Visual Rhythm – and the Japanese vegetable knife.
One of the things I love about cooking and teaching cooking skills is to carry my dance experience into the kitchen. From first picking up a knife, students feel connected to their body and how the knife moves through the vegetables without a sound, in silence.
The relationships of knife to chef, knife to board, and knife to the shape of the whole vegetable is what we study. It’s about these angles in relationship to each other, adding the motion of the knife, front to back, back to front, and how they all coordinate with the mind of the chef. The final look of the cut vegetable is visually rhythmical.
Because we are cooking within the concept of wholeness, the idea of casting aside rounded edges to produce an evenly measured diced vegetable look is unconscionably wrong for everyday cooking. Just because a carrot at one end is tapered small and at the other end is tapered large, there is no need to discard parts of the whole. Instead, look for finished cuts that give a sense of visual rhythm that suits the original shape of the vegetable—restful on the eye and energetically whole.
Knives: selecting, sharpening, and safety
Cutting: how to achieve common cuts and invent new ones
Vegetable Shapes: understanding the appropriate cut in respect for the shape of the vegetable and the cooking method
No waste in the approach to each shape of vegetable
Proper positioning to protect the cook from repetitive motion body injury