I recently took an online knife skills class that taught me the proper way to do several things in the kitchen that I have been doing wrong my entire life! I am a huge fan of food shows on TV.  They make it look so easy!  A few flicks of the knife here, a few slices there and you have a uniform meal masterpiece! Unfortunately, when I try to recreate the same recipe in my kitchen, I am limited by my ability to use a knife.  Not only does the food end up haphazardly sized, but it takes me forever.  Often it takes me so long to do the prep work that I am a little grumpy by the time the actual cooking begins. Oh, and I have sliced a finger or thumb 3 times this year!  <—ouch.
Complete Knife Skills with Brendan McDermott - screenshot from class
Unfortunately, the class I took is no longer available.

Home Knife Skills

It was a nice surprise to find out that most kitchens only need 3-4 knives.  

Types of Knives Every Cook Should Have

He went through the purposes of each and why I could empty out my knife drawer of some extras that I would likely never use.  The knives that I need to have handy in the kitchen are:
  1. Chef’s knife
  2. Paring knife
  3. Serrated/bread knife
  4. fillet or boning knife

Cutting Techniques Every Cook Should Know

The Knife Skills class then went on to show how to hold a knife and the four main cutting techniques that would be used to cut nearly every food – even the tricky ones:
  • Slice
  • Chop
  • Back-Slice
  • Rock-Chop
Free Knife Skills Class from Craftsy - Kids Activities Blog

How to Hold a Knife

I learned that I was holding my knife too far away from the blade.  It makes sense that after cutting myself so many times, I would be timid around anything sharp!  But once I understood why holding a knife closer could increase the control and safety of my meal prep, the simple changes in hand position really made a difference. My favorite part of the course was the shortcuts for fruits, veggies and herbs section.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had been “peeling”  an orange like Brendan suggested… How to Slice an Orange - Kids Activities Blog

How to Use a Knife to Peel an Orange

I had been slicing the peel off with a knife, but he had the further suggestion of slicing out each wedge which makes orange eating even yummier!  

Steps for Knife Peeling an Orange

  1. Slice off each end.
  2. Use the knife to slice down the side of the orange between the flesh and white layer.
  3. Clean up any leftover white – Brendan mentioned the more cuts, the less waste.
  4. Slice each segment out.
  5. The leftover orange now resembles a book with pages that can be juiced to get all the good stuff!
The other thing that I really loved learning was an easy way to core a jalepeno.  Pico de gallo is a daily necessity at my Texan home, so this is something that will literally change my life! How to Core a Jalapeno - Kids Activities Blog

How to De-Seed a Jalapeno with a Knife

This easy way to core a jalapeno can cut down on getting too much contact with the spicy core or seeds.

Steps to Core a Jalapeno

  1. Cut the end off.
  2. Insert pairing knife with the BACK spine leading.
  3. Gently guide the back spine around the interior edge.
  4. Let the seeds and core drop out.
And speaking of pico de gallo, have you seen the easiest way to slice tomatoes?


How do you feel about your kitchen knife skills?

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