Essential Kitchen Skills Everyone Should Know

Posted by Amanda Delatorre on

The kitchen is full of endless possibilities for those eager to learn knife skills and create delicious food. Whether you are someone who is just starting to cook or you aspire to cook professionally, there is a substantial amount of knowledge to absorb as you move forward. We’ll point you in the right direction by going over some essential kitchen skills everyone should know, with an emphasis on knives, the tools you will likely use the most.

How To Use Your Knives

If you’re just starting out, we recommend learning fundamental culinary knife skills to cut ingredients efficiently and cleanly. These include chopping quickly, dicing ingredients into cubes, cutting thin strips with julienning, and more.  The type of cuts you make, will greatly affect the texture, taste and presentation, which is why there are so many variations to learn.  Even the direction used when cutting meat is important, so we slice meat against the grain for more tenderness.

For the best results, you may need different types of Japanese kitchen knives for sizes and shapes best suited for various purposes.  For all-purpose styles such as chef's knife, santoku or utility knife, Japanese made knives tend to be sharper and hold an edge longer than typical Western knives. There are some that are highly specialized and made for a single task such as the yanagi, which is meant to slice raw fish.  We recommend having a look at the various knives available and choose those that match closely with what you like to cook. Then, you can work on improving your knife skills which will help with cooking faster with more precision.

How To Stay Safe

In situations where you are working with sharp objects and open flames, understanding how to stay safe is paramount. Educating yourself on basic rules of kitchen safety will help you avoid accidents. Since we’re focusing on knives, this means that you should know how to use kitchen knives safely. This includes curling in your fingers on the hand that is not holding the knife to avoid cutting yourself and creating flat bases for round ingredients such as tomatoes. Knowing when to replace chef’s knives is also important, because a knife that suddenly bends oddly or falls apart while you are using it can lead to an injury. Keep an eye out for substantial damage around the edge and tip, as well as a loose handle.

Since nobody wants to use knives that are broken, you may want to choose higher-quality products after your initial learning phase, for when you are certain of your commitment to cooking. You can read about considerations to make when choosing a professional-level chef’s knife and think about the advantages of hand-forged knives when compared to those that are factory-made. The goal is to add knives to your collections that feel balanced in your hand and that maintain their exceptional sharpness even after many uses.  Experienced users may explore traditional Japanese knives for their superior craftsmanship.

How To Care for Knives

Caring for your knives is essential to being able to use them to their full potential.  Despite its importance, many still gloss over knife care... Don’t make this error.  The performance of your knives is only as good as their upkeep, so invest the time and effort into understanding how to care for your Japanese knives.  Japanese knives demand a bit more maintenance, but you’ll be rewarded with better performance and cutting precision.  Be sure to clean your Japanese knives after each use and immediately dry them to prevent rust.  Store your knives in spaces where their edges won’t brush against other objects.

Sharpening your knives is probably the most essential skill everyone should know because it is key to taking care of your knives.  No matter how sharp a knife is, the edge will become blunt over time. Sharpening a knife correctly is somewhat an art of its own, because you must also take care of your sharpening stone (or stones), know the angle of your knife’s edge, and move your knife across the stone’s surface carefully.  A careless movement could end up damaging the knife instead of sharpening it.  Luckily there are many resources to help you learn how to sharpen knives. 

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