Dicing Onions – Day 1

What an incredible first day!!!!! After receiving our kitchen utensil set, and a demo on kitchen safety, sanitation and what to do in case of a cut and fire, we were soon learning the different vegetable preparations. Chef John said to take it slow, and warned us that there had never been a class without a cut. Sure enough, within minutes 6 students had cut themselves.

There were over 160 French terms in the book that we have to learn. Knowing French helps, but still many of the words were foreign to me. We learnt how to

Emincer (slice thinly) Ciceler (dice)
Tronconner (cut into sections) Parer (trim into a bloc)
Jardinière (4cm sticks ½ cm square) Macedoine (1/2cm cuts of Jardiniere)
Julienne (6cm sticks 1mm square) Brunoise (1mm cuts of Juliene)
Emonder (peel by blanching) Concasser (dice of tomato)
Paysanne (1 mm tiles from Jardiniere) Chiffonade (shreds of leaves)
Hacher (minced, e.g. herbs)
icc-vegetable cuts
icc-vegetable cuts

We also learnt how to cook carrots a L’Anglaise (which basically means boiled in salt water and then shocked cold, and turnips a L’Etuvee. OH MY GOD, THEY WERE SOOOOOO GOOD!!!!. Just with a bit of butter, s&p, half covered in water with a lid made of parchment paper. Incredible!!!!!

I got all emotional today when chef Herve came up to my station, looked at my carrots and said in a thick French accent “You av good cutting skilz, arr you frome a proffesssionall rrrrestorrrant?” (I learnt in the locker room we were really lucky to have him in class today, he’s one of the top chefs at the school). It’s a small world, Chef John (our head chef today) went to high school at UCC in Toronto.


icc-stu cutting onions
icc-stu cutting onions
icc-pablo and his knife set
icc-pablo and his knife set

My partner for the week is Pablo (20yo) from Queens – he’s really into food and we seem to work well together.

The only downer of the day was when we were shown how to put on our scarves – it’s EXACTLY LIKE TYING A TIE…. and I thought my years of tying a tie every morning were over with!!!!

Tomorrow is a whole course on safety and more knife skills. Off to practice cutting carrots, onions, and turnips!

4 replies on “Dicing Onions – Day 1”

Dear Stewart,

How Hugh would have loved to take a cooking class such as yours. I will forward your blogs on to Ross & Jennifer.


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