If you went to Culinary School, (I did not) one of the first things you are taught is basic knife skills. The same holds true at most restaurants. New hires in the kitchen do most of the prep work. This helps to master the cutting techniques needed to prepare the food properly. Proper cutting, slicing, and chopping, are key in making sure ingredients cook evenly, and flavors marry the way they should.
Today I am going to talk about the Chef’s Knife. You will use this more than anything in your food preparation.
Learning the names of the different parts of the knife will help you understand when I explain where your hands should be while working with your knife. The goal here is also safety as well as good prep. Something else to consider here is sharpness. A good sharp knife is easier to work with and believe it or not safer. The following image shows the palcement of your hand on the knife. This position will work for most all applications.
This position will give you the best control of the cutting edge. The next key is having a good flat surface to work with. The cutting board is just the beginning. Lets use an onion as an example. You should always start by slicing in half or enough on one side to give you a flat surface to rest on your board.
Notice also in this image how my non knife hand is placed on the onion. Finger tips curved under and away fro the edge, and the blade resting against my knuckles. You will want the tip of the knife to be resting on the board. To begin slicing, You will make almost a circular motion, moving the blade forward and down while leaving the tip on the board. and repeating this action as you slice through the onion at your desired thickness. I would recommend practicing with thicker slices first, until you get a good feel for the action. and comfortable with your hand placements.
In my next post I will talk about some other essential cuts like dicing and the lyonaise cut.
Cook from the heart, taste the love