5 Tips From a Professional Chef (Hacks for Cooking - Using the Knives)

5 Tips From a Professional Chef (Hacks for Cooking - Using the Knives)

While they can be dangerous when in the wrong hands, knives are some of the essential tools for any chef. Here are five tips from professionals that will help you extend the longevity of your utensils and be safer while you use them. Read on to learn more!

1. Use A Sharp Knife

It may seem obvious, but a sharp knife is an essential equipment in a chef’s toolkit. If you find that you need to apply extra pressure to get your blade through more challenging or more delicate foods, it may be time to sharpen it.

In addition to cutting and slicing with more precision, speed, and accuracy, a sharp knife is also safer to use. When using a dull knife, there is a higher chance of the blade slipping off the surface you’re trying to cut rather than slicing through it. A slipped knife landing in your hand, rather than a potato, is a trip to the emergency room.

Whetstones are the best tools for knife sharpening, but electric sharpeners can also get the job done. There are also professional services that will sharpen your knives for you.

2. Keep Your Knife Sharp

Using it appropriately, you won’t need to sharpen your knife more than a few times per year. Avoid dragging the edge of the blade along your cutting board to move food around, as this motion will dull the blade. Bench scrapers are inexpensive tools designed to slide along a cutting board that you can use instead.

Additionally, make sure you always use a cutting board. Cutting food directly on a countertop will damage the blade.

3. Store Your Knife Properly

Knife blocks are the most common storage method in home kitchens, but they can put your knives through more wear and tear than other methods. Magnetic knife strips can adhere to any flat, vertical surface and are the preferred choice for knife storage in most professional kitchens.

By keeping the blades exposed to air rather than stuffed into a moldy slit, knife strips help preserve the longevity of your blades. 

4. Use the Right Techniques

Using a knife correctly is not as easy as it may seem. By implementing this technique, you can significantly reduce the risk of accidentally cutting yourself. 

Hold your knife in your dominant hand, and with your non-dominant hand, curl your fingertips to form a claw to grip the food you’re cutting. This simple tip will keep your fingertips out of the blade’s way and help prevent accidents.

5. Use the Right Knife For The Job

It’s not “one size fits all” when selecting a knife. A chef’s knife is an excellent all-purpose knife, but there are times when other types of knives will be more helpful.

For small jobs where precise, delicate cuts are needed, you can do no better than a paring knife. For slicing through bread or vegetables with soft skin, like tomatoes, a serrated knife should be your first choice.

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