Techniques

Knife Skills

cuts
How to Cut
The chef knife, also known as a French knife, has a specific design that when utilized as intended, makes continuous chopping easy, relatively effortless, and safe. The key is the curve that runs along the edge from mid blade to tip. That curve is made for rocking. To properly chop, the tip of the knife never leaves the cutting board, and the blade rocks down and forward, back and up. The actual cutting should take place toward the rear of the blade.

Flashy, showman chefs may chop violently with a lot of noise, but lifting the knife completely off the cutting board with every cut puts enormous tension on the wrist, and after only a few minutes, fatigue sets in.

To hold the knife, grasp the handle. The index finger can rest along the top of the shaft, or wrap around the handle. It’s a matter of personal comfort.

Cut food into manageable lengths, about 3-4 inches long. Most people can cut 2 or 3 pieces of food at a time. Round foods, like carrots, should be given a flat edge. Cut them in half lengthwise and lay them on their cut side for stability. Next, slice lengthwise again at desired thickness, which will yield several long, flat slices. Lay flat on their side again, and slice again, length or cross wise, depending on desired shape.

Watch Your Fingers
Finger tips are precious, and if you want to keep yours, keep them tucked back, away from the blade. In the proper position, the tips are touching the food, and the first knuckle is pushed forward, so that it actually comes in contact with the side of the blade. (The side, not the edge, of the blade!) This contact helps you guide the food into the blade, and gives you maximum control over the size of your cuts. This position, with fingertips back, is not natural, and will definitely take some practice. Buy yourself a 69-cent bag of carrots, and chop away until you feel comfortable with the motion and the grip. Then use the carrots to feed your horse.
dice 2

Print this technique

click on a technique below

Frozen Fruit

Frozen Puff Pastry

Cleaning Chicken Livers

A Quick Primer on Buying and Using Fancy Salt

Sriracha Salt

Ash Infused Salt

Beef Cuts: Brisket

Stock: The Foundation of Cuisine

Whole Spices

Yeast Bread Techniques

Using Cardamom

Turmeric

Top 5 Thanksgiving Tips

The Crimped Edge

The Black-Eyed Pea

Super Sprouts

Sundried Tomatoes

Simple Syrup

Sesame Seeds

Semolina

Scoville Units

Saffron

Pomegranates

Piping

Pie Dough

Peeling and Chopping Apples

Pearl Onions

Parts of the Knife and Knife Care

Parsley

Pans

Pan Preparation

Nut Flowers

Muffin Tins

Mise en Place

Melting Chocolate

Making Cheese

Lamination

Instant-Read Thermometers

Homemade Jam

Ground Spices and Spice Blends

Pâte à Choux

Food Mills and Ricers

Filling Cream Puffs

Epazote

Easy Oven Bacon

Denaturation

Deep Frying

Day Old Bread

Crème Fraiche

Crème Anglaise

Cooling and Drying

Cooking Sugar

Coffee

Citrus Supremes

Cinnamon Sugar

Chile Paste and Powder

Chicken Fabrication (a/k/a Butchering)

Carving Whole Roasted Birds

Cardamom

Caramelization

Capers

Buying Chicken

Buerre Noisette

Blind Baking

Beans, Beans, the Magical Fruit

Bay

Basting

Bain-Marie

Anchovies

Amchoor

Adding Alternatively

Ice Cream Machines

Espresso Granita

Knife Skills

Puree

Temper

Ice Bath

Sauté

Egg Wash

The Creaming Method

Zesting

Chopping Chocolate

The Tonka Bean

Simmering vs. Boiling

Whole Grains

Pounding and Tenderizing Meat

Chile Guide

Cooking Pasta

Roquefort

The Cut-in Technique

Concassé

Peeling and Seeding Cucumbers

Frying Fish

Maceration and Infusion

Temper

Vanilla Beans

Ice Cream Freezers

Buerre Noisette

Meringue

Reduction

Seasoning Cast Iron

Toasting Nuts

Grating Nutmeg

Roux

Internal Temperatures for Beef

Whipping Cream

Egg Wash

Agave

Adding Alternately

A Berry Primer

Top