Saturday, January 9, 2010

Super Saturday - "Knife Styles"

One of the first important things that I learned when I starting training to be a chef was the importance of Knife Skills. So I thought we would start our first Super Saturday Cooking School class out with some new ideas about knives...

Knives are essential tools in any kitchen and can be your best friend when you're preparing food. And A sharp knife is a safe knife because it glides easily through food. Cutting surfaces, instead of food dulls knives. There are a wide variety of knives and each have a purpose and a place in the kitchen. During this class we are only going to hit on a few...

Chef's Knives: They are great for cutting both raw and cooked meat. Always Cut meats across the grain, straight up and down, either as thick or thin as desired, holding the chef's knife at a 45-degree angle to the cutting board. Chef's knives are also handy for thinly slicing raw meats for stir-fries. You can use them to chop large or hard vegetables and mince smaller items such as garlic, too.

Tips for Buying a Chef's Knife

* Buy the best quality knife that you can afford.
* Make sure there are no gaps at the joint where the blade and handle meet.
* Sizes range from 6- to 12-inch blades, but an 8-inch blade is standard.
* The blade should curve toward the tip to allow a rocking motion.
* A hefty bolster (the metal part between the blade and the handle) will help balance the knife and give you more control.
* The tang (metal extending into the handle) should extend to the butt of the knife handle.
* There is no rule on how heavy the knife should be. Some people like a weighty knife while others like a lighter one. It’s important to hold the knife before you buy to make sure it feels right for you.

Paring Knives: They are an excellent choice for precision work and can be used to cut out the cores or centers of most vegetables. Use to slice, by cutting down 3 or 4 times to form vertical slices. Remember to discard the stem, core and seeds. They are also used to cut strips or chop fine as desired. Paring knives are also good for peeling fruits and vegetables.

Serrated Knives: They have a wavy blade that has teeth along the edge. This gives them a greater ability to cut, and makes them ideal for foods that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside, such as bread and rolls. Serrated knives are also perfect for slicing more delicate foods such as tomatoes and cakes. They cut much better than plain-edge knives, even when dull, so they can also last longer without sharpening.

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