still, only going up and down.


There is no historic origin documented but what is probable is that this type of cutting style has been used for a long time without any special thought and then later-on given a name. Named after the rocking motion of the knife it minces the food item.


Paysanne


Consists of vegetables being sliced about 1mm thick. It is most useful for soups or other cooking methods that are short. This is to increase the surface area of which water can be absorbed into the ingredients while flavour is expelled outwards.


The word translates to “countryside”, this could be a reference to the more informal type of cut ingredient compared to more rigid french cutting techniques.


The Batonnet


Refers to the cutting of an ingredient into the baton or stick-like shape which allows rapid cooking of the food item.


It is also commonly used for raw vegetables such as cucumbers or zucchini to be presented and served as bit-sized hors d’oeuvre.




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