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Tourne refers to a vegetable cut to measure 2 inches long with seven sides and tapered at the ends in an elliptical shape. The tourne, which translates from French as “turned” or “to turn,” is typically taught in the first classes of culinary school, most often during knife skills or introductory culinary skills classes. Although initially the task of holding a small piece of a vegetable and cutting it into seven equal sides is challenging, it shows your guest you have proficiency and that you take the time and care to finesse your potatoes.

Peel the potato and square it off by trimming all the sides to flat surfaces. This provides stability and a basic shape to pare down.

Cut the potato in half lengthwise and across the middle. You will have four pieces with flat surfaces, except the sides of the potato that made up the exterior.

Grasp one piece between your thumb and forefinger and taper the edges on both ends. It should resemble the shape of an American football. Repeat with the other pieces.

Grasp the potato between your thumb and forefinger and pare it down to have seven sides, turning the piece in your hand after you pare each side. Repeat with the other pieces.

Square off the ends of each piece. The turned potato should measure between 2 and 2 1/4 inches long.


The key in making tourne vegetables is to strive for consistency and well-formed shapes, rather than the speed at which you work.


Go slowly at first if you're not used to making such refined cuts on vegetables. Working too fast can lead to accidents and cuts.

About the Author

A.J. Andrews

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.