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question about vegetable cutting technique

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sododgy

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Rocking absolutely had its place though. If it didn't kiritsuke's would be way more popular.

I feel like herbs are probably about the only time I rock consistently. I've tried to push cut chives and it just feels...off.
 

r0bz

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Nagakin's answer is relevent to the video you linked in the first post.

The truthful answer is, you'll always be fighting against the knife at least a little bit, as it wants to travel straight and not move to the side. You can combat this a few ways, as mentioned above, and there's also the option to have your cuts fan out with the pivot point staying in the same spot. Kind of like this:


However, your best option is to not use this cutting technique, and instead just lift the tip of the knife up with every cut. It's called a push-cut and it uses a very similar motion, the main difference being that you do not need to have the knife touching the board at all times. With a bit of practice push-cutting ends up being faster, more accurate and allows you more area to use on your knife.
can you send a video of push cutting, i wasn't able to find myself ?
 

r0bz

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For standard rock chopping you will keep contact and walk your knife across the board as you go. As you push forward with the heel of your knife, the tip of your blade will be pointed upwards at an angle. Pivot at the heel in this position to move the point laterally for your next cut. As you start your guillotine motion again is when you will pivot at the tip to lift at the heel. Repeat and you will get that smooth locomotive look. Imagine walking a chopstick across the table only using the ends. It's the same movement with a cut inbetween.

Aside from rolling your edge, there are other disadvantages that come with rock chopping though. It makes sense to use with thicker and/or softer steel because you can always hone on a rod and it helps with steering, but you're adding a motion. The cross and pivot between moving from point A and point B means you'll never be as fast as the guy not dragging his knife. If you're using a shorter knife that requires more lift, that's even more movement. You will also be less accurate because you're constantly reseting your angle.

The only situation I find it useful is when you want a long, slow stroke to keep the ungodly bundle in your opposite hand intact and you're saving time in a different way.
so instead of doing this standard rock chopping what is the style of cutting you recommend ?
 

Nagakin

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so instead of doing this standard rock chopping what is the style of cutting you recommend ?
Push, slice, chop.

Check out Jon's video here and watch his elbow and wrist closely. He's lifting at the elbow and thrusting at the wrist to create the pushing motion. It works whether he is using the flat of the heel or the curve of the tip because keeping his wrist loose creates a natural rocking motion that will guide the length of the blade.

The biggest mistake I see with push cutting is that people seem to naturally want to lock their wrist and thrust at the elbow with the flat of their blade parallel to the board. Doing this you lose your angle of approach and make maximum blade contact, which is a good way to crack root vegetables or bruise herbs while giving yourself tennis elbow.

 

esoo

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what kind of technique is he using standard rock chopping ?
This is where terminology gets fuzzy (and I may be wrong being only a home cook)

I call this guillotine and glide (from the terminology BoarDeLaze at ChefTalk used). I may however be mis-understanding what he wrote.

At this point in the video, he starts doing what I call a rock chop:
. I've seen a vid here where stringer lifts both ends of the knife calling it a double-rock chop.

For me, my push cut is a forward and down motion of the blade like I do here with carrots:
. It seems Jon from JKI calls this thrust cutting.

As for when to use these? My fiancee does the guillotine and glide for everything. I will thrust/push cut if the pile is too high, then I'll switch over to guillotine and glide. Rock chopping for a fine mince that I've used some other technique to make the pile smaller. I'll also use a draw cut (just the tip of the knife on the board, elbow high), to make longer wide pieces into narrower pieces (thing cutting celery ribs narrower).
 

sododgy

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does he stay in contact with the board ?
Yes.

what kind of technique is he using standard rock chopping ?
Yes. You can see he also mostly stays in contact with the board, until the product gets taller. Do you speak French?


This is where terminology gets fuzzy (and I may be wrong being only a home cook)

I call this guillotine and glide (from the terminology BoarDeLaze at ChefTalk used). I may however be mis-understanding what he wrote.

At this point in the video, he starts doing what I call a rock chop:
. I've seen a vid here where stringer lifts both ends of the knife calling it a double-rock chop.

In Western kitchens its definitely a rock chop. If that post you reference about guillotine and glide is the one I'm thinking of, didn't he say he's the only one he knows who calls it that? Obviously it's spread since on forums 'cause internet, but I've never heard it in the real world. I'm also not classically trained, so maybe it's a French thing?

Anyway, G&G is a rock chop in any western professional kitchen I've ever stepped foot in. What you reference with in Stringer I was taught as a power chop, but double rock makes sense as well because you can hear the double impact. It's still fundamentally the same in that you're still stabilizing and guiding the knife with your offhand, and you're just doing from a different direction, and much more actively.
 
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r0bz

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Push, slice, chop.

Check out Jon's video here and watch his elbow and wrist closely. He's lifting at the elbow and thrusting at the wrist to create the pushing motion. It works whether he is using the flat of the heel or the curve of the tip because keeping his wrist loose creates a natural rocking motion that will guide the length of the blade.

The biggest mistake I see with push cutting is that people seem to naturally want to lock their wrist and thrust at the elbow with the flat of their blade parallel to the board. Doing this you lose your angle of approach and make maximum blade contact, which is a good way to crack root vegetables or bruise herbs while giving yourself tennis elbow.

wouldn't this technique work best with Japanese knives instead of German/ western ? guillotine and glide would work best with German and french/ western knives ?
 

r0bz

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what would you call this technique he is using at 2:13 until 2:17 ?
 

r0bz

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That's what we're talking about in this thread when we say 'push cut' or 'thrust cutting'.
Here's an old Saltydog video that might help:

I find push cutting the best style of cutting for me like in the video of jacques, why would you even need the guillotine and glide method also known as classic rock chopping ?
 

Kippington

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I find push cutting the best style of cutting for me like in the video of jacques, why would you even need the guillotine and glide method also known as classic rock chopping ?
Some people just prefer it. It's very old-school, the kind of method you teach newer people at the start because it gives them more control over the tip - it's less likely to go somewhere you didn't want it to.

Some more experienced people learned it from the start and never changed.
 

r0bz

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Guillotine and glide/rocking
by the way if you are using a guillotine and glide aka classic rock chopping it is good for very thin slices, if you want very thick slices you cant do it with the guillotine and glide aka classic rock chopping you would need to lift up the knife and lose contact with the board am I right or wrong ?
 
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Kippington

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by the way if you are using a guillotine and glide aka classic rock chopping it is good for very thin slices, if you want very thick slices you cant do it with the guillotine and glide aka classic rock chopping you would need to lift up the knife and lose contact with the board am I right or wrong ?
You're pretty much right. There are probably some people out there that can still cut large pieces using a rock chop, but most people don't.
 

r0bz

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For standard rock chopping you will keep contact and walk your knife across the board as you go. As you push forward with the heel of your knife, the tip of your blade will be pointed upwards at an angle. Pivot at the heel in this position to move the point laterally for your next cut. As you start your guillotine motion again is when you will pivot at the tip to lift at the heel. Repeat and you will get that smooth locomotive look. Imagine walking a chopstick across the table only using the ends. It's the same movement with a cut inbetween.

Aside from rolling your edge, there are other disadvantages that come with rock chopping though. It makes sense to use with thicker and/or softer steel because you can always hone on a rod and it helps with steering, but you're adding a motion. The cross and pivot between moving from point A and point B means you'll never be as fast as the guy not dragging his knife. If you're using a shorter knife that requires more lift, that's even more movement. You will also be less accurate because you're constantly reseting your angle.

The only situation I find it useful is when you want a long, slow stroke to keep the ungodly bundle in your opposite hand intact and you're saving time in a different way.
he is doing exactly what u said like walking chopsticks
 

LucasFur

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All the "How To" Videos are for Chumps.
CGuarian has all the Technique you will ever need.
 

ian

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Is there an argument that G&G could be easier on your body if you’re processing large amounts of product? Less board impact + smoother action + less weight since the knife’s always on the board? Ergonomically perhaps push/pull is better though. Idk, I never cut enough for it to matter. Reminds me of the Kaiseki Jon vids, though.

 

Nagakin

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Is there an argument that G&G could be easier on your body if you’re processing large amounts of product? Less board impact + smoother action + less weight since the knife’s always on the board? Ergonomically perhaps push/pull is better though. Idk, I never cut enough for it to matter. Reminds me of the Kaiseki Jon vids, though.

I think the argument can be made if you're cutting through hard product like dark chocolate, lemongrass, old bacon, etc. for leverage reasons.

I can't really see where rocking can be smoother than practiced pushing otherwise though, because you're still adding a step between cuts to position your knife. In my mind it's like trying to streamline calligraphy by using three strokes instead of two.
 

sododgy

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I think the argument can be made if you're cutting through hard product like dark chocolate, lemongrass, old bacon, etc. for leverage reasons.

I can't really see where rocking can be smoother than practiced pushing otherwise though, because you're still adding a step between cuts to position your knife. In my mind it's like trying to streamline calligraphy by using three strokes instead of two.
I think the argument would be that you're adding a smaller step. Either way you have to reposition, but with a rock you're both moving less of the knife overall, and maintaining another touch point for stabilization, so at the end of the day you're looking at a half step compared to a full step. As far as the smoothness goes, I'd say that's where the additional touch point and lack of a full lift comes into play.

I push/draw cut 95% of the time, and have never been a dedicated prep cook, so this an argument simply for the sake.
 

Nagakin

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I think the argument would be that you're adding a smaller step. Either way you have to reposition, but with a rock you're both moving less of the knife overall, and maintaining another touch point for stabilization, so at the end of the day you're looking at a half step compared to a full step. As far as the smoothness goes, I'd say that's where the additional touch point and lack of a full lift comes into play.

I push/draw cut 95% of the time, and have never been a dedicated prep cook, so this an argument simply for the sake.
I disagree, because when you're walking your knife you're positioning twice \ | \ | instead of just once | |. It's much more intentional movement. You don't need to lift while pushing any more than you do rocking. If your movement is noticeably larger, I'd guess that your blade is too parallel to the board and you're making longer strokes than necessary.

I agree that a point of contact can be useful when using cheaper, thicker grinds because steering can be a crapshoot, but the knives on this forum will go where you tell them to go. Stabilization should be muscle memory imo
 

ian

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It’s an interesting discussion. By ‘smoother’, I really meant that G&G has less forceful impacts and is more flowing, which is true I think. In terms of efficiency, the turns that you’re making in G&G are happening fluidly, it’s not guillotine, then rotate, then guillotine, then rotate... So I’m not sure that counting up the individual movements is helpful. But I have a feeling that G&G with a curvy knife requires a greater distance traveled by your hand per cut than push or pull cutting, since in order to clear the product, you have to raise your hand higher if you’re trying to keep the tip (or some part forward of the product) in contact with the board than you do if you allow your edge to be parallel to the board.
 

Nagakin

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It’s an interesting discussion. By ‘smoother’, I really meant that G&G has less forceful impacts and is more flowing, which is true I think. In terms of efficiency, the turns that you’re making in G&G are happening fluidly, it’s not guillotine, then rotate, then guillotine, then rotate... So I’m not sure that counting up the individual movements is helpful. But I have a feeling that G&G with a curvy knife requires a greater distance traveled by your hand per cut than push or pull cutting, since in order to clear the product, you have to raise your hand higher if you’re trying to keep the tip (or some part forward of the product) in contact with the board than you do if you allow your edge to be parallel to the board.
I see what you mean, but I do find value in counting individual motions in compound movements because breaking them down separately helps you to commit those adjustments in pressure, stroke length, and walking distance to your muscle memory based on what you're cutting and maintain that fluidity through your workflow while (hopefully) minimizing strain.

As smooth as the rocking motion is, walking itself does change the angle of your knife twice to measure and reset for the next cut. What I'm trying to get at is that this step is removed from pushing and pulling, so while there can be benefits and times to guillotine and glide, there will be less movement overall with push cutting.
 

r0bz

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I cant understand how can you move the knife laterally without lifting it from the cutting board.
how can you do the guillotine and glide and move the knife laterally without making accordion cuts and using the tip as a anchor pivot point?
how do you move the tip?
 

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Pivot on heel and tip? 🤷‍♂️
 

VincentBeek

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I used rocking/walking all the time when my main knife was a Global. The thin Japanese knife don’t like it. So now I use push cuts most of the time. Because you keep the tip on the board walking makes it easier to keep consistent cuts but I personally find that push cutting can be faster and it is possible to make even thinner slices when needed.

In one some of the earlier posts was suggested to push food into the knife. I would say that’s no no. You might, when you are at the end of your vegetable, use some technique to rotate the left-over with the fingertips behind your guard hand but just pushing is a no no for me. It is unprecise and you will move your guard hand in the direction of the knife.
 
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