KNIFE SKILLS

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KNIFE SKILLS
THE ESSENTIALS
The Knife: An Essential Tool
• The knife can be considered the chef’s most important and widely
used tool. For this reason it is essential that food service
professionals be aware of the following:
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Types of knives and their uses
Knife safety
Parts of a knife
How to sharpen a knife
Use of a knife (grip, guide and motion)
Basic knife cuts
The Right Tool
• Because the knife essentially becomes an extension of a chef’s
hand, it is important to select the right knife for the task. There
are several options including (but not limited to):
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Chef Knife
Slicers
Utility Knife
Serrated Slicers
Boning Knife
Paring Knife
We will look at each in more detail.
CHEF KNIFE
• This knife is also sometimes
referred to as a French knife
and is the most used knife in
the professional kitchen. Chef
knives vary in size from 8-14
inches with the 10 inch blade
being the most popular
length. This knife is great for
a variety of cuts because of its
wide blade and tapered point.
SLICERS
• Slicers have long, narrow,
flexible blades. The blade
can be serrated (teeth that
look like a saw) or smooth.
Serrated slicers are best for
cutting breads and pastries,
while non-serrated slicers are
ideal for slicing meats and
other products.
SERRATED
THINK ABOUT IT: Why would a serrated blade be better for slicing breads and baked goods?
BONING & FILET KNIFE
• The blade of a boning knife is
shorter and much thinner than
that of a chef knife. The blade is
also made to be very flexible.
Filet knives have the most
flexible blades as they are used
to filet and portion fish. Boning
knives are a little less flexible as
they must be able to separate
muscle from bone in various
THINK ABOUT IT: Why would a flexible blade be
meats and poultry.
useful when fileting a fish?
PARING KNIFE
With the right tools
and lots of skilled
practice you can
make beautiful
creations too!
• Paring knives are made to peel
or cut away the skin of various
fruits and vegetables. Paring
knives are short and have small
blades making them easier and
safer to handle for this task.
They are also a great tool for
produce carving and detailed
garnish work.
NO MATTER THE KNIFE…
• Each knife has the same parts.
• These include:
NO MATTER THE KNIFE…
• SAFETY IS IMPORTANT!
• Let’s watch a quick video highlighting the
basics of knife safety.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYZ1F8qSIBE
A SHARP KNIFE IS A
SAFE KNIFE
• It may sound strange, but a sharp knife is a safe knife. Therefore,
it is important to know how to properly sharpen your knives. Let’s
watch this quick video showing us how to sharpen a knife using a
steel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syvvxx3eGpI
USING A KNIFE
• While you have probably seen the TV
chefs working very quickly with their
knives; it is most important to learn
accuracy, precision, and safety
before attempting to work quickly.
When it comes to knife skills the
accuracy persists over speed. As you
become more comfortable with your
knife and knife skills you may begin
to increase efficiency.
GRIP, GUIDE, AND MOTION
• The first step is to find a grip that is appropriate and comfortable for you.
LET’S DISCUSS WHY THE FIRST 2 GRIPS ARE INCORRECT.
GRIP, GUIDE, AND MOTION
• Once you’ve obtained the
proper grip you need to
determine the safest and
best placement for your
other hand. This will vary
slightly dependent upon
what you are cutting, but
will almost always be some
version of “The Claw”
shown to the right.
THINK ABOUT IT: Why is the claw a good position for your guiding hand?
GRIP, GUIDE, AND MOTION
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20gwf7YttQM
• The cutting motion should be fluid. The
knife stroke should start with the tip of
the knife pointed toward the cutting
board, then in one motion the knife
blade should glide smoothly forward.
This is sometimes referred to as a
rocking motion. The motion should
move away from your body. Let’s watch
a short video clip to see what this
should look like all together.
CLASSIC KNIFE CUTS
• There are several knife cuts. We will focus
on the basics. They an be categorized into 3
main categories:
• SLICES
• STICKS
• DICES
SLICES
“RONDELLE” or sliced carrots
• Most knife cuts begin with a slice.
When executed correctly all slices
should be the same thickness. To
keep round foods from rolling all over
your cutting board it is sometimes
necessary to trim part of the product
and create a flat working surface.
The most common type of slice is a
rondelle. A rondelle is a slice from a
round food such as a carrot,
cucumber, or onion.
STICKS
• Foods cut into sticks are
used often in the commercial
kitchen. Most dices first
require foods be cut into
sticks. The 2 most common
stick cuts are batonnet and
julienne. A batonnet
measures 2 X ¼ X ¼ inch
while a julienne measures 2
X 1/8 X 1/8.
DICES
• To make a dice you simply cuts
sticks across to make cubes. Dices
can come in a variety if sizes
including; large dice (sometime
referred to as chop) measuring ¾ X
¾ X ¾, medium dice measuring ½
X ½ X ½ inch, small dice measuring
¼ X ¼ X ¼ inch, measuring 1/8 X
1/8 X 1/8 inch.
THINK ABOUT IT: If dice cuts start as stick cuts; what stick cut would you start
with to achieve an accurate brunoise?
MINCING
• Mincing requires that food be cut into very fine pieces and is ideal
for foods like herbs, garlic and sometimes onions.

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