A few basic knife skills
Why improve your knife skills?
Knowing how to wield a Chef’s knife in the kitchen will save you hours upon hours of time. If you find yourself inventing new ways to cut an onion every time you cook, then waxing some basic vegetable cuts could change your life. You’ll be able to work faster and there’s less chance of nicking your fingers, plus if you can cut your veggies uniformly you are on the road to perfectly cooked chips and presentation worthy of MasterChef.
How to hold a knife
Learning how to hold a Chef’s knife is the first step. Just in front of the handle, pinch the blade of the knife between your thumb and your index finger – your index finger will need to be bent slightly above the blade so that it’s at no risk of the blade itself. Wrap your other three fingers around the handle of the knife, with your middle finger against the bolster. Your grip should be quite relaxed – no white knuckles.
Easy mistakes to make include extending your index finger along the blade and wrapping all your fingers around the handle or having a blunt knife and a grip that is too tight.
A few basic skills
When setting out on this knife skills journey a very good place to start is by learning a few basic vegetable cuts. Buy yourself a pocket of onions and get prepared to make batches of French onion soup when practicing. Similarly, order bunches of carrots and set yourself the goal of mastering the julienne cut. And, if roast chicken is your thing, learn how to carve like a master.
How to sharpen your knives
Knife skills take practice, practice and more practice but it’s equally important to keep your knives in tip top condition. Make sure you regularly maintain your knives (here’s how) and, if more drastic action is required, learn how to use a whet stone.
Professional chefs spend years perfecting their knife skills so it’s a case of practicing until it comes naturally to you.