Cuts like a knife

Nice mealAfter completing my essential knife skills class at The New School of Cooking, my dream of mastering culinary knife techniques in a single afternoon was sliced, diced, chopped and turned into julienne fries.

I naively went into the class thinking I could learn a secret culinary knife trick that would jump start my ability to use a chef’s knife. The class was more of an introduction to essential knife skills.

It was a good class for a beginner like myself, but many in the class were clearly looking for a higher level of training.

The first hour of the three-hour class was a lecture on the types of knives and a discussion on cutting techniques. The second part of the class I sliced, diced, chopped, chiffonaded and julienned vegetables with a chef’s knife. I even was able to supreme an orange.

At the end, I shared a meal made from the fruits and vegetable used in the class with my fellow chefs in training. We had a surprisingly good meal consisting of kale salad, potato gratin and brussels sprouts with a salsa verde.

Lessons learned:

– Always use the claw when using a knife in the kitchen.

– There is no shortcut to mastering the knife. Practice, Practice, Practice is the only way to get better.

– The chef’s knife and the paring knife are the only essential knives needed in the kitchen. The other knives can be helpful, but not required.

– Cutting up fresh herbs is extremely easy and makes your food taste much better.

– For best control of a chef’s knife, use the pinch grip.

– If prepared properly, a kale salad can taste really good.

– Always hold a chef’s knife before you buy it. You need to find a knife that feels good in your hand.