Today we’re going to speak about knife skills. Nothing is more vital to a cook than learning how to slice, dice, and chop. Today’s course will begin with the (maybe surprising!) fundamentals that you will require before even picking up a knife and will reveal the secrets to becoming faster, better, and more confident with a sharp blade. Ready? Let’s get started!
WHY LEARN KNIFE SKILLS?
When you start preparing practically any recipe, the first thing you do is start cutting items. So it’s something you do rather frequently in the kitchen. It’s frequently one of the abilities that cooks believe slows them down and prevents 30-minute recipes from being 30-minute. So, even if you’ve made a lot of cuts, are you as efficient as you could be?
Also, are the items you cut all the same size and shape? The difference between a good dish and a great one sometimes comes down to whether it’s cooked consistently, meaning your ingredients should be cut evenly and uniformly. Can you cut things quickly and uniformly? That is what you will study and practice today.
WHAT KNIVES DO I REQUIRE?
A normal chef’s knife is the primary knife required for cooking in the kitchen. This is the huge knife shown above. The blade is typically 6 to 10 inches long (eight inches is standard). There is no one-size-fits-all chef’s knife; you should have something sharp and comfortable in your hand. (Here are a handful we’ve tried and enjoyed!)
Most of your cutting will be done with a chef’s knife, and you won’t need much else. But there are two more that are critical. A paring knife Close-up labor is much easier, such as cutting eyes out of potatoes, peeling vegetables, segmenting citrus fruit, or deveining shrimp.
Knife with serrations This is excellent not just for cutting bread, but it is also often superior to a chef’s knife when it comes to delicate vegetable peel, such as tomatoes. The serrated and paring knives do not need to be pricey. We’ll make recommendations in our gear list below.
BEFORE YOU CUT ANYTHING, PRACTICE YOUR SKILLS!
Before we go into fancy flashy knife abilities, you must understand one crucial element to cut confidently. Secure your chopping board! Your cutting board should be solid and comfortable on the countertop. This means you shouldn’t be able to slide your hand around on the board.
There are various simple ways to add non-slip feet or a rubberized bottom to your cutting board if it does not already have them. Place a damp cloth or paper towel underneath your board to avoid sliding around. You may also acquire a roll of non-slip shelf liner and cut it to fit your board for a reusable solution. Never cut something without first ensuring that your board will not move beneath your knife.
MAKE USE OF A SHARP KNIFE:
Once you’ve established a sturdy working area, ensure your knife is sharp.
If you just got your knife, it’s probably sharp enough. If, like most people, you’ve had it for years and have never sharpened it, now is the moment to change that. A dull knife is a risky knife. Dull blades need more force to cut through food and are more prone to slip, increasing your chances of cutting yourself. And, on top of that, they’re not going to do as well.
CONSIDER SHARPENING TO BE SIMILAR TO TEETH CLEANING:
Take your knives to a professional sharpener once or twice a year, and then acquire honing steel and hone them once a day before you start cooking.
The honing steel does not sharpen the blade but straightens the edge, making it feel sharper when used. If you’re unclear on how to sharpen a blade, Serious Eats has a decent guide, but it’s not difficult and difficult to go wrong.
HOW TO GRIP IT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL
Congratulations! You’ve got a sharp knife and a solid cutting surface! You can finally pick up your knife now! When it comes to using a knife quickly, accurately, and safely, your grip is crucial. While cutting, you want to feel entirely in control of the knife. You don’t want it to move (especially if your hands are oily), and you don’t want your fingers to get in the way. So, let’s have a look at some different holding approaches.
Pinch the blade between your thumb and forefinger, wrap your hands around the bolster and curl your other fingers around the handle. Please pick up your knife and hold it in this position. Consider how simple it is to pick where to place the blade on an ingredient. This will provide you with the greatest amount of power and control. Holding your knife correctly and squeezing the blade can benefit your speed and confidence when chopping swiftly!
HOW TO HOLD YOUR CUTTING FOOD KNIFE TECHNIQUE COOKING
The most important thing to remember when cutting food is to keep your fingers out of the way and the blade moving smoothly through the food.
The ideal technique is to use the “claw grip” on the food, keeping the center of the blade near your knuckles as a guide and rolling the blade over the food. This provides the most precision and control. This is how it appears: (without food).
The fingers are gently curled in. This way, the knuckles can guide the knife blade, allowing you to slice food properly without risking injuring your fingers. (Watch Grace demonstrate this in the video above!)
It may seem strange initially if you’re not used to this strategy, but it’s far safer and worth practicing. It will be useful to know that your fingers are out of the way of the blade without having to think about it, especially as you get better (and faster) at cutting.
INCREASE YOUR LEVEL! PRO TECHNIQUES
Let’s speak about some basic cuts! A recipe will usually instruct you to slice, chop, dice, or mince your root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots.
The slices are simple:
Cut even-width slices from a carrot, potato, celery, or another vegetable. A mandoline or food processor works well for this, especially if you’re preparing for a large group of people and require a huge quantity.
When directions say chopped ingredients, the bits don’t have to be perfect. The idea is to get cuts that are evenly proportioned but not uniform.
Diced ingredients differ from whole ingredients.
When a recipe instructs you to dice potatoes for something like home fries, the idea is to get them into uniformly sized cubes. A medium dice should be about 1/2 inch in size. A large die measures around 3/4 inch, while a little dice measures approximately 1/4 inch. The most significant aspect is that the food is nearly the same size.
Minced is the final option.
This is something that many recipes instruct you to do with herbs, garlic, or other fragrant aromatics that should be distributed throughout a dish. Mincing is a fun approach to cut because it’s difficult to go wrong: slice everything up in a big pile, then keep chopping until it’s as little as possible. A knife is ideal for this, although a grater, Micro plane, or even a blender will get a comparable result.
- Why is it vital to have good skills?
As a Culinary Student, you will study the following skills. It is crucial to grasp knife skills to ensure kitchen safety and the best possible outcome. A decent quality knife is essential in addition to great knife abilities.
- What is the most fundamental skill?
Chopping is the most fundamental and easiest knife skill to learn, and it can be used for a wide range of food preparations. To properly hold the knife, wrap your middle, ring, and pinky fingers around the handle and grip the blade with your index and thumb.
- What exactly are knife skills in the kitchen?
Knife skills are an important component of any culinary culture. They enable cooks to securely and effectively cut up materials in ways suited to the dishes they will be used in.
Any cooking talent takes a long time to master, but knife skills are especially dependent on muscle memory. Even expert cooks with years of experience can benefit from the practice. Although it is impractical to do so every night, take a few moments to slow down, concentrate on the technique, and strive for the most even and uniform cuts possible.