We asked professional chefs to share the best ways to use a knife in a kitchen. Here’s what they had to say:
“I prefer a weightier knife that can chop through multiple ingredients at once and keep a sharp edge for an extended time,” says chef Bruno Feldeisen, judge on Netflix’s “The Final Table.” “I keep things simple with my knives. I sharpen them regularly and use them the way they were meant to be used.”
Chefs get to know their knives like lovers. They caress them, cry over them, and perhaps even talk to them. On Valentine’s Day, it’s only fitting that we ask which knives they love most — the ones they’re glad to have at their sides night after night.
A chef’s knife is a must-have kitchen tool that you should invest in. You can use it for everything from mincing garlic to slicing meat, but you have to make sure that you’re using it correctly.
Follow these tips from professional chefs on how to use a knife the right way and keep your fingers attached.
Keep It Sharp
You’ll be able to cut faster and more efficiently with a sharp blade, which also reduces your chances of slipping and cutting yourself. “A sharp knife is more efficient than a dull one,” says Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. “The biggest mistake most people make when they’re cooking is they don’t use a sharp enough knife.”
Use the Right Knife For the Job
It’s important to know what kind of knives are best for different tasks, according to Robert Irvine, host of Dinner: Impossible on the Food Network. Here are some common kitchen knives and how to use them:
Chef’s Knife: This all-purpose knife is made for slicing, dicing and chopping large quantities of food quickly.
Paring Knife: This smaller knife comes in handy when you need to peel fruits and vegetables or devein shrimp.
Boning Knife: You can use this
Since most of us use knives for the majority of our meal prep, we might as well get good at using them. Below, we asked chefs how to use a knife like a pro.
1. Keep Your Knives Sharp
“The biggest mistake I see home cooks make is using dull knives,” says chef Caitlin McMillan of New York’s Saxon + Parole. “A good sharp knife will not only make your life easier, but it’s also much safer.”
2. Invest in Quality Knives
Brett Cooper of Aster in San Francisco recommends investing in quality knives that you’ll use every day rather than buying a large set. “You don’t need eight different sizes and shapes of knives,” he says. “Three to four knives will do the trick.” Cooper suggests having three sizes (a paring knife, a serrated knife and an eight-inch chef’s knife) and one utility or boning knife.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Even if you have the best tools on the market, they won’t do anything unless you know how to wield them properly. McMillan recommends practicing holding a chef’s knife with a proper grip (thumb and forefinger wrapped around the blade), using your other hand to steady vegetables as
The first and most important tip for using a knife is simple: practice. If you are not comfortable with your knives, then don’t use them.
The second tip is to keep your knives sharp. Dull knives can do more damage than sharp ones.
The third tip is to be careful when handling any type of knife. The safest way to handle a knife is to place the point of the blade on a cutting board or other surface and gently push down on it with one hand while holding it firmly in place with the other hand.
The fourth tip is to use the right kind of knife for the job at hand. For example, if you are cutting vegetables such as carrots or potatoes, then use a paring knife rather than a chef’s knife because the former has thinner blades and will not crush the vegetable being cut as easily as would a chef’s knife.
The fifth tip is to make sure that you have a good grip on your knife when using it; this means both hands should be around the handle with fingers pointing towards each other (not away from one another). If you don’t have enough strength in your hands then consider wearing gloves so as not prevent slipping or dropping accidents from happening during food prep time!
The sixth tip is to keep your washing
The key to success at home with knives is practice.
The more you use a knife, the better you get at it.
A sharp knife is always safer than a dull one, but a small paring knife can be dangerous if not used correctly.
Never use your finger as a guard when cutting an item and never put your hand in front of a moving blade.
When cutting anything, use the tips of your fingers to push food along the cutting board. Always keep your fingertips bent up and out of harms way!
There are few kitchen gadgets that are as versatile, reliable and important as a basic chef’s knife. But how can you buy the best knife for your kitchen? What are the things you should look out for before making a purchase? And how do you get the most out of it once you have it home?
To get some answers, we spoke with Michael Hoffman, Executive Chef at The International Culinary Center in New York City, who shared his expert tips on buying the right knife, maintaining it, and using it to prep food like a pro.
Here are his top 5 chef knives every home cook should know:
1. A chef’s knife can be used practically everywhere in the kitchen.
2. Be sure to hold your knife comfortably.
3. Keep your knife sharp and clean at all times.
4. Use a chopping board whenever possible.
5. Cut food into uniform pieces for even cooking results.