Culinary Knife Cuts from Allumette to Julienne

In a restaurant, culinary knife cuts have to be precise. Culinary knife cuts offer a standardization to meal preparation. Any chef can prepare a meal since the exact sizes of food prep are known. At home, of course, the precision does not need to be there. But knowing and using culinary knife cuts at home are necessary to make sure all foods get cooked equally. I’m sure we all have come across meals where some carrot bits are small and mushy while others are large and still pretty hard. If they were cut uniformly, they would all be cooked the same. Here are the standard culinary knife cuts. Try using them as much as you can.

As with any knife cut, a good sharp knife is important. Whether you use a chef knife or a santoku, keeping it sharp will not only make cleaner cuts, but also be safer. I like a whetstone for sharpening, but single and double stage manual or electric sharpeners will work. For more info on kitchen knives, or accessories, visit one of my other sites at: www.YourCutleryHelper.com.

Culinary Knife Cuts

Standardized knife cuts come in 2 varieties: strip cuts and cube cuts. Cube cuts start as a standard strip cut, then simply cut into cubes.

Strip Cuts

The Batonnet Knife Cut

Culinary Knife Cuts - Batonnet

Translated literally from French, batonnet means “little stick”. The batonnet measures approximately ½ inch × ½ inch × 2 inches. It is also the starting point for the medium dice.

The Allumette Knife Cut

Culinary Knife Cuts - Allumette

Sometimes also called the “matchstick cut” (which is the translation of “allumette” from French) the allumette measures approximately ¼ inch × ¼ inch × 2 inches. It’s also the starting point for the small dice.

The Julienne Knife Cut

Knife Cuts - Julienne

An urban legend has this cut named for Julia Child, but the first reference to it occurs in François Massialot’s Le Cuisinier Royal in 1722. The julienne measures approximately 1/8 inch × 1/8 inch × 2 inches. It’s also the starting point for the brunoise cut.

The Fine Julienne Knife Cut

Measures approximately 1/16 inch × 1/16 inch × 2 inches. It’s also the starting point for the fine brunoise cut.

Cube Cuts

Large Dice (Carre)

Cubes with sides measuring approximately ¾ inch.

Medium Dice (Parmentier)

Cubes with sides measuring approximately ½ inch, created by cutting the batonnet cut into cubes.

Small Dice (Macedoine)

Cubes with sides measuring approximately ¼ inch, created by cutting the allumette cut into cubes.

The Brunoise Knife Cut

Knife Cuts - Brunoise

Tiny cubes, with sides measuring approximately 1/8 inch, created by cutting the julienne into cubes.

Fine Brunoise

Even tinier cubes, with sides measuring approximately 1/16 inch, created by cutting the fine julienne into cubes.

 

There are other types of cuts, but they get pretty exotic, and the level of difficulty of these cuts rise dramatically. I’ll leave them for another day!

Enjoy!

 

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About Mark Jala

As a relationship coach, speaker and upcoming author, Mark Jala focuses on 4 important topics: Understanding Our Needs, Relationship Skills, Communication Skills and Proper Conversation during Family Dinner. Mark has a mission to build a new generation of strong families through constructive communication during family meals. With a passion for cooking, Mark started several websites to help home cooks consistently make delicious, attractive and aromatic meals. Mark enjoys photography, tennis, white water rafting, camping, and the views of living on a lake.

Comments

  1. Hi – thanks for sharing your info. Wikipedia has Batonnet as 1/4 x 1/4 (vs. half inch). Not sure which is right. Thanks!

    re: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_culinary_knife_cuts

    • Thanks for the info. I go to Wikipedia a lot, but just as schools frown on using Wikipedia as a reliable source, this is an example why. I checked several of my culinary resources and they all stick to the 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch size. I may go to Wikipedia and change it.

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