Once you've mastered thefive knife grips the next step is to mastering your knife skills is perfecting the seven knife cuts at your disposal.
"In order to cut, the blade must be moved through the material" Tim Hayward, chef, author and knife enthusiast, reminds us in his definitive new book,Knife: The Culture, Craft and Cult of the Cook's Knife, and it's that movement through the material that can be achieved in a variety of motions depending on the type of knife and the ingredient being sliced.
Each knife cut is detailed below along with some useful exammple videos for Serious Eats amongst others.
And don't forget, Tim reminds us, whilst one hand is doing the cutting, in most cases the other hand, should adopt "the claw" position- keeping your knuckles infront of your fingertips to avoid losing any fingertips as you chop. Then it's practice, practice, practice.
The blade moves up and down vertically remaining parallel to the cutting surface.
2. ROCKING CHOP
This useful knife action ensures the rounded tip of the blade remains in contact with the chopping board while it pivots down madking it ideal for mincing herbs whilst maintaining safe control.
3. PUSH SLICE
This classic Western vegetable slicing motion includes sliding the blade forward, parallel to the cutting board allowing light pressure of the weight of the knife to keep the blade pushing down until it reaches the chopping board.
4. PULL SLICE
A popular slice action used by sashimi chefs where the heel of the blade is engaged and pulled back in a single stroke.
For fast vegetable work, the knife adopts a circular, chopping motion, similar to that of a piston on a train, hence the name.
6 SAWING CUT
The classic bread knife action for sawing back and forth through a loaf of bread. If you're using this action with any other type of knives it means it's time to sharpen them.
7. HORIZONTAL CUT
This is the least common of the cuts used in Western cooking, and the 'claw' hand becomes redundant. It's most commonly used for brunoising onions when a couple of partial horizontal cuts are required.
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