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Garde Manger Cook Having Knife Difficulties

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

So the garde manger cook at our place seems to have difficulty with certain knife cuts. I can't really make out what's going on since I rarely see the task from start to finish. Overall he does a good job with chiffonade, brunoise and julienne. Then he sucks at parmentier, batonnet and and pretty much all cube and rectangle shapes. I can't explain it. The small cuts he does well at but but anything bigger and it takes forever and is never consistent.

 

The biggest problem I see on cube cuts is that they're all f***ing rectangles, not cubes. I can only surmise his problem lies in either parer not being squared up correctly or he is cutting different widths between each motion. I've seen him parer a parsnip was damn near perfect, then I saw some watermelon radishes that he attempted to square up but had weird rounded shoulders but flat edges. As far as his batonnet they are all tapered, never perfectly rectangular.

 

Can anyone offer some insight? Maybe his body position is off and is not holding the knife at the right angle? I'm trying to help him out but I can't seem to find the source of the problem because some things look good and others not so much!

 

Thanks

post #2 of 10

That's a tough piece to diagnose online. Are his arms at an uncomfortable/unnatural angle approaching the board? Knife too big? Perhaps the cutting board is too far away or, conversely, too close and he is 'hovering'? Perhaps, there just isn't muscle memory (translation: enough practice.) Maybe a few sessions of model-observe-check for accuracy-model-repeat are in order using some cheap potatoes?

Hope this helps.

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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post #3 of 10
How big is he and how big/what style of knife is he using? Otherwise maybe he's just not that great yet. Some people take more time.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alaminute View Post

How big is he and how big/what style of knife is he using? Otherwise maybe he's just not that great yet. Some people take more time.


From what I see he's using a chef's knife or a pairing knife almost exclusively. He's a normal sized kid, maybe 5'8" and medium build, he's not so abnormally large or small that it's affecting his approach/stance to the cutting board.

 

I do think it's a combination of lack of experience as well as something I can't quite put my finger on. His tapered batonnet is so uniform in it's taperedness (legit word? I don't care I just used it) on every single piece that I'm starting to think there's something else in the equation.

post #5 of 10
I bet the added pressure from you watching him directly is what really pushes his exemplary cuts in FRONT of you, but if you're not there then there just isn't as much necessity to perform.
post #6 of 10

Could be a vision problem.

I'm near sighted with astigmatism and wear corrective lenses for reading tickets, driving, etc. 

I notice that when wearing glasses my vision is sharper, but can get slightly distorted near the edges or with quick movement of my head.

I don't detect a similar issue with contacts, probably because they're not floating an inch in front of my eyes.

The way light and shadow work off of the blade could be skewing his perception.

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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #7 of 10

Can you film him working (with his permission) and post it?

post #8 of 10

If he can do brunoise he can do cubes. sometimes a cooks performance depends on how comfortable he is, how stressed he is, and how many hurry he has. if your gm chef cant make a regular cut, maybe he worsk faster than he can, or he does'nt give that much importance to thse cuts above all the rest he has to do. Or he is just tired and needs rest. :D

post #9 of 10

Ask him to draw on a peace of paper the cuts . then you might be able to tell if its knife tech. or a brain fart . 

post #10 of 10
That's clever
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