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Knife Cutting Skills

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Shinob1

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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

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practice practice practice practice practice .....eventually muscle memory starts.
 

Crothcipt

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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

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just keeping practicing. there ar no real tricks other than that.
 

echerub

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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

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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..
 

sachem allison

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Shinob1

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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

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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

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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

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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
 

stevenStefano

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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

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Is there a particular vegetable or two that's good for practicing a variety of cuts?
 

echerub

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Cucumbers, too, to practice for cylindrical veggies. Not that the cutting itself is different, just that you'll have to manipulate it differently :)
 

Chifunda

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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

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Practice with potatoes, rutabaga (large wax turnips) and large daikon radish.
 

Eamon Burke

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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!
 

Salty dog

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Oldie but goodie.

[video=youtube_share;z6Nh6sqo4F4]http://youtu.be/z6Nh6sqo4F4[/video]
 

SpikeC

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Obviously this is wrong because he didn't use the curvy parer to top and tail the onion!
:newhere:
 

Shinob1

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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.
 
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