The Knife Skills You Need to Know

Not a pro chef? No problem. All you need is a couple tips to fly through your meal prep.

Even a kitchen newcomer can easily master 'em. To demonstrate, we trekked over to The Meatball Shop's impressive (and mouthwatering) commisary kitchen with Kyle Itani, the founding chef at Hopscotch, who showed us the essentials.

The tools you’ll need

  • A chef's knife for slicing and chopping
  • A paring knife for peeling or fine detail work
  • A serrated knife for cutting bread

The grip

For a chef's knife, don't just grip the handle and start hacking. Instead, pinch the heel with your thumb and forefinger, then wrap your other fingers around the handle. That'll give you the best control.

When you're cutting, use what's called the "claw grip" with your non-knife hand. That means you keep your fingertips curled underneath your knuckles as you hold whatever you're slicing steady, to avoid accidentally giving yourself a nasty cut.

Honing your knife

There are a few other important steps in caring for your kitchen knifes, but this is a major one.

Honing is a key (and often neglected) step that realigns the edge, getting rid of any microscopic nicks in the metal. Give your knife a once over every few times you use it to make sure it cuts as well as possible before you start slicing.

The cuts to know

The tap chop -- Rest the tip of the knife against the product, then slice down and forward to tap your knife on the cutting board with each cut.

The rocking chop -- Anchor the tip of the knife on the cutting board, then rock the knife backwards to cut with the center of the blade.

The cross chop -- Use the same technique as the rocking chop, but hold the knife tip down and pivot the heel around the cutting board as you cut.

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