How to Chiffonade, Chop and Slice Different Herbs
Watch these Knife Skills from ICE + Wüsthof
Bright, fresh and packed with flavor, learning to cook with herbs is an essential part of a future chef’s training.
A beautifully plated, delicious dish often seems incomplete without at least a hint of greenery. But selecting herbs to adorn your dish is only half the battle — the other half is prepping them. Chefs use different techniques to ensure each herb is handled with care. Understanding these basic cuts is key to a solid foundation in the kitchen — which is why ICE and Wüsthof partnered to create a video demonstrating the proper way to use a classic chef’s knife to cut three herbs: an expert chiffonade with basil, a neat chop with parsley and a smooth slice with chives. Watch, practice and repeat.
Knife Skills Tips from Chef James Briscione
- Arrange the leaves into a neat pile in the center of your cutting board. Tightly roll the leaves into a cigar shape and hold secure with one hand.
- Position your knife at one end of the rolled herbs with the knife tip on the board, the heel and handle of the knife lifted high above. Make one smooth slicing motion so that the curve of the blade glides along the cutting board. The idea here is to slice through the herbs, not down onto them, to avoid crushing them. When the heel of the blade reaches the board, lift the knife back to the starting position. Point down on the board and line up your next cut. Continue repeating this motion until all herbs are cut.
- Arrange the leaves in the center of your cutting board. Gather into a tight ball and hold secure with one hand.
- As with chiffonade, position your knife at one end of the herbs with the knife tip on the board and the heel and handle of the knife lifted high above. Make one smooth slicing motion so that the curve of the blade glides along the cutting board. When the heel of the blade reaches the board, lift the knife back to the starting position. Point down on the board and line up your next cut.
- Then gather the cut herbs back into a tight ball and rotate the ball 90 degrees. Slice all the way through the herbs again, as above. Repeat until herbs are chopped.
- Place herbs in the center of your cutting board and hold them firmly with one hand.
- Position your knife at the spot where you want to make the first cut. Curl your non-knife hand into a loose “claw” with your thumb tucked behind your fingers. Rest the front of your knuckles against the side of the knife blade to serve as a guide as you cut. The tip of the knife should extend just ½-inch beyond the front edge of the item being cut.
- To cut, slide the knife forward driving the tip of the knife toward the cutting board while providing gentle downward pressure. It is essential to move your knife forward and down at the same time for efficient cutting. Continue the motion down until the heel of the blade reaches the cutting board. Lift the knife and reposition your hands for the next cut.
Learn to chop, slice and cook like a pro — click here for more information on ICE's career programs.