Preparing vegetables

In this video, Chris shows you how you how to cut and prepare vegetables with one hand using the guillotine method.

If you'd like to see the ingredients or download a highly accessible version of this recipe, you can do that here.


Chris: Hi my name's Chris and I'm a seven-year veteran stroke survivor and a chef of 30 years. And I'm here today to give you some hints and tips on chopping and preparation within the kitchen at home to give you the confidence and the belief that you can still do it.

The preparation I'm going to do on some vegetables and an onion, are versatile that you can use them for stews casseroles making soups.

It's this sort of preparation that you use in a lot of your everyday cooking.

I think, even I found after stroke the scariest thing about vegetables and preparation in the kitchen is the volume of our products are round.

So we're gonna, you know, we want flat surfaces to work from.

Now to help in the kitchen and as I said this is about preparation and safety using a knife. I have a chopping board here and underneath I have non-slip matting.

And I put that down because I don't want to chase my chopping board around the kitchen.

Now I know a lot of adaptable equipment is expensive, however this matting can be purchased in a small roll within most pound shops.

And I've got some spare over here. And I buy a roll and I can cut it into manageable sizes that I use at home; in my kitchen, on my dining room table. So it's just an easy piece of equipment and as you can see my chopping board isn't going anywhere.

So what I want to do to start is show you how to chop and dice an onion. Now you do need a very sharp knife because I need to get a flat surface to work from.

So if you've got your knife down in the tip, cut through guillotine that onion, take away your excess leaves.

So for dicing an onion I've now got a safe flat surface to work from and I'm just gonna remove the shoot.

And then once I've done that I'm gonna remove the outside layer of the onion. If you find you're getting a little bit fatigued, if you use a perching stool, you can sit down and peel that onion.

So I've taken away that top layer and I've kept that root in place. Now to dice an onion I want what I term the Cadbury's chocolate orange segments. So I'm going to cut into my onion about two millimetres away from the end of that root and chop down.


Once I've got those segments, I'm ready to dice the onion. I turn my onion through 90 degrees and then I'm gonna tip down and chop through.

And that gives me my diced onion. Now you use diced onion if you're making maybe a curry or a stew. So all I've got left once I've diced my half an onion is that little root end. So there's not a lot of waste.

And that can be discarded and put aside.

So now preparation of a carrot. Now some cooks will say peel your veg. I'm sorry I disagree. I'm one of these cooks, I like fresh vegetables. I wash them and I keep the skins on.

And as you can see it's rolling around so again I want to go to that flat surface. So from the middle of my carrot, I'm gonna go in and I'm going to cut from the middle to the end.

Turn that around and then go in the middle again and cut from middle to end.

And now I've got two pieces of carrot that's got a safe flat surface to work from. The one thing I learned as a cook stroke chef, I learned to cook with skins on.

Most of the goodness in our vegetables is just below the skin line.

Exactly the same, I want to guillotine down to get my cube carrot. Now you'll see I've got a pretty even size of dice and I can put that aside and use that in a dish later on.

Now another product we use a lot of at home or most people do is celery. So you can trim off your celery heart and discard that. And then just wash the celery under cold water.

And I'm going to do exactly the same with my celery as I did with my carrot.


So exactly the same, I'm going to set that aside whilst I prepare a few other bits.

Now peppers again round so they like to roll around so exactly the same. I want a flat surface.

Now I know people a lot of people ask me about removing the pips. Just get your fingers in and pull them out. For those of you that might struggle with that, you can get a spoon.

Put a spoon in and pull it towards you to get rid of the excess. But again I've now got a flat surface to work from and it's safe. I'm not gonna cut these the same size as this.

Because I said that I would make a soup today for these guys. This I just want really, I want these in quarters because I'm going to do a roasted pepper and tomato soup.

So I've got my flat surface.


So I can set those aside.

Even with all the vegetables I've prepared, you'll see I still got a clean work surface that I'm working with. You don't want an overcrowded chopping board because that's when you start getting mixed up with what you're doing.

And any time you want to take a break if you find that fatigue is setting in, just sit yourself down. Slow down and just take a little minute to recover.

The last thing I want to show you preparation-wise is garlic.

Just take your hand and I want to break that down. Now with garlic, place your knife on top of the garlic bulb and just crush. And you'll hear it crack

You will find that the garlic skin, will come off in one piece like so.

So I then want to trim the root end off so I've got a garlic bulb ready for preparation.

The only danger with cooking with fresh garlic is, it's got a lot of natural sugars in. So you have to be careful that you don't put fresh garlic into a dish too early because otherwise those natural sugars will start to catch and burn. And if you've ever cooked at home with garlic, what you don't want to do is burn garlic. Because you end up with a bitter taste.

So I've got my bulb of garlic and then all I want to do is cut what we call little julienne batons. So about so big.

So again that guillotine method of cutting through the garlic. I'm gonna dice that down I'm going to cut through 90 degrees and I'm going to end up with little garlic cubes. There's one bulb prepared.

Now here I've got fresh herbs and again I know a lot of people steer away from fresh herbs because of the chopping process.

And I must admit I am one of those people, that if a recipe starts saying you want parsley, you want coriander, you want fresh basil. I turn to my go-to mixed herbs dried.

And again if I'm using dried herbs, they will be added to a dish earlier because I want them to release their flavours into the oils as they heat up.

Whereas if I'm using fresh herbs I'm going to add them a little bit later and they will still release the flavours into the dish.

Now we don't need to remove the stalks we're just going to as before we're going to guillotine and we're going to chop.

Now the finer you want to go is totally and utterly up to you. You can do a rough chop or you can go finer.

So I've got a nice bit of parsley that I can add to these guys' soup later.

So that is knife skills and preparation in your kitchen in a nutshell.

I've worked with a lot of stroke survivors in the last five years and they've said to me: "I can't get back in the kitchen Chris."

And after watching that it is possible they've changed their attitude to: "I can do that."

So it is possible guys.

Thank you for watching this short version of preparation in the kitchen.