Ask restaurant chefs to name the most important equipment in their kitchen and you will get one answer: knives. For new cooks, knives can seem scary—yes, they are sharp! But knives help us do so much in the kitchen. Here’s what you need to know.
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While chefs often come to work with a pouch that holds a dozen knives, at home you need just two.
You will use this knife for 9 out of 10 kitchen tasks, from mincing herbs and chopping vegetables to slicing meat. A chef’s knife with an 8-inch blade is best for adults, but kids are much better off with something smaller. Here are our two favorites.
This small knife is for precision work, such as cutting out the core from a ripe tomato or the hull (the leafy green part) from a strawberry. A paring knife’s blade is typically 3.5 inches long and a little bit flexible.
A knife is only as good as the person using it. You must hold the knife correctly. And don’t forget about your other hand—the one that holds the food securely in place while you cut. Practice these steps with an adult to become a knife wizard.
A dull knife is an accident waiting to happen. That’s because a dull knife is much more likely to slip off food. A dull knife is also a slow knife. Ask an adult to run the test below to determine if your chef’s knife is sharp. If your knife is dull, ask an adult to sharpen it. We recommend electric and manual sharpeners made by Chef’sChoice.
Depending on the food being prepared, you will use different parts of the knife blade and different motions. Here are three basic motions to practice.