Knowing how to cook starts with knowing how to chop.
1. To chop, grasp cleaver or French chef's knife with one hand; rest the other hand on the top front for control. Chop in large, uniform pieces, using quick, heavy rocking motions.
2. To mince, finely chop food into very small pieces, using the same technique as for chopping; use for garnishes or sautéing, when ingredients should almost disappear into a sauce.
3. To julienne, first slice food into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Stack and cut into 1/8-inch-thick spears. To julienne vegetables, take a slice off the bottom so the food doesn't move as you chop.
4. To dice, cut food into slices and then cut evenly and squarely into 1/8- to 1/4-inch cubes.