What makes the difference between a great chef and a cook?
Very often it's the attention to detail which distinguishes the accomplished chef.
Cooked Irish potatoes that are nicely rounded, fried fish decorated with a fancy-cut tomato or a dip with vegetables cut in a variety of shapes, these little touches in a well-prepared food add immeasurably to the pleasure of serving and eating a meal.
You don't need expensive kitchen equipment or endless hours of work to accomplish the same thing.If you learn the ABC's of cutting fruit and vegetables., you'll find your dishes taking on a new lease on life. Cut fruit and vegetable in squares, circles, slices wedges, or fancy sections, and make them stand out on the plate.
The various rectangular cuts can alter the time required for cutting.
Sticks: pieces 1/2 inch wide (1cm) and between 1 1/2 to 3 inches (3 to 6cm) long
Jardiniere: a stick cut in half lengthwise between 1 1/2 to 3 inches (3 to 6 cm)long, and 1/4 inch (0,5 cm)wide
Paysanne: a jardiniere cut in sections, between 1/2 to 1 inch (1 to 2,5 cm)in length and 1/4 inch (0,5 cm)wide
Julienne: slivers about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm)long and about as thick as a piece of cooked spaghetti
*For greater variety, rectangles can be given a diamond shape or cut slightly on the bias
To shape a vegetable, use an end, or cut the vegetable into sections 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1 inch (2,5 cm) thick, with a sharp knife, round the piece and pare away the ends to a slight point.
Diced: small cubes of 1/8 to 1/2 inch (2mm to 1 cm). Although the larger dimension is more usual.
Macedoine: vegetables diced in cubes of 1/4 to 1/2 inch(0,5 to 1cm)This can be done by cutting sticks of jardinières into even sections
Brunoise: tiny diced vegetables, done by cutting julienned ingredients into even sections
Slices and Wedges
Slice: a horizontal or cross cut, as with a cucumber
Wedge: a round vegetable or fruit cut into quarters or sometimes eighths, eg., the natural vertical division of an orange
Balls: small, rounded pieces of different diameters. Use a 'Paristian spoon' to shape them. Vegetables such as; carrots, parsnips, and turnips are easily cut in this way, as are firm-fleshed fruits such as; apples,melons, or cantaloupes. Depending on their size, they are called parisienne (about 3/4 inch or 2 cm), noisette (about 5/8 inch or 1,5 cm), pearl (about 3/8 inch or 1 cm) or olive (an oval about 3/8 x 3/4 inch or 1 x 2 cm)
The food processor and chopper make it possible to cut food in a number of ways: finely or thickly sliced, chopped (into very small pieces), grated or shredded, or wavy cuts