It’s the first of the month, which means another #CookMoreIn2013 tip is here. You’ve learned how to be conscientious about your meals, what cookware to purchase, what to stock in your pantry, how to use up vegetables, and the importance of prepping ahead. All are incredibly important cooking tips, but June’s tip will focus on the most important skill you’ll ever learn in the kitchen – how to use a knife.
In 2012, I spent about 8 months giving in-home one-on-one cooking lessons. I taught over a hundred people, and I discovered that nobody knows how to use a knife correctly. Of all the people I taught, I met just two who had ever taken a knife skills lesson. Since most cooking tasks involve the use of a knife, this is a problem. Don’t think that this is a skill only reserved for professional chefs. Learning how to use a knife properly, safely, and efficiently takes a bit of practice but anyone can learn. Plus, it will save you so much time in the kitchen in the long run.
While giving these lessons, I also came across a lot of sad, blunt, neglected knives. Most of these knives were brand name knives received as wedding gifts and not given much love and care over the years. The analogy I always gave my students was, even if you buy a luxury car, you still have to take it in for tune-ups and maintenance. The same goes for a knife of any price. Take care of it, and it will last you forever.
So, here are the knife skills 101 I always gave every single one of my students:
- Start with a stable chopping base: A lot of cutting boards don’t have a good grip on the counter, which could easily lead to accidents. Get a grippy non-skid one like this or place a folded kitchen towel underneath your board to prevent slipping
- Buy a good knife and keep it sharp: A knife is a personal decision. Make sure you can hold the knife and feel it in your hands before buying. I have small hands so this knife works well for me. Use a honing steel to keep the teeth of your knife together (video below shows you how) and take it to a professional sharpener once or twice a year. Also, keep it out of the dishwasher. The heat and knocking around can blunt your blade
- Hold your knife like you’re shaking someone’s hand: Wrap your hand completely around where the handle and the blade meet. This will give you a good grip and the best leverage while chopping
- Learn the right chopping techniques: See our video below to see the most common techniques we use
- Protect your fingers with your knuckles: Roll your fingers up and use your knuckles as a guide for your knife
- Create a flat surface with whatever you’re chopping: This is the safest way to chop something. A vegetable rolling around on your cutting board can be dangerous!
Consider the video below your free knife skills course:
Here are some other videos that’ll help you practice our knife skills:
How to chop, slice, and dice onions:
How to cube sweet potatoes:
How to dice jalapenos: