We’re all spending a lot more time in our kitchens lately, and if you are like me, you may want to sharpen your skills. I reached out to my friend, Chef Greg Anitoho, to give us a little knife 101 course. Here’s what he taught me:
You really only need 3 knives
Many people have knife blocks in their homes, but chances are they only reach for 3 knives- a Chef’s Knife, a Pairing Knife, and a Bread Knife. If you have limited funds, these three knives are what you want to invest in. The chef’s knife is your main knife, you can cut almost anything with it, and it will be your go-to about 90% of the time. There are two main styles of Chef’s knives, a western or French style, and a Japanese style called a Santoku. A good paring knife is small, sharp, and easy for you to handle. It is meant for detail work, like peeling an apple. A bread knife is great for crusty bread; its serrated teeth will allow you to cut the bread without smashing it.
You should regularly sharpen your knives
Many knife blocks come with a sharpening rod, but those are not always the best to use. You want to get a ceramic sharpening rod and can find a good one for around $40. To sharpen a knife, set your rod end-down on a cutting board so that it is perpendicular to the board. Then drag the edge of the knife across the rod at a slight angle from the hilt to the point of the knife. Watch the video above to see Chef Greg do it in action.
The shape of the knife will tell you how to cut with it
For this point, he showed how to cut with the two different chef knives as an example. The western style has a more curved edge, making it shaped for a rocking slicing style. Start with the point of the knife slightly elevated, the blade near the hilt should cut into the object first and you rotate the knife down and pull back slightly to slice through. The weight of the knife should do most of the work. Whereas the eastern style has a flatter edge, and you should push forward and down to cut.
Watch the video above for more information and demos on how to cut.