Knife skills are one of the most important competencies you will learn as a Culinary Student. It is particularly important to have a good understanding of knife skills to help ensure safety in the kitchen and the best final result. In addition to strong knife skills, it is important to have a good quality knife. Having good sharp knives is paramount to success in the kitchen as it will not only contribute to keeping you safe but it will also save you time in the kitchen. A good quality knife is one for which it is easy to restore the sharp edge, and is a good size and weight for the user.
Over time you will develop accuracy, speed, and eventually be able to unconsciously think of the correct way to use a knife. If you already know how to use a knife, make sure you are not using any bad habits and learn the correct way to cut!
Understand your Knife: Learning the Anatomy of your Knife
Knowing the parts of a knife and how they affect the way you hold and cut with the knife will help you to understand the balance of the knife and where it is most comfortable for you.
If you are unfamiliar about the name and parts of your knife, have a read of our previous blog post “How Well do You Know your Knife?”
Stay Safe: Your Grip on the Knife
This can sometimes be the hardest skill to learn as many Chefs have already acquired a habit that is hard to break. The correct way to cut with your knife is to always keep your knuckles in front of your fingertips at all times. Stabilize the food with your thumb and pinky. Once you get used to this it’s easy!
Be in Control
By understanding how to properly hold your knife you will minimize fatigue, have a larger range of motion and ensure you have maximum control of your knife. Hold your knife by putting your thumb and forefinger on the blade.
Always keep the blade on the cutting surface and bring the knife handle down
Know the Lingo: Peel, Slice, Julianne, Mince, and Dice!
Understanding the difference between the various cuts shows you know what you are doing in the kitchen and you can easily accomplish an assigned task.
Helpful Hints for the Kitchen
- Always ensure you maintain a sharp knife blade (a dull knife causes a lot more injuries!)
- Keep your cutting board from slipping by using a Silpat underneath
You are now ready to start mastering knife skills!
Ideas for this blog post came from the following article:
Henry, Alan. “Perfect Your Knife Skills With This Chef’s Guide To Knives”. Life Hacker. N.p., 2012. Web. 27 Dec. 2015.