How to Do Formal Vegetable Cuts

Six Methods:JulienneChiffonadeJardiniereBrunoiseMacedoinePaysanne

If you want to impress your friends and family, or dream of being a Chef, there are a few formal vegetable cuts that are worth learning. These are Julienne, Chiffonade, Jardiniere, Brunoise, Macedoine and Paysanne. The secret is to make them all look uniform with neat edges. Once you learn how to make these cuts, you'll never go back to "roughly chopped" vegetables again.


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    Learn the sizes of each cut.
    • Julienne. According to most, a standard Julienne is 4mm x 4mm x 5cm, or 1/8 x 1/8 x 2 inches. 1/8th of an inch is approx 3mm, so the sizes do vary from school to school.
    • Chiffonade. This cut is mostly used with leafy greens and herbs for things like garnishes, salads and coleslaw. Its basically very fine shreds. The size definition is rather informal in that there seems to be no formal sizes so luckily that's easier according to what is practical.
    • Jardiniere. These are vegetable "batons". They are shorter and fatter with sizes ranging from 2cm x 4mm x 4mm (4/5 x 1/5 x 1/5 of an inch) or as large as 4cm x 10mm x 10mm (1.5 x 2/5 x 2/5 of an inch).
    • Brunoise. Brunoise is a fine dice measuring 4mm x 4mm x 4mm, or 1/8 x 1/8 x 1/8 inches.
    • Macedoine. This is a slightly larger dice with sizes measuring from 5mm cubed to 10mm cubed (10mm is the more common size).
    • Paysanne. This translates as Peasant but the sizes are far more flexible.
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    Practice the Julienne method first. As the methods are quite similar, the other cuts either borrow from or continue on the same method as the Julienne cut, so this is the best all-rounder to be start with.

Method 1

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    Select your vegetable: Julienne can be done with any firm vegetable, such as carrot, celery, potato, capsicum / bell pepper, turnip, swede/rutabaga, zucchini/courgette, sweet potato / kumara etc. Vegetables such as onion, or soft fruits such as tomato aren't ideal to julienne.
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    Peel your vegetable and cut into 5cm / 2 inch portions with as straight a cut as possible. You will be sitting the vegetable up in the next stage on this cut edge. An uneven cut may make the vegetable slip when you are slicing.
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    Sit the vegetable upright on the cut edge and cut the rounded edges off. You can rechauffé these into anything else such as soups, stocks and sauces or mashed vegetables. The vegetable should now have right angled corners and straight sides.
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    Slice the vegetable into strips 4mm or 1/8inch wide. Any leftover can also be a reheated in the same way. You should now have a pile of 4mm x 5cm slices.
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    Stack these up again like a stack of cards as high as you feel safe with to slice. Even the edges as that assures an even result. Then slice them in 4mm / 1/8th of an inch slices to make long matchsticks.
    • Curved vegetables such as celery or cucumber should be cut into the 5cm portions, then sliced long ways (or with the grain) to give even slices, then these can be julienned.
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    You have now achieved your Julienne cut vegetables. These can be used as a garnish or steamed, fried or sauteed as a main vegetable.

Method 2

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    Select your vegetable according to your needs. For things like basil or spinach, gather them into a neat stack (like a pile of cards) then slice lengthwise to make long strips approx 1mm or 1/25th of an inch wide, or roll the stack up and slice them the same width. Rolling them can make it easier, but too big a roll will be harder. Its fine to roll up herbs such as basil, but not ideal for lettuce or anything you will serve raw as it may bruise them and the final result won't be as crisp. As cabbage and lettuce leaves are already in layers, its easier to cut them into wedges and then take smaller portions of that wedge, gently pressing them flat to slice the same way without rolling to maintain crispness.
    • Aim to remove thick fleshy parts of the cabbage or lettuce to make the slices more even, however this is not essential, but is desirable when catering for a formal event.

Method 3

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    Cut in the same manner as Julienne but with the following sizes. The first cut is making the vegetable into 10 or 12 cm length portion slices. Then cut these into long sticks 5mm to 10mm wide much like a larger Julienne. From here, you can then cut into 5 x 2cm sticks if you had cut a 10cm portion, or alternatively you may cut 4 x 3cm or 3 x 4cm sticks for a 12cm portion.

Method 4

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    This is a fine dice of 4mm or 1/8th of an inch even cubes. Prepare a stack of julienne cut vegetables. Brunoise is precisely the same method as Julienne, but with an extra final stage. Group the julienne into a neat stack and cut the sticks into small cubes every 4mm / 1/8th of an inch to make small cubes. This is used for fine diced vegetables such as onion, mushrooms etc. The desired result is 4 x 4 x 4mm cubes

Method 5

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    Prepare some Jardiniere cut vegetables. Macédoine is actually a larger brunoise but the same method. In this case instead of making Julienne thin sticks, you are making them into larger sticks as per the Jardiniere. From this stage, instead of making them into 2, 3 or 4cm batons, proceed as cutting the sticks into 1cm portions. The desired result is 1 x 1 x 1cm cubes.

Method 6

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    Prepare some Jardiniere cut vegetables. Then, instead of being in batons or cubes like the Macedoine, cut the vegetables into thin slices. This is an easier cut as its the least formal of the group. Its mostly used for a mirepoix (a base group of flavoursome vegetables such as onion, carrot and celery, or onion, celery and capsicum etc) used in stocks, soups, sauces and casseroles.
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  • In reality "micrometer perfection" is pretty over the top for the home so you don't have to worry about the ones that are out.
  • They don't have to be perfect, but an even cutting method can hide imperfect width measurements and still impress everyone. Not even Chefs are always perfect and many rely on machines to do it for them.
  • Practice cutting on the ends and scraps first to hone your cutting skills.
  • In traditional formal kitchens however, many chefs possess a small food-safe ruler and will randomly measure to check quality is maintained. It's a skill that takes years to develop and is highly respected in kitchens.


  • Blunt knives cause most accidents, always use sharp knives to develop your skills.

Things You'll Need

  • Chopping board & a sharp knife.
  • Vegetable peeler

Article Info

Categories: Food Cutting Techniques