Three Simple Knife Skills Every Home Cook Should Learn

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Not every home cook is a trained chef, but that does not mean that he or she cannot obtain the skills that a culinary arts education could provide. Learning knife skills is important for properly preparing meals for your family and dinner parties. There are some basic skills that everyone should know to improve the flavor, consistency and appearance of dishes. Here are the three most basic skills that every chef should know to prepare food:

1. How to Chop

Proteins and produce must be cut into uniform sizes to prepare for certain dishes. Chopping is a skill that must be mastered to ensure the dish is as visually appealing as palatable. The flavor distribution of chopped vegetables in a dish depends upon how big the chopped vegetables are. Smaller chopped vegetables provide a more uniform flavor. Largely chopped vegetables will provide flavor primarily when the vegetable is consumed.
To perform this knife skill, use the tip of the knife as a fulcrum. Then, move the knife up and down. Keep the tip of the knife in contact with the cutting board during the movement. Take care to keep the fingers away from the blade of the knife. Most professional chefs use their knuckles to avoid chopping off the finger tips during the chopping process.

Three Simple Knife Skills Every Home Cook Should Learn
Image Source: Creative Commons Flicker Image Credit:  Terry Alexande

2. How to Slice

Slicing is different from chopping in two ways. First, the blade leaves the cutting board during a slice unlike a chop. Second, the pieces are long and slender rather than rectangular.
To perform this cutting technique, place the tip of the blade at the farthest part of the vegetable or protein. The first cut should be at approximately 45 degree angle. The tip of the blade should touch the tip of the cutting board first. The base of the blade will follow after the tip. The cut should be away from the body, and the back of the blade should be pushed through the object.

3. How to Dice

The dice cut yields uniform cubes. To begin the dice cut, start by cutting the vegetable or protein in strips. Then, turn the item until the knife forms a perpendicular line to the original cut. Here are some examples of the different type of dice cuts:

Fine Brunoise

This particular cut begins with a fine julienne cut. The julienne cut involves a strip cut with uniform strips that are as small as matchsticks or one-sixteenth by one-sixteenth by two-inches in size. Those strips must be stacked and cut into uniform strips.

Brunoise

The brunoise begins with a julienne cut, which is larger than a fine julienne. The end product is one-eighth inch by one-eighth inch by one-eighth inch.

Small Dice

This cut begins with an allumette and ends with a diced item of one-quarter by one-quarter by one-quarter inch.

Medium Dice

The medium cut begins with the battonette cut, which is one-half inch by one-half-inch by one-half inch.

Large Dice

The large dice is three-quarter inch by three-quarter inch by three-quarter inch in size. The cut begins with a larger battonette cut.

Learn the Basic Cutting Skills

Learn the basic cutting skills and improve the quality of dishes you produce at home. Your friends and family will be impressed with your new skills.

Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:

Ryan is a chef at Deckhouse Woolwich Restautant in Sydney, Australia. Ryan thinks some basic knofe skills are essential for any home cook. Here are some of his basic tips to build your knife skills.

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