The slender cousin of the baton and matchstick cuts, the julienne cut takes its name from the extremely skinny chef who pioneered this technique. Ok, we made that up. Sorry.
Step 1: Wash & peel Wash and peel the vegetable, if necessary.
Step 2: Grasp knife Grasp the knife in your dominant hand, holding the handle close to the blade with three fingers: your middle, ring, and pinkie. Curl your forefinger around one side of the blade while holding your thumb on the opposite side.
Step 3: Hold vegetable With your non-knife-wielding hand, hold the vegetable firmly on the cutting board close to the area you will cut.
TIP: Curl your fingers so that the tips are firmly planted on the vegetable and the knuckles point outward—in the food world, this is called the 'claw grip'.
Step 4: Cut ends Cut off the ends of the vegetable.
Step 5: Determine length Determine the length of julienne your recipe calls for—2 inches or smaller is the standard—and cut the vegetable crosswise into sections of that length.
Step 6: Cut sides Cut off the sides of one section. It should now resemble a block with 4 long flat surfaces—this will make it easier to cut uniform pieces.
TIP: Keep the point of the knife on the board and use a steady rocking motion to slice—not saw—the vegetable with the full length of the blade.
Step 7: Cut lengthwise Cut the sections lengthwise into uniform slabs 1/16 of an inch thick.
TIP: Try to hold the sections together evenly—it makes for a neater cut.
Step 8: Stack slabs & cut Stack the slabs on top of each other and—again holding them evenly—cut them lengthwise into sticks that are 1/16 of an inch wide.
FACT: Julienne is a popular French girl's name meaning 'youthful'—and that's true.