Kitchen Knives – choosing and using

Photo credit – Robby McCullough

Virtually everything in regards to cooking will require picking up a knife and preparing ingredients in a consistent manner. By a consistent manner I mean slicing and dicing onions, carrots, celery, capsicums, mushrooms, potato and meats to a particular way according to the recipe you are making.

Stir fries for example typically require ingredients to be cut into thin strips, casseroles are perfect with a chunky style dice, while risotto needs finely diced ingredients.

Learning the basic skills of using a knife to slice and dice ingredients according to the recipe is fundamental skill and should be tackled sooner rather than later. It’s really worth taking a few extra minutes each time you are cooking to get better at this.

This will ensure the ingredients are suitable for the recipe and will be cooked at the same time. Cut the ingredients correctly and you will be on your way to cooking great food.

It’s important to remember you are not trying to be a professional chef and you don’t need to use a knife like a professional does. You are a kitchen beginner. Speed is not essential.

So let’s’ start with how to dice an onion. I could write a few paragraphs on how this is done. Instead I’ve searched online for videos to show you how. Videos are a brilliant way to learn these skills as you can follow along, stop and rewind.

How to dice an onion with Helen Rennie

Of all the videos online I believe this approach to dicing an onion with Helen Rennie is a great approach for home cooks.  

How to peel, slice and crush garlic with Jamie Oliver.

I also like this Jamie Oliver video on preparing garlic. Here Jamie shows how to peel, crush and slice garlic for different dishes.

Chopping a carrot on Jamie Oliver Home Cooking.

I’ll wrap up with instructions on dicing carrots, which is another fundamental skill as carrots are used in so many different ways in the kitchen. A great skill to learn with carrots is a rolling cut, as shown on the Jamie Oliver Home Cooking site. It is easy, but take it slow.

I hope you found this post informative. As mentioned in the introduction learning the basic skills of using a knife to slice and dice ingredients according to the recipe is a fundamental skill, and should be tackled sooner rather than later. It’s worth taking a few extra minutes each time you are cooking to get better at this.

Knife recommendation

In regards to recommending a knife brand Wusthof is highly regarded by professional cooks and have been made for over 200 years in Solingen, Germany.  

It takes forty steps to turn a piece of steel – a special mixture of chrome, vanadium, molybdenum and stainless steel – into a quality knife. 

Their three piece cook’s set is a brilliant trio of knives to get you started in the kitchen. Check out the Wusthof set online at Amazon. These knives will be with you for years and years!