Tournee

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I have just finished Kitchen Confidential, and among the many french cooking terms, I have been researching and learning about, I can't seem to find anything about tournee, I realize this is a type of cutting technique, would somebody be kind enough to explain this in "layman" terms what this is. Thanks in advance for your time.
 
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It's a 7 sided football shaped figure usually carved from a hard product like a potato or carrot. I am in cooking school and just learning about this myself. We haven't learned the purpose of this cut except I guess it looks nice and provides uniform shape to otherwise odd-shaped veggies.
You would think it would be easy to find an explanation of this and perhaps some pictures but I am searching and all I find is odd things in foreign languages.
Let me post this and dig and see what I can find.
 
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Yikes! A seven sided cut, now I understand what Bourdain meant by the pain of "tourneeing" 200 lbs. of potatoes! I would love to see what a picture of that looks like! Thanks again Kate, for taking the time to answer my question. Also good luck in school, from what I have seen/read culinary school is worse than basic training!

Todd
 
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Thanks for the link Anneke, not only the finished product, but the process as well! I think I am going to have to let my knife skills improve before I even think about attempting this!:)

Todd
 

pete

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I was told once, by an old French chef, that a tournee does not need to be 7 sided, but that the 7 sided cut was just the most popular classical cut. He said a tournee could have any number of sides as long as they were all equal and the shape remains the same. He was the only one I ever heard this from so I do not know if it is true or not.
 
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I also agree that in pracitce in a kitchen (outside school) the exactness in uniformatty is less important. In fact one side being slightly flatter will keep it from rolling around. My major question about the cut and its function is........If you want the entire veg cooked "perfectly even" then a football shape is a poor choice. Thin-thick-thin. French guys know everything though about cooking (LOL.. dont flame me... I say that in fun).
 
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AWESOME pictures. Maybe if I had actually clicked on some of those French sites I found in searches, I would have found pics too. But I didn't.
Yeah its not something you want to try the first time you pick up a knife lol. And those were just my guesses at the purpose of that kind of cut.
 
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Au contraire! The sooner you sart, the sooner you will master the technique. My advice is to start on softer vegetables (cucumbers etc). You will be less likely to cut yourself.
 

kuan

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Use seven sided only if Fredy Girardet is looking over your shoulder and you're cooking in his kitchen. Otherwise just turn 5 sides. If you have a million chateaus to do then just do a half chateau.

Kuan
 
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Good point, Anneke. Unfortunately they started us right off with the potatoes and carrots. And they made us do 7 sides, too. :(
I talked to my friend who is a cook/caterer but never went to school and he says, What the &!%$ is a tournee and why on earth would you want to do that?
Edit: Addressed Kuan instead of Anneke
 

pete

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A tournee is not as outdated as you might think. I have used them in a number of high-end restaurants I have worked at in the last few years. Even more common is a variation on the traditional tournee using zucchini and yellow squash. It has the football profile but is more flattened on the top and bottom.
 
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You folks are something else! Thanks to all for the additional information regarding this topic. Not only do I get my question answered, I also get "inside" insight and perspective as well. I am here to learn, and the extra info is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
Todd
 

nicko

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I never minded this cut, but I worked with a chef who had us do 3 inch tournee of carrots and man that was tough. They are so long that it is hard to keep them even.
 

pete

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When I was at NECI we would generate so many potato scraps from practicing tournees that they were feed to us almost every meal, or so it seemed. We even gave them the unoffical name of ''NECI Fries'' as that is how they were most often made. Used to practice and practice, sometimes taking potatoes home from class to practice on. Thank god though, we didn't spend much time fluting mushrooms!!!!
 
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The term means to shape usually vegetables (i.e. including potatoes).
Most catering students are taught to shape potatoes into barrel shapes for Pommes, Noisette, Fondants... also there's the well known Turned Mushroom - which is often confused with the Groved mushroom - now a somewhat obscure preparation. Turning does not automatically mean barrel shape however when dealing with solid vegetables. Many years ago when i was working at Claridges the Maitre Chef showed me how to turn Sweed sections into Bean shapes.

I ramble on. It means to shape but hopefully find something useful to use up the trimmings - soup...

I much prefer the Book 'Cutting it Fine' - sorry haven't got the author reference top hand. The book you mentioned has a riduculous picture on the cover. Have they got metal apron strings?

Best wishes

Jerry
 
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I've been doing tournee cuts since high school just to say plainly i hate them but they're not as hard to do. I'm fearing on doing it on a mushroom in a couple weeks in my class.:confused: i really hope it's not as hard as i think cause mushrooms you can easily screw up on am i right? if you use a tournee knife and not just a pairing knife it'll cut down on the risk of cutting yourself. just to put that out there.
 

kuan

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That's fluting mushrooms. Make sure the mushroom is nice and fresh and have a sharp knife. Try to find a straight edged paring knife. It makes fluting a lot easier. You can also press patterns into the mushroom using the tip of the knife.
 
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