Good knife skills can be elusive to the home cook. The truth is, being able to slice and dice in the kitchen is just like any other skill. You get better with practice. Here are 3 Steps you can take to improve your knife skills.
Step 1- Invest in a few good knives.
Does anyone else get annoyed when Barefoot Contessa says to use “good” butter or “good” vanilla but then never elaborates on what qualifies as good?
In my free knife skills course, I share exactly what knives you should buy, and I am happy to report that the term “good” isn’t synonymous with expensive. If you can only buy one knife, get a chef's knife. It will be the knife you use for 80% of your cutting and chopping tasks. I recommend this chef's knife. You can get it for about $25 on amazon.
Step 2-Seek out recipes that will allow you to use your knife skills
When I taught at a culinary school, the first thing we did on Day 1 was get acquainted with the knives. We peeled and chopped onions, carrots and celery and made gigantic batches of stocks to get through soup week.
For someone who wants to improve their cooking skills at home, going through 50 pounds of onions and carrots in a matter of hours won’t help you. What you can do instead is make sure that everyday you cook, you are making something that requires you to pick up a knife and improve your knife skills.
Instead of buying pre-cut lettuce in bags, cut your own, along with tomato and any other vegetables you have to make your own salad. Instead of buying pre-cut fruit, save money and buy the fruit whole and cut it yourself.
Want to make sure you have the technique of julienning onions down? Make a French onion soup. Want to practice slicing and dicing? Make salad in a jar!
Step 3-Learn from someone who has good knife skills
Most cooking shows don’t go into detail on how you are supposed to handle a knife and use it to get various cuts. Luckily, most major cities have gourmet food stores that offer knife skills classes fro home chefs. Community colleges and recreation centers may have classes as well.
Based on my research, some of these classes can cost $75-100 but it may be worth it in the long run if you are spending tons of money on pre-cut fruit and vegetables. Or you can take this free online knife skills class.
Good knife skills are the foundation to being able to cook confidently from home. Keep practicing and use the tips in this article, and you will become a more confident home cook in no time.