Cutting techniques play an important part in the culinary works. They are basic skills every cook should know in order to serve the best dish. With the appropriate cutting technique, every cook can minimize the possibility of cutting or slicing their fingers off during the entire process of food preparation.
It is important to remember that the knives to be used must be sharpened through a honing steel before taking any action in the kitchen. In addition, foods must be cut with the use of cutting boards with wet towels beneath to restrain them from sliding. Another thing cooks must learn about cutting is to know how to cut properly, this can make a big difference.
Do you know that culinary arts students’ first job in the kitchen is knife handling? Cooking without proficient skills in basic knife strokes will likely lead to uneven cooked meals and poor development of flavor. Therefore, here are some of the basic strokes that everyone who are tasked inside the kitchen must know:
The Slice Cut
|The slice cut is used for slicing large portions of vegetables, meats, and tough-to-slice herbs with the use of a Western-Style chef’s knife.
- Slice the prepared ingredient in half to create a stable, flat surface.
- With your free hand, steady the ingredient by curling the fingers into a claw with the knuckles tucked beneath it. Angle the knife upwards while holding the blade’s tip touching the cutting board with the flat side tucked underneath the knuckles.
- The tip of the knife’s blade must be in contact consistently with the cutting board, slice the ingredient by slightly pulling the knife backwards.
- Press the knife upwards and downwards in continuous circular motion using the length of the blade while keeping the tip of the blade on the board.
The Chop Cut
|The chop cut is used for cutting spices and vegetables with precision through a santoku style knife. This is a very sharp knife needed in order to effectively achieve a clean chop.
- Slice the prepared ingredient in half to create a stable, flat surface in order for it to be able to rest or simply slice off thin sections on its face. With your free hand, steady the ingredient by curling the fingers into a claw with the knuckles tucked beneath it.
- With the knife lifted overhead the chopping board, hold the knife’s flat side against the knuckles. With smooth, even strokes, press the knife downward, moving forward ever so slightly.
- Lift the knife upward and downward repeatedly.
The Back-Slice Cut
|The back-slice is used for creating fine slices from items that are small and delicate such as herbs without crushing it. For this cutting method, either a santoku or western-style chef’s knife is used.
- In slicing herbs, the leaves should be stacked and rolled into tight bundles. With your free hand, steady the ingredient by curling the fingers into a claw with the knuckles tucked beneath it.
- With the flat of the blade alongside your knuckles, place the blade’s tip against the board. Steadily pull the knife backward at a minimal angle without any downward movement.
- Slice the items completely by continuously pulling backwards.
The Rock Chop Slice
|The rock slice is commonly used for mincing fresh herbs or zests finely.
- Slice or chop ingredients roughly; then, gather them into a pile. On the pile’s side, place the tip of the knife while holding it steadily with a free hand.
- Rocking the knife upwards and downwards, re-gather the slices from time to time until finely minced as needed.
- It is important to take note to always drag the knife into low angles against the cutting board when gathering ingredients. The best way to do so is to drag it perpendicularly.
Learning basic knife handling takes time and consistent practice in order to attain perfection. Nonetheless, mastering this skill makes anyone a ‘pro’ in the kitchen.