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Mastering the Tourne Knife

  • 4 min read

Mastering the Tourne Knife

Have you ever wondered how professional chefs create those beautifully carved, perfectly shaped fruits and vegetables? Look no further! In this article, we are going to delve into the art of mastering the Tourne knife. Whether you’re a culinary enthusiast or just looking to impress your dinner guests, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to become a Tourne knife expert.

What is a Tourne knife?

The Tourne knife, also known as a bird’s beak knife, is a versatile tool commonly used in professional kitchens for intricate fruit and vegetable carving. With its unique curved blade, the Tourne knife is designed to create small, oval-shaped cuts with precision and ease.

Why is it called a Tourne knife?

The name “Tourne” comes from the French word “tourner,” which means to turn. This name perfectly describes the primary purpose of this knife, which is to turn and shape ingredients into aesthetically pleasing forms.

What can you do with a Tourne knife?

A Tourne knife is primarily used for creating a specific cut called the “tourne” or “turned” cut. This cut involves removing the skin of round or cylindrical fruits and vegetables while leaving behind an oval shape. Some common examples of ingredients that are often turned include potatoes, carrots, and zucchini.

Tips for mastering the Tourne knife technique:

1. Choose the right knife: Select a Tourne knife with a sharp blade and a comfortable handle that fits your hand well. This will ensure better control and precision while carving.

2. Position your hand and knife correctly: Hold the handle firmly with your dominant hand, while placing your thumb over the flat part of the blade for stability. Rest the pinky side of your hand on the surface and keep your fingers curled inward to maintain control.

3. Practice proper knife grip: The grip for a Tourne knife is slightly different from a regular chef’s knife. Hold the handle with three fingers (thumb, index, and middle fingers), while tucking the ring and pinky fingers under the handle for stability.

4. Start with a stable base: Trim a small portion of the ingredient to create a flat surface. This will ensure stability when carving and prevent the ingredient from rolling.

5. Use short, controlled strokes: Slowly guide the blade along the contours of the ingredient, applying gentle pressure to remove the skin in an oval shape. Take your time and make deliberate, precise movements to achieve the desired result.

6. Practice, practice, practice: Becoming skilled with a Tourne knife takes time and practice. Start with simple ingredients like potatoes and gradually move on to more challenging ones. Don’t get discouraged if your first attempts don’t turn out perfectly – keep practicing, and you’ll soon master the technique.


Carving fruits and vegetables with a Tourne knife can be a fun and rewarding culinary skill to master. With practice and proper technique, you can create stunningly shaped produce that adds an extra touch of elegance to your dishes. Remember, always prioritize safety and take your time when working with sharp knives. So, go ahead and grab a Tourne knife, unleash your creativity, and elevate your cooking skills to new heights!