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Shinob1
03-20-2012, 11:41 PM
I am trying to learn the basic cuts and am struggling a bit. I know that a lot of the members here are or were chefs and wondered what you did to improve your knife skills?

I have watched some YouTube videos and they have helped me get started. I'm thinking of taking a knife skills class at a cooking store. Do you thnk that would be worthwhile?

knyfeknerd
03-20-2012, 11:47 PM
practice practice practice practice practice .....eventually muscle memory starts.

Crothcipt
03-20-2012, 11:53 PM
Save your money for the food you can cut. blade placement comes from seeing what you want from the food. and practice like said above.

sachem allison
03-21-2012, 12:28 AM
just keeping practicing. there ar no real tricks other than that.

Johnny.B.Good
03-21-2012, 12:50 AM
I like this video from Salty:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/2877-Strokes-4-New-Folks?p=43575&viewfull=1#post43575

echerub
03-21-2012, 12:58 AM
I think in person instruction can be helpful at the start. Then after that it comes down to practice. It's just that you don't want to practice badly and instill bad habits in yourself or take forever to figure out technique with some items that someone can show you in 30 seconds. Practice is always key, but only perfect practice makes perfect.

zitangy
03-21-2012, 01:03 AM
The above Plus
1. Understand and know why and the objective of your strokes/ motion and do what it takes to accomplish it. This calls for some logical thinking/ reasoning. Spend sometime pondering on this.

Otherwise,, you are simply abrading the stone or knife. KNife sharpening is just about removing steel till 2 planes meet; problems compounded when the burr, wire edge is not removed effectively.

Abrading: take into consideration a) the cutting power of the stone b) pressure being applied. Adjust accordingly to achieve the objective
Have fun..

ajhuff
03-21-2012, 01:06 AM
I remember watching an older version of this video in school. I learned a lot from it.

http://www.ciaprochef.com/fbi/dvds/KnifeSkills.html

-AJ

sachem allison
03-21-2012, 01:31 AM
I think in person instruction can be helpful at the start. Then after that it comes down to practice. It's just that you don't want to practice badly and instill bad habits in yourself or take forever to figure out technique with some items that someone can show you in 30 seconds. Practice is always key, but only perfect practice makes perfect.

+ 1 i should have been more specific, you are dead on

mr drinky
03-21-2012, 01:49 AM
I'm no pro, but I would suggest that you grow a garden and plant only zucchini, squash, and carrots. Let it grow crazy wild. Then chop, slice, cube and batonnet to your heart's content ;) But I second getting some basic instruction first.

k.

tk59
03-21-2012, 02:15 AM
Watch videos and experiment with angles of approach and blade motion. It's often different for different knives, as well. I'm still learning to use some of my knives even though I've been playing with them for months.

sw2geeks
03-21-2012, 02:42 AM
I'm thinking of taking a knife skills class at a cooking store. Do you thnk that would be worthwhile?

As a present my wife fixed us up with a knife class for us to take together at central market. It was a good thing we brought our own knives to the class, the ones they had there where very dull. Knives were rolling off stuff all over the place. I was surprised no one was cut.

I guess it really depends on what your current skill level is and what you want to learn in a basic cooking store knife skills class.

If the class is anything like what we took, they did not really get that much into the mechanics like push or pull, but was more into shapes like julienne and mince.

The staff was all over my wife's global knife, she enjoyed the attention but kept on telling them " you should really check out my husbands knife..."

Tristan
03-21-2012, 08:26 AM
I like this video from Salty:

http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/2877-Strokes-4-New-Folks?p=43575&viewfull=1#post43575

Thanks for that... I just realised. I've never pull cut in my entire life?!?! How weird is that. I've chopped, rocked and pushed. Hmm weird. Need to go try pull cuts on soft veg.

Is it hard to push cut tomatoes? They used to get squished (I thought this was normal), till I got some proper knives and now it seems manageable.

Shinob1
03-21-2012, 01:16 PM
Thanks for all of the advice so far! One thing I am struggling with in particular is keeping the blade against my knuckle as I cut through food and move to the next section of the cut.

I guess to explain, I line up the cut, knife against my knuckle and slice through the food. Do I move my left hand over first or do I raise the knife first against my knuckle, then move both the left hand and knife down to where I want to make the next cut?

sw2geeks
03-21-2012, 01:33 PM
If you are trying to get the knuckle thing down you might try practicing with a Chinese cleaver. I usually keep contact with the knife and knuckle and move both the hand and knife down to the next cut.

Eamon Burke
03-21-2012, 01:36 PM
Practice a lot. The reason pros are good is from all the days they worked full tilt despite being so exhausted they might collapse. It builds muscle memory.

hax9215
03-21-2012, 06:53 PM
I teach our culinary students to maintain contact between knife and knuckle(s) when when making cuts, but if I understand your question correctly the sequence is hand-lineup-cut. You can frequently slide or shift between cuts without totally releasing the food to be cut. A word on cleavers-because of the excessive blade height edge your curled fingers are further away from the sharp when using a Chukabocho; this does make them safer but can be problematic when switching back and forth between a cleaver and a shorter blade knife such as a gyuto especially for a newbie. At this point the most important thing to concentrate on is precision; muscle memory and speed will develop.

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Chifunda
03-22-2012, 10:19 AM
...the most important thing to concentrate on is precision; muscle memory and speed will develop.

Hax the Cook CLEAVERS RULE!!! :D

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. :)

stevenStefano
03-22-2012, 01:21 PM
I have basically zero training in using a knife and I must say a lot of what I learned was from here and watching Youtube videos. I think you gotta keep an open mind when looking at it, you can always improve and you never know where it comes from. I find it hilarious how fast I can cut now, and then my co-workers use my knives really slowly and always cut themselves

Shinob1
03-22-2012, 02:03 PM
Is there a particular vegetable or two that's good for practicing a variety of cuts?

El Pescador
03-22-2012, 02:14 PM
Is there a particular vegetable or two that's good for practicing a variety of cuts?

Onions and Potatoes

echerub
03-22-2012, 02:24 PM
Cucumbers, too, to practice for cylindrical veggies. Not that the cutting itself is different, just that you'll have to manipulate it differently :)

Chifunda
03-22-2012, 04:05 PM
Is there a particular vegetable or two that's good for practicing a variety of cuts?

If I have celery that has gotten rubbery I use it for practice, put the results in a zip lock and freeze it for making stock.

ThEoRy
03-22-2012, 05:33 PM
Practice with potatoes, rutabaga (large wax turnips) and large daikon radish.

Eamon Burke
03-22-2012, 05:35 PM
I say practice with carrots and tomatoes(It's a great comparison of edge qualities, too) but its expensive to buy food only to cut up! Just eat a crapload of soup!

Chifunda
03-22-2012, 09:51 PM
Just eat a crapload of soup!

Or develop an insatiable appetite for salsa...that's what I did. :knife:

Salty dog
03-22-2012, 10:11 PM
Oldie but goodie.


http://youtu.be/z6Nh6sqo4F4

Crothcipt
03-22-2012, 10:18 PM
nice onion shrapnal flying there Salty!

SpikeC
03-22-2012, 10:20 PM
Obviously this is wrong because he didn't use the curvy parer to top and tail the onion!
:newhere:

Shinob1
03-22-2012, 10:40 PM
Or develop an insatiable appetite for salsa...that's what I did. :knife: I do enjoy soup and salsa. :doublethumbsup:

Another problem area I have is cutting carrots into planks. I cannot seem to make them as thin as I want and also I think I am using more force than necessary.

ThEoRy
03-23-2012, 02:50 AM
Take your time with the carrots. No rush. They will **** your **** up beyond recognition.

Justin0505
03-23-2012, 10:50 PM
Eamon does a good job of explaining the basics in his series. You can tell it's not the first time that he's told someone this stuff....
This cutting motion video belongs in this thread, but the others on hygiene and safety, and grips are good for new folks to watch too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr0vTvWwQx0&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr0vTvWwQx0&feature=channel

Justin0505
03-23-2012, 11:02 PM
Thoery is also someone to spend some time watching, -just copy the technique, but reduce the speed to about 1/10th at first.
Here's one of my fav's with some good carrot ownage at the end:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPiz6Aaa7Eg&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPiz6Aaa7Eg&feature=channel

Shinob1
03-24-2012, 07:25 PM
Those videos helped. I have watched quite a few of Thoery's videos was well. I think more practice and maybe some brief instruction will get me where I want to be.