Knife Skills 101!

After watching cooking shows whether the show is on the Food Network or PBS, home cooks like me feel we can use a knife as well as the chefs we see on TV! Reality check, no chef has to worry about my coming into their kitchen and working anytime soon!  My knife skills are lacking to put it kindly!

Yes I can cook and recipes don’t intimidate me; I use my knives well enough to get the meals I prepare finished.  I admit when it comes to slicing and dicing, I do get a bit lazy! Now I realize it is because I didn’t know the right way to slice and dice!

I had for a long time wanted to take basic knife class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and finally I did it.   Our instructor for the morning was Marcos Sanchez, a graduate of Cambridge Culinary who also works at Dante’s in Cambridge.

Before our class went into the kitchen, we had a few things to learn about knives for instance the types of knives, care, storage and how to keep them sharp among other things!  How do you tell if the knife is sharp?  The simple paper test!

I think when I go home all my knives will fail the test and after listening to Marcos I realized it might be time to go shopping for new cutting boards (mine from Ikea might be a bit too small), a sharpening stone and maybe a new knife or two!

Marcos’s job was to break us of our old habits when we went into the kitchen.  I had a lot of habits to break and new habits to learn including how the hand without the knife should be curled when you use a knife! We go to our cutting boards, which sits on a liner so the board does not slip and learn that after each thing we cut we need to wipe off our cutting board and our knife before we go onto the next food, in this case the next vegetable because that is what we practiced on while learning new techniques that Marcos demonstrated to us before we attempted to do the same!

I learned how to julienne, brunoise, dice and cut mushrooms very quickly. Mushrooms were the only thing I was able to cut quickly. There was one technique that I had a problem with where you keep the tip of the knife down on the cutting board and bring the knife down to the cutting board similar to the way a slicing machine at the deli works.  I had no problem practicing on the cutting board with the motion the only problem I had was when I tried it with food!

Marcos made a nice hot soup for us to enjoy and stayed after at answer any questions we might have.

So now when I cook I will practice what I learned and hope I can break some of the bad habits I have.  This class was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.

It is time for me to go shopping now and when I cook practice what I learned!

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