3 Advanced Knife Skills That Will Help You Both in and Out of the Kitchen

2 person is preparing the ingredients for the meal they are cooking

Whether you are a parent, a weekend cook, a party host, a professional baker, or a caterer, you may be interested in learning and mastering the most important advanced knife skills that can help you prepare the best meals at work or at home.

Sometimes people think getting better at culinary pursuits just means cooking more and taking time to practice knife techniques is not high on their to-do list. However, the efficient use of knives can mean faster prep time and fewer accidents.

Have you noticed celebrity chefs already have their vegetables and other foods perfectly cut and waiting in individual bowls? That is because they have a team of cooks working behind the cameras to help them prepare. Do you have that luxury? Probably not.

Most of us need to feed our families after work or have limited time to prepare for hosting. Learning the best skills with your knives will help you prepare more quickly and spend less time in the kitchen. And while kitchen accidents are never eliminated, the risk of cutting yourself is substantially decreased when you practice and master proper knife use.

Learning the three most important advanced knife skills will involve gaining the proper techniques and practicing as long as it takes to master your knife skills.

What Are the Three
Most Important Advanced Knife Skills?

couples in the kitchen while the man is cutting

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Knife skills begin with safe and practical cuts. Many non-professionals develop efficient methods of chopping, mincing, and dicing without ever cutting a finger, and they can consistently and effectively feed their families and even host extravagant parties.

1. Uniform Cuts

2. Aesthetic Cuts

3. Variety of Cuts

Preparations for Using Advanced Knife Skills

Man at the kitchen is chopping a cucumber

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The ability to make a variety of knife cuts will add to the essential knife skills of uniformity and aesthetics. You must be able to determine the type of cut that is most appropriate to your dish.

Two diced vegetables can cook at very different rates. Something dense, like a potato, will take longer than something less dense, such as celery. A good cook may choose to use a smaller cut for the potatoes and larger cuts for the celery, and they will probably cook the potatoes first before adding celery.

Squaring

What Types of Cuts Can
I Make with Advanced Knife Skills?

A person is slicing a cucumber

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Julienne

Brunoise

Batonnet

Baton

Paysanne

Chiffonade

Butterflying

Deboning

Carving

Knife Skills that Professional Chefs Value Most

 person is chopping a vegetable

While advanced knife skills are important, they are built upon fundamental skills. The skills that chefs most value in the kitchen are a combination of both. So, what knife skills do professional chefs value the most?

Know and Perform Your Cuts

Sharpen Your Knives

Sharpening knives is a basic but invaluable skill to have in the kitchen. Sharp knives are actually safer than dull ones, but very few people are consistently skilled at sharpening their knives.

Sharpening stones are either water stones or oil stones, and they come with a particular grit ranging from fine to coarse. The classic knife angle for sharpening is 22.5 degrees to the stone. You must run the entire edge of the knife from the top to the bottom of the cutting surface along the full length of the stone.

Some chefs use steels to sharpen knives rather than stones. Steels can keep knives sharper longer because they can individually hit the microscopic grooves on the blade. One of the best knife skills and habits is to give your knife two or three strokes on the cutting steel every time you start a new job.

A dull knife is a useless knife. Many cooks, even good ones, suffer through long periods of time wrestling with dull knives. It is crucial that you can quickly and effectively keep your knife razor sharp.

Know the Best Knife for the Job

Conclusion

A person is chopping a fruit

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Learning advanced knife skills not only increase your professional worth, but it gives you a lifelong skill that will always be useful. Beyond the basics of holding a knife, holding food, and being safe, furthering your skills will allow you to work faster and more efficiently.

You must be able to make uniform cuts. Some foods you cut have fat areas, thin areas, and everything in between on one piece of food. The average Joe slices it into pieces that vary in size and width. Then the larger, thicker pieces take longer to cook than the small, thin pieces. Uniformity ensures that you have predictable cooking times, evenly cooked food pieces, and better aesthetics.

Aesthetics are another critical skill that cannot be undervalued. From the pleasing sight of uniform planks to decorating knives that give your cut watermelon an edge with patterns, a pleasing dish can wet someone's appetite as much as smell. Garnishes also go a long way in the aesthetics of your plate and properly cut garnishes are crucial. A chiffonade cut vegetable leaf or a brunoise diced garnish can take your plate from good to great.

Finally, you must have a versatile arsenal of cuts and understand each. This goes hand-in-hand with aesthetics. You cannot enhance your plate with a brunoise garnish or a chiffonade leaf if you do not have chiffonade and brunoise cuts in your toolbelt.

Different cuts help you cook accurately as well as aesthetically. You need to know what cut is appropriate in any given situation. Uniformity, aesthetics, and variety of cuts are the trademarks of an advanced cook with advanced knife skills.

Featured Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

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