How to sharpen a knife and chop vegetables

Keen to hone your knife skills? Good Food's Barney Desmazery shows you how to sharpen a knife and improve your chopping technique.

Points to remember

  • Make a claw shape with the hand you’re holding the object in, tucking the tips of your fingers and your thumb in, using the flat of your knuckles as a guide for the knife.
  • Cut a flat surface to rest the object you’re cutting on so it doesn’t slip. Square off round vegetables such as carrots, by shaving off all the round sides so you have a square block.
  • Cut batons/julienne by cutting the block lengthways into even, thick/thin slices, stacking these up and then cutting through the slices in the same manner.
  • Cut batons/julienne into dice/brunoise by slicing across into even cubes.

A sharp knife is safer than a dull one – sharpen on a steel, holding the blade at a 45 degree angle and stroking the blade downwards an equal amount of times on both sides.


Batons are roughly finger-size, julienne are like matchsticks. Dice are cubes made from batons. Brunoise are much smaller and made from julienne.