The Knife is the most useful tool in a chefs collection. It is also his most prized. That isnt just some macho B.S. either. Even in medieval times people carried a knife on their hips as a eating utensil and mode of self defense. Much later in history we find an increase of sophistication in table manners and industrialization which brought about a much more accesible and safer set of knives that were left at the table for anyone that sat in that place rather than everyone carrying their own utensils. There was, until recently, only one knife used by the chinese for many jobs which emplyed the mini-maxi approach to selecting the arsenal. A French chef in modern times will carry several knives specific to the job at hand. There is also a vast amount of cuts made in French cooking where as the chinese usually have already cut the food into bite sized pieces. This is definitive at the table in that the French need more table ware in order to make the food more accesible to the mouth whereas the Chinese only need chopsticks to get the job done. Unison cuts make it easier to cook in a wok as well, not a method of cooking in French cuisine.
The French knife cuts consist of:
Mince - Herbs, garlic, etc.
Rough Chop - Mirepoix, etc.
Oblique or Roll cut
Gaufrette - a waffle cut made by a mandoline
Fanning - Self explainitory
Breaking Down Tuna
Martin Yan Breaking down a Chicken
1/2 Moon- Usually done with cucumbers and squash.
Julienne- Matchstick sized, My favorite knife cut
Brunoise- Dice of a Julienne. Dingo did this while talking on the phone.
Lardons- I wish I would have taken a photo of these before I cooked them. They were sliding right off the Glestain so perfectly.
Chiffonade- Usually rolled herbs sliced super thin. My other favorite knife cut. This is mint used in the candied orange zest and mint tangle for the orange semifreddo.
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