pinch tips: How to Slice & Mince Vegetables Like a Pro

Shared by Kitchen Crew @JustaPinch

The Just A Pinch Test Kitchen shows how to slice and mince veggies like a pro.


9 Comments
Bunny_Persons
Bunny Persons - Aug 29, 2018
Oh my goodness, Lorraine, this has gotten way out of hand. I’ve never claimed to be an elitist chef, nor would want to be known as one. I’ve learned from this website, and I’ve laughed off several of their inaccurate posts. But when it came to hundreds of different sized pieces of onion, being whacked, and flying all over the place, I had to respond. “You missed a wonderful opportunity to reach us something of value tonite but, you missed it.” I think you meant to say ‘teach’, and I thought I did explain how to quickly and efficiently chop/mince an onion, which was in my first comment here. My intent was to put forth a quick and easy way to accomplish a simple task. Our high school kids in Home Ec Classes learn how to do this, the kids in our BOCES Culinary Program learn how to do this, and I make sure our culinary students at our local culinary college learn how to do this. It not only makes their lives easier, and more productive in the cooking arena, but makes for recipes with the best of all possible outcomes.


I teach a lot of cooking classes - adult ed. evening classes for the local city school district, at the Pivot Recovery Center, at the college, and for private groups wanting to improve their cooking skills. For the first night of class, I ask each person to come with a chef's knife, cutting board, onion, green bell pepper, and carrot. There is a very quick and easy way to chop/mince each of these, in a way that holds the veggie together. If you've ever watched Rachael Ray, it's one of the things she teaches. Why would you want to make an easy 15-second chore into a longer one?


I’ve always mentored students and employees, and I was surprised that no one in the impressive list of chefs, in the comments, had never modeled or taught basic skills to the commenters. I apparently didn’t choose my words carefully enough, and apologize for that. I’m so sorry that a comment with an intent to inform, teach, and inspire was so misinterpreted.
swindy48
Lorraine Koschock - Aug 28, 2018
A few too many typos in my post. BE not VS. Degrees do you no good. Hearts for a living, you fry onions. opportunity to teach us something of value
swindy48
Lorraine Koschock - Aug 28, 2018
Ms.Bunny ? This is not a site for those who claim to be elitist Culinary Chefs with their list of schools they have supposedly attended. You don't impress anyone here. This site is for home cooks not those who think they are closer to heaven due to the height of their toque. Your teaching degrees so you absolutely no good in the kitchen. You'll re not the only person who ever went on to higher education. I have a VS and an ME in accounting. And a VS in Biblical Studies. Again, so what. You don't have the right to criticize anyone here. No one claimed to be more than they are but you. I am 70 years old and in my experience those who are very good at their craft rarely speak of themselves. They don't have to. Others can tell by their attitude what kind of person they are. You need not hold yourself so high. After all, remember, you don't do brain surgery or transplant hearts for a living. You get onions. And in order to make the most of your illustrious degrees why aren't you on Iron Chef and show us what you can really do. You missed a wonderful opportunity to reach us something of value tonite but, you missed it. You were too busy tauting your own praises. I feel sorry for you, Chef Rabbit.
NTexas
Norman Champagne - Aug 27, 2018
One thing I've learned from all the years I've been cooking, everyone has their own ways. Is one way better than another? Not really. We adapt to what is best for ourselves. Just like recipes. There are hundreds of ideas on how to cook a particular dish and most of us have our own ideas on the best way to cook it. If you're cutting several pounds of onions then perhaps it time to invest in a food processor. :) So, just because you don't agree with the tip doesn't mean it's wrong.
Bunny_Persons
Bunny Persons - Aug 27, 2018
James, I'm not being an elitist, but I am a Culinary Arts Instructor at a local culinary college, Chef, Caterer, and Pastry Chef - plus I have a B.S. Degree in Special Education and M.S. Degrees in Education. If you're not willing to learn the proper, and most efficient time management skills, which can also save cut or lost fingers, then it's time to hang up your apron. You claim to have learned from experience, but apparently, chopping/mincing any ingredient didn't fall into your life experiences. I'm not sure what a "shape knife" is, but perhaps you can educate me from your 'life experiences' with knives.

If you learned to cook from such impressive mentors, I'm in shock they didn't teach you that having 'flying pieces of onion', inconsistent in size, is not any 'chef's' approved approach to including an onion in a recipe - mainly because the first thing you learn in chopping/mincing anything, is that ingredients in inconsistent sizes will affect a recipe's outcome. If I'm paying someone to chop 30# of onions, and it takes her 2 hours, then I can't afford to hire her again. Not only has she wasted precious food prep time, but she has forced others to take on some of her work assignments. I tried to show her how to keep the root end of an onion intact (which holds it together) to then quickly make horizontal and vertical cuts, and then crosswise slices. She laughed and said that a previous restaurant owner had also tried to teach her the same thing, but it "just didn't feel right for her".

BUT, the onion is not the real issue here, James, it's an attitude of unwillingness to learn. I'm an ole dog, and the day I can't learn a new trick, is the day to retire from life. I don't cook for thousands, but I do for several hundred at a time, (and to steal your words) - "speed and economy of methods is important". In my business it's critical. The government isn't my boss but I am a subcontractor - for Fort Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division, the most deployed Army Base in the U.S. - for catered events as well as desserts and wedding cakes. I'll hire anyone who wants to work hard and earn good money - I pay my employees VERY well - but they have to let me help them learn, on the job, if they lack experience. Some of my employees have worked for me for over 30 years, and a well trained cook, who is a 'self starter', is my most valuable asset. My employees earn double the miminum wage, as well as share the extremely generous tips I receive after events we cater. People beg to work for me, which is a hoot.
NTexas
Norman Champagne - Aug 25, 2018
I agree with James Johnson. I learned my cooking ways while spending 30 years in the fire department. I worked at a very busy station and speed was important when cooking for 10-12 hungry guys. When I first joined the department, this old Navy guy taught me my cooking skills. He was a cook on an aircraft carrier. He taught me good food can be made quickly if you know what you're doing. A sharp knife is important when chopping anything. The less work you use to chop a food the less issues you'll have with flying foods AND sliced fingers. I'm always cooking at home for family and friends. The difference between cooking for family/friends and firefighters is firefighters are willing to eat cold food. :)
ra11746661
JAMES JOHNSON - Aug 25, 2018
Went to one of the best in the world U.S. Army. Had master chefs from Italy, Germany, France etc. Later sent out to gather food from a hunt, Special Forces training. Left with 6 credits to go to get certification, that was 50 yrs ago, been cooking every since. Guess what you learn to mince, dice from experience. The method given is exactly how I mince. It's called experience. Don't think I would want to work for you with that type of elites attitude. A shape knife the amount of flying onions is minimal the mincing or dicing is perfect. When you cook for thousands speed and economy of methods is important along with learning to utilize correct seasoning.
Bunny_Persons
Bunny Persons - Jul 1, 2018
Whoever is mincing that onion didn't go to a Culinary School. This is not the best and easiest way to mince an onion. Slicing toward the root end, close together cuts, do not cut through the root. This holds the onion together until you're done mincing. After those slices are completed, then cut crosswise as narrow as you want. No flying slices of onion. If I hire someone for a catering job, and they chop onions this way, they're not hired again.
swindy48
Lorraine Koschock - Aug 1, 2017
I love these little hints and how to videos you share. Although I'm a senior and a seasoned cook, I never fail to learn something new from Just a Pinch. Joining this group was one of the best things I have ever done. I'm never in a lurch for a recipe and I've chatted with a number of groups in the middle of the night when my pain was unbearable or just felt extremely lonely. I always come away with a smile on my face. And you thought you were just a great recipe source. You provide an invaluable service. And I've met some lovely people in the process. Thanks Just a Pinch for your consistency and the integrity with which you run this site. I have spread the word to everyone I know. Kudos to you !!!! Lorraine Koschock
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