If you want to impress your friends and family, or have dreams of becoming a chef, there are several styles of formal vegetable cuts that are worth learning about. That is Julienne, Chiffonade, Jardiniere, Brunoise, Macedoine and also Paysanne. The secret is to make the vegetables look uniform with neat edges. Once you learn how to make these cuts, you're sure to never coarsely chop vegetables again.
Step 1. Learn the size of each piece
- Julienne. According to most people, the standard Julienne cut is 4mm x 4mm x 5cm or 1/8 x 1/8 x 2 inches. 1/8 inch is about 3mm, so sizes do vary from one cooking school to another.
- Chiffonade. This cut is most often used on green leafy plants and herbs for things like garnishes, lettuce, and coleslaw. It's basically a very thin shred. Size definitions tend to be informal as there doesn't seem to be a definite size, so luckily it's easier to work with what feels practical.
- Jardiniere. This is a form of baton in vegetables. They are shorter and thicker with a range from 2cm x 4mm x 4mm (4/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 inches) or as large as 4cm x 10mm x 10mm (1.5 x 2/5 x 2/5 inches).
- Brunoise. Brunoise is a thin dice that measures 4mm x 4mm x 4mm, or 1/8 x 1/8 x 1/8 inch.
- Macedonian. This is a slightly larger style of dice with sizes ranging from 5mm cubes to 10mm cubes (10mm being the more common size).
- Paysanne. It has the meaning of “Farmers” but its size is much more flexible.
Step 2. Practice the Julienne method first
Since all the methods are quite similar, with other pieces borrowing or continuing the same method as Julienne's pieces, this is the best skill you can start with.
Method 1 of 6: Julienne
Step 1. Choose vegetables:
Julienne can be applied to any solid vegetable, such as carrots, celery, potatoes, capsicum/peppers, turnips, swede / rutabaga, zucchini / courgette, sweet potatoes / kumara, etc. Vegetables like onions, or soft fruit like tomatoes are not suitable for Julienne cuts.
Step 2. Peel your vegetables and slice them into 5cm/2-inch pieces as straight as possible
You'll need to set up the vegetables on the edge of the cut at a later stage. Uneven cuts can cause the vegetables to fall over.
Step 3. Arrange the vegetables straight on the cut edges and slice off the rounded edges
You can do a rechauffé (mixing leftover ingredients) by incorporating vegetables into other foods such as soups, broths, and sauces or mashed vegetables. The vegetables will now have corners with right angles and straight sides.
Step 4. Slice the vegetables into strips 4mm or 1/8 inch wide
Any leftovers can be warmed up in the same way. You now have a stack of 4mm x 5cm slices.
Step 5. Stack it back like a deck of cards at a height that feels safe to slice
Smooth the edges as that will ensure an even finish. Then slice into 4mm or 1/8-inch pieces to make long matchstick shapes.
Curvy vegetables such as celery or cucumbers should be cut into 5cm pieces, then sliced lengthwise (or according to the fiber) to produce even slices, then these can be sliced Julienne style
Step 6. Now you have Julienne cut vegetables
It can be used as a food garnish or steamed, fried, or sautéed as a main vegetable.
Method 2 of 6: Chiffonade
Step 1. Choose vegetables according to your needs
For vegetables like basil or spinach, collect them into neat piles (like a pile of cards) and then slice them along the length to make strips about 1mm or 1/25 inch wide, or roll up the pile and slice the same width. Rolling them can make it easier, but rolls that are too large will be more difficult to slice. It's okay to roll up plants like basil, but they're not suitable for lettuce or anything else that's going to be served raw as this will spoil it and the end result won't be as crunchy as other vegetables. Since the cabbage and lettuce leaves already have a layered shape, it will be easier to cut them into wedges and then take the smaller portion of the wedge shape, pressing gently flat to slice in the same way without rolling it to maintain the crispness.
The goal is to remove the thick parts of the cabbage or lettuce to make the slices more even, but this is not essential, but is preferred when serving a meal for a formal event
Method 3 of 6: Jardiniere
Step 1. Cut it the same way as Julienne but following the following sizes
The first cut will make vegetables 10 or 12 cm long. Then cut this into long sticks measuring 5mm to 10mm wide like the larger Julienne. Then from here, you can cut it into 5 x 2cm sticks if you need to cut 10cm, or alternatively, you can cut it into 4 x 3cm or 3 x 4cm sticks for 12cm.
Method 4 of 6: Brunoise
Step 1. These are thin cubes of equal size 4mm or 1/8 inch
Prepare piles of vegetables such as Julienne chunks. Brunnoise is exactly the same method as Julienne, but with an added step at the end. Group the Julienne pieces into neat piles and then cut them into small cubes every 4mm or 1/8 inch to make even smaller cubes. It is used for thin cube vegetables like onions, mushrooms, etc. The preferred result is a 4 x 4 x 4mm cube.
Method 5 of 6: Macedoine
Step 1. Prepare some vegetables with Jardieniere pieces
Macédoine is actually a larger chunk of Brunoise but with the same method. In this case, instead of making thin sticks like Julienne, you need to make bigger sticks like Jardiniere. From this stage, instead of making it into a 2, 3 or 4cm baton shape, proceed like cutting the baton shape into 1cm size. The preferred result is a 1 x 1 x 1cm cube.
Method 6 of 6: Paysanne
Step 1. Prepare some vegetables with Jardieniere pieces
Then, instead of making into cubes or cubes like Macedoine, slice the vegetables into thin strips. This is the easier cut because it is the least formal of the lot. This cut is most often used for mirepoix vegetables (the basic group of rich-flavoured vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery, or onions, celery and capsicum, etc.) used in broths, soups, sauces, and casseroles.
Step 2. Done
- The shape of the cut doesn't have to be perfect, but the even cut method can hide imperfections and still impress everyone. Even chefs don't always make it perfectly and many rely on machines to cut it.
- In fact, "micrometer perfection" is too pretty for a meal at home, so you don't have to worry about imperfect cuts.
- Practice cutting the ends and scraps first to hone your skills.
- But in formal, traditional kitchens, many chefs have a small, food-safe ruler and will randomly measure it to maintain quality. This is a skill that takes years to develop and mastering it is highly respected in the kitchen.