Knife Skills - Everything you need to know
about chef knife skills
It is wrongly assumed by many people that knife skills means how fast you can cut onions, mushrooms or zucchini.
Knife skills are much more than that. It involves the ability to handle all aspects of using knife safely in the kitchen, for your safety and for the safety of the other kitchen staff.
Here are some rules for safe knife handling that I have followed during my chef career and that I believe are part of what is essentially good knife skills.
Never try to catch a falling knife - Instead, step back and avoid it, no matter how expensive and how much you like this knife.
Work always with sharp knives - It most cases it is the blunt knife that will cut you, not the sharp one.
When cutting round hard vegetables, cut a flat side first for stability - For example, if you try to slice carrot, first make a flat side lengthwise for balance.
When carrying a knife across the kitchen, alert the other staff by calling “sharp” or “behind”.
Carry a knife pointing down to the floor - this way if you bump into somebody, no one will get hurt.
Alert dishwashers for the presence of knives in the dishes you carry to the dish pit.
Use knives only on designated cutting boards, not on top of the stainless steel counter or any other place not specifically designated for this use.
Use latex gloves when cutting meat - this will not only help keep the meat fresh, but can also protect you from cuts.
Make sure you use only cleaned and sanitized knives - knives can carry bacteria from one food to another. Dirty blades can be a breeding ground for bad bacteria.
And last but not least, cut with your fingers folded the opposite direction of the blades. I recently saw a cooking video in Internet called “30 minute meals with Tanya” (I have changed the name so as not to advertise a crappy cooking show). The girl from the video was cutting vegetables holding them with her fingers outstretched towards the blade of the knife in a way that sent spiders down my spine.
If you follow my simple advice you should be able to enjoy a safe and cut-free work environment. You can also apply the knife skills for your home cooking.
Happy cooking .
Chef George Krumov