Thought I’d veer away from a restaurant start-up post this week and talk about knife skills!
Yes, knife skills!
If you’re going to be in the kitchen of your startup you better know a thing or two or you will get HURT!
One of my very first job interviews I had with a high-end white tablecloth restaurant when I was breaking into the industry was not a sit-down interview.
It took place at a prep table with a cutting board, knife and several fruits and vegetables with the chef telling me to please clean, cut, skin, julienne, chop and dice these for me.
I’m not going to lie I had some skills but still had a lot of sharpening to do ;=)
I didn’t get the job!
I was a quick learner, but the chef didn’t have the time or patience for a rookie still honing their skills, the restaurant needed a more experienced person for the job yesterday.
Their loss, my gain since I did wind up getting a job at a private club not too long after that, where I was taught by willing line cooks, sous chef, and chef that became knife skill mentors and then some.
When one interview door shuts, another one is waiting for you to walk through. Never give up!
I started to invest in the different knives necessary for working in a professional kitchen an expensive hobby, but since I was a guitar player, I knew quite a bit about collecting objects of desire.
My first knife purchase came when I was given the task to clean skin and debone salmon, those rather large beautiful fish. I become the proud owner of a long, flexible blade of a knife designed to cut all the way through a full side of salmon or large salmon fillet. This type of knife is known for removing the delicate skin and cutting super-thin slices.
It’s a rather long blade, and it did scare me, but I eventually learned how to respect knives and use them properly. It does become an impressive skill you can show off to your friends and coworkers.
The KEY is to respect all knives and always be careful and in control when handling them.
The start of my knife purchasing began! You just can’t stop, not if you’re going to become a true chef and slayer in the kitchen.
There are many opinions on what knives are essential, but you should start with three knives that are crucial to have, Chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife.
All other knives can be bought as you grow your arsenal to make cooking easier and more enjoyable.
The chef’s knife (sometimes called a cook’s or French-style knife) is considered the most important knife. It has a wide blade between six and ten inches long and is used mostly for chopping, though it can be used for anything you want to do with it. The blade of a classic, chef’s knife curves upward toward the tip.
Paring knife looks like a mini me chef’s knife, with a blade ranging from two to four inches long. It’s good for delicate tasks where a larger blade would get in the way. Paring knives are ideal for peeling onions, coring tomatoes or trimming vegetables.
A Serrated knife is used to slice bread, tomatoes and even meat. Serrated knives are most useful on foods that have one texture on the outside and another inside, like hard-crusted bread or a tomato.
An offset serrated knife, sometimes called a deli knife, minimizes the chance of hitting your knuckles on the cutting board once you’re done.
I’ve become very fond of these knives and use them for almost everything.
You’ll eventually become attached to a particular knife when you become a kitchen cooking hound! It’s really more of a personal preference, as you become more experienced with your skill.
As they say, it’s all about using the right tool for the right job.
Using the correct knife can actually improve your cooking!
Without question, the knife is the most important tool in the kitchen and choosing the right knife for the job is an important step toward simplifying your cooking.
The wrong knife choice can cause unnecessary bruising, mess and damage to the food product.
An example of this would not use a bread knife to carve a roast it will not look pretty and be difficult to eat with the slices mangled and torn.
Choosing the right knife will give you the best control, it will help you avoid injuries caused by slipping or unnecessary added pressure. This is how accidents with a knife happen and if you been a kitchen for a while you may have seen this or have a few scars to prove it.
I recommend using each knife for it’s appropriate job and taking the time to practice knife skills.
As I said before I use my offset serrated knife for many tasks in the kitchen while many prefer using a chef’s knife for performing nearly every kitchen task with it in hand.
Keep in mind you should feel comfortable with the knife you are using, but don’t expect to without sufficient practice, practice, and practice.
Like with all tools of the trade it’s important to purchase quality well-made ones. There are many knife companies to choose from and I suggest researching how they are made and the guarantee and warranty each company offers. Below is a video that will help you understand what goes into making quality knives and what to look for when you’re purchasing them.
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