Chopping, dicing, mincing. Oy.
Allumette, Baton, Batonnet, and Julienne. Are all "sticks" about 2" long. Allumette are about 1/2" x 1/2" in cross section. Baton, about 3/8" x 3/8", Batonnet about 1/4" x 14", and Julienne about 1/8" x 1/8" When the sticks are cut into cubes, the allumette becomes large dice; the baton, medium dice; the batonnet, fine dice; and the julienne, brunois.
A rough chop can mean several things. It can mean that the food is chopped into irregular shapes and sizes, or (rarely) that it is chopped larger than large dice. If food is rough-chopped irregularly, and the sizes range from medium to fine dice, the chop is called a concasse. If the food is rough chopped iregularly and the sized range from fine to brunois, the chop is called a mignonette.
"Mincing" generally means to cut as small as possible. When mincing is done by hand, it's typically done with a rocking motion of the knife. Clasically, a mince is smaller than a brunois. Modernly, a mince is smaller than a micro-brunois (1/16 x 1/16 x 1/16). Usually mincing involves some "smushing," because most knives are not sharp enough to cut pieces that small cleanly. This can be a good thing because mincing releases flavorful aromatic oils and causes textural changes going beyond very small. Or, it can be a bad thing for the same reasons.
Most cooks with good Western technique will cut the sticks, dice, concasse, etc., with an action that includes "push cut" (pushing straight down on the knife), slicing and shearing. That is, the tip of the knife is held close to the board; the knife is held with a pinch grip in front of the bolster; the cook pushes the edge down with a slight shearing motion helped by the radius of the tip; and as the edge starts to cut, the cook pushes the knife slightly forward in a slicing motion. This is a very quiet cutting action, and is one of the few things I was actually taught rather than left on my own to learn. I was also taught to whisk without beating the whisk against the side of the bowl.
You'd almost think Chef Hermann came to work hung over, wouldn't you? "Ach hahaha," my @$$. Who's laughing now? You old **** putz. Sorry. PTSD flashback.
When dicing, Western cooks with good technique hold the food with a "claw," off-hand and move the knife against the fingernails of the off hand to gauge the thickness and precision of the finest cuts. The bases of good technique are "pinch," "claw," "cut and retreat," and "thumb in."
Asian chefs tend to chop straight down and make a lot of tapping noise as their knife repeatedly hits the board. No one takes backseat to me when it comes to respecting Asian technique, but the noise makes me a little nuts, honestly. Sign of age?
Of course, there are significant variations in "good technique." There's no one right way to do these things -- as long as it's fast, accurate and doesn't involve a decreasing number of fingers, you're good to go. The one universal requirement to making the finer cuts is a very sharp knife.
The Asian action rewards a highly polished edge with a very acute and/or single angle. The more slicing component (sliding the knife forward or back) there is in a cook's action, the less polish the edge should get.
Big caveat on all this technical booshwah: Not all recipe writers use the terms precisely. In fact, very few. Almost none.
Feeling more knowledgeable yet?