Every budding chef needs a chef’s knife, which has a broad, tapered shape and a fine sharp edge. Every chef also needs to learn a few basic knife skills (are you thinking about the scene in Julie & Julia where Julia Child was chopping piles of onions?).
Chefs knives are designed so they rock on a cutting board as they cut food.
A dull knife is more likely to slip during cutting, putting your hands and fingers at risk of accidental injury.
A razor-sharp knives make cooking a far easier, quicker task and can help make your food look more visually appealing.
You can cut perfect cubes, ribbon-thin julienne vegetables and perfect minces; no more unwieldy chunks of onion in your favorite marinara sauce.
Here are a few knife skills basics to get you started.
Use sharp knives
If you’re sharpening your own knives at home, you can use whetsone or a steel rod to refresh your blades.
Also, most kitchen stores offer knife sharpening services that will do it for you for a small cost. No matter how you decide to sharpen your knife, it’s important to start with the right blade.
According to our friends at Fine Cooking, one size does not fit all when it comes to choosing the perfect chef’s knife. When you’re making your purchase, the experts recommend:
Try before you buy
Richard Von Husen, owner of Warren Kitchen and Cutlery in Rhinebeck, New York told Fine Cooking “…he lets customers “play” with a range of knives without looking at price to determine the size, shape, and weight of knife that they prefer.”
Then he helps them choose one based on their budget.
Determine what is important to you
Consider weight, balance and size when choosing a knife.
Some people prefer heftier knives because they exert more force, while others prefer the ease of use of a lighter knife.
According to Fine Cooking, 8-inch chef’s knives are often the most popular among home cooks, but if you’re looking for something with a little more agility, a 6-inch blade can be effective.
Know the difference
Do you really need a chef’s knife, a serrated knife, a paring knife and steak knives? Surely you can use one for all the same purposes, right?
You actually do need different knives for different purposes. While some can be used interchangeably, it can be dangerous to use the wrong type of knife.
For example, if you try to cut a large watermelon with a steak knife, an injury is imminent.
Likewise, if you use your 8-inch chef knife to cut a tiny lime for you Corona, there’s a fair chance that you’ll end up one finger short of a hand.
The Giveaway (NOW CLOSED)
In case you’re cooking with dull knives, Cutco has generously agreed to give a Kitchen Classics Knife Set to one lucky reader. You can use them to replace the knife set you bought at WalMart in college, you can add them to your growing kitchen collection…or you can regift it. Really, I’ll never know.
- Leave a comment here that answers the following questions: what is one recipe you want to learn how to cook?
- Anonymous comments: leave your email address when you comment so I can reach you.
- 1 random winner will be chosen by Friday, November 19 at 11:59PM CST and announced by Sunday, November 21. I will notify you via email and you will have 72 hours to respond before I choose a new winner.
- Contest open to US & Canada Residents only.
For Additional Entries:
- Re-tweet the following message: Stop chopping with dull blades! Win a set of @cutcocutlery from In Good Taste (cc @mariscallahan). Enter here: http://bit.ly/8X3rgb
- Follow me on Twitter @mariscallahan
- Become a fan of In Good Taste on Facebook.
- Suggest that your friends become a fan of In Good Taste on Facebook.
- Please leave one comment for each entry.
Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Cutco. I was not provided with complimentary product or compensation of any kind. The words and opinions expressed here are my own.
The 10 First Kitchen Commandments, Part 1: Choose quality over quantity.
The 10 First Kitchen Commandments, Part 2: Be Practical, Be Realistic.