Knife Skills


1. How to hold a knife properly 
- this is how to properly grip your knife for maximum efficiency (and safety).

Find your grip:
There are two ways to hold a knife. Both have their advantages, but the best way to grip a knife is the one that’s the most comfortable for you.

(a) Handshake Grip
- Wrap your hand around the knife like you’re shaking someone’s hand. This is the most intuitive and strongest knife grip, but what you gain in strength you may lose in precision.

(b) Pinch Grip 
- Pinch the blade of the knife just above the bolster with your thumb and forefinger, then wrap the other fingers around the handle. Professional chefs prefer this grip because it gives more control when chopping and mincing.

2. Dicing
- Dicing is making a cut into a cube-shape. There are three sizes: small, medium, and large. This cut is best for diced meats in any kind of recipe.

Small dice is ¼ inch
Medium dice is ½ inch
Large dice is ¾ inch

3. Mincing
- Mincing is a fine, non-uniform cut. It’s good for garlic, parsley, herbs and nuts. The tip here is to keep cutting and chopping until you think you are done, and then cut some more!

4. Julienne
- This cut looks like a matchstick and has the nickname “shoestring.” This cut is usually used for vegetables like celery and onion. It is also a good size for cutting potatoes for french fries.

It is ¼ inch by ¼ inch and 2 to 2.5 inches long
A fine Julienne cut is ⅛ inch by ⅛ inch and also 2 to 2.5 inches long

5. Chiffonade
- The Chiffonade cut is for any kind of food that is a leaf. Roll up your leaf into a tight tube and cut across the tube to get long strips of leaves.

6. How to Sharpen a Knife
Learning how to use a knife sharpener is a skill that every home chef should master. The process varies depending on the type of sharpener you choose to use.

(a) Electric sharpeners work in steps. There are usually three slots in the machine to run knives through. The first slot shaves off the knife creating a fresh edge and the other two shapes the knife. The downside to this method is the user has no control over the amount of knife that is shaved off.

(b) When using a sharpening stone, run the blade over the stone at a 22.5 degree angle while applying moderate pressure. The angle needs to stay constant as you repeat this process about 10 times. Then turn the blade over and repeat. Next flip the stone over and use the fine grit side to repeat the process. Finally, finish by using sharpening steel. This can be a time-consuming process so be prepared to dedicate some time to practice.

(c) Knife sharpeners with rotating wheels are very easy to use. It is not as time-consuming and you have complete control over the sharpening process. First take a damp washcloth and place it on the counter. This prevents the sharpener from sliding. Hold the sharpener at the edge opposite the rotating disks and slowly run your knife through the wheels at a 90 degree angle. Start at the end of the knife and pull towards yourself ending with the tip. Repeat this step four to six times. This will leave your knife with a nice sharp edge again like it just came from the factory. Be sure to wipe your knife every time after sharpening to avoid knife shavings.
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