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Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Cutting Techniques

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Glance through any cooking tool catalog for home chefs and you’re sure to find a wide selection of non-knife chopping tools.

But the truth is, you really only need a good knife set and a little know-how in order to make cutting up foods easy, safe, and fast.

 

How to Hold a Chef’s Knife

Most amateurs hold a knife only by the handle, but pros know there’s a better way. Scoot your hand up until the bottom of your index finger sits where the knife blade and handle meet. Your thumb should grip the knife near the top of the blade.

Your index finger should wrap around the blade on the opposite side. This grip, while it may not feel natural at first, offers far greater control over the knife.

How to Hold a Chef’s Knife

 

How to Hold the Food

The guiding hand (the hand holding the food) should always have fingertips tucked in, away from the blade of the knife. Pros call this the “claw grip.” When using this technique, the blade of the knife rests against the knuckles.

 

How to Prep to Cut

Wash all foods before cutting, and remove the skin, root, and stems, if applicable. If the food is round (like an onion, carrot, or potato), cut it in half first and place the food flat side down on the cutting board before proceeding. Always use a sharp knife. A dull knife is more likely to lead injury because you’ll have to use undue force to cut the food.

If you find your cutting board slides around on the counter while you chop, a damp terry towel placed beneath the board will keep in securely in place.

 

How to Chiffonaide

To slice leafy greens into very small strips, first stack individual leaves on top of each other. Roll them, lengthwise. Cut the leafy greens crosswise into small strips. Unroll the greens before using them in a recipe.

How to Chiffonaide

 

How to Mince

Rock the blade of the knife back and forth across the food until it is in very small, fine pieces.

 

How to Chop

Slice the food into pieces ¼ inch big, or slightly bigger if the instructions call for chopping “coarsely.”

 

How to Slice

Cut vertically across the food. Follow the recipe guidelines for the proper length. To trim the length of many pieces at once, line them up in a row, and cut across them all.

 

How to Dice

Diced food (sometimes referred to as “cubed food”) creates nearly same-sized squares of food. Cut the food into lengthwise pieces. Chop these slices into cubes.

How to Dice

 

How to Julienne

When done, the pieces of food should be about the thickness of a matchstick. Cut strips about ¼ inch thick.

 

Check out the video version of this article on YouTube

 

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