Knife Skills: The Batonnet, a Visual Tutorial

Heather says:

Learning knife skills is a great way to increase your speed in meal preparation, the faster you can complete a meal’s prep-work the sooner you can get to the fun part. Don’t get upset if the first few (or twenty) times you attempt to follow these tutorials if you take a long time or your finished product isn’t perfect. It’s just like any other craft, it takes time to develop your skillset. You wouldn’t expect to pick up a violin and play Vivaldi on your first try, don’t expect to create a perfect brunoise on your first attempt.

Today we’re looking at the batonnet. The batonnet is a fancy French word for stick and it is the first step toward creating an even dice, whether you are looking to create a large dice, medium dice, small dice, brunoise, or fine bruinoise.

If you think about batonnet as the process of removing the uneven portions of a fruit or vegetable, you’re well on your way.

Jonathan Kaldas, Chef de Partie of  Woodlands Inn -and good friend of mine- graciously agreed to let me photograph him for this visual knife skills tutorial. For this I am quite grateful, as photographing myself is ridiculously difficult. The knife used in the photographs is a Mac Ultimate Chef 10.5“.

Let’s get started:

In this batonnet tutorial, we’re using a russet (or Idaho) potato, just keep in mind the same general technique applies to all other produce.

If you want to be precise, your final batonnet should be 1/4″ thick and 2.5 to 3” in length.

Remember, sharp knives are safe knives and we’ve got a knife sharpening tutorial if you need some pointers.

 

 

Questions?



9 Comments

  1. sstokman on June 11, 2012 at 3:39 am

    I’m clearly not a gourmet chef as I ask this, but what would you use this style of cutting for? What kind of dish? And great photos- SO helpful! Love your blog!

    • HeatherSolos on June 11, 2012 at 8:29 am

       @sstokman This cut is the basis for the julienne and bruinoise. Julienne produces thin, even strips and bruinoise creates a very small dice. Having vegetables that are cut in this, thin reproducible way helps create predictable results with dishes. So, down the road when I share more tutorials on creating an even dice, you’ll know that it’s so all of the vegetables cook in the predicted (recipe) way. Does that help?

  2. Jessica Cohen on June 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Great pointers! (bad pun intended).

  3. DawnSandomeno on June 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I have always been afraid to do this with the boys, now I realize I need to go over this with them.

    • HeatherSolos on June 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

       @DawnSandomeno absolutely, my 8yo is becoming fairly proficient, even if his fine muscle coordination isn’t that great (he’s on the autism spectrum). The sooner you teach your children knife skills (especially focusing on safety) the more time they have to become proficient which will lead to less frustration down the road. . .  🙂

  4. Emme on June 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for all of the help you provide! I’ve been reading for quite some time and I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blog Award.  You can get all the info here:  http://agentaemme.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/sunshine-bloggers-award/

    • HeatherSolos on June 11, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Thank you. I really appreciate that. 

  5. QuiltinJenny on June 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I love these types of posts!  Keep ’em coming! 
     
    Even though I consider myself a fairly experienced cook, sometimes the way I was taught to do something isn’t the most efficient or best way to do it.  I love watching my cousin-in-law, a trained chef, because I always learn something new.
     
    Thanks Jonathan!

    • HeatherSolos on June 8, 2012 at 2:03 am

       @QuiltinJenny thanks! I’ll pass it along. We had fun and I’ll be doing more work with him in the future, as the knife skills section could really use some additions. 🙂

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