In this module, we will examine:
1. How NOT to cut yourself
2. How to recognize a two dimensional image of a knife
3. The three most common materials used to make knives
4. The importance of a proper grip on a knife
5. Basic cuts and shapes
6. Terminology used in cutting
7. Knife techniques
Do this online form about some weird French words that describe cutting techniques and knives.
Weird French Words Form
When working in a kitchen, many different types of knives are used for different tasks. The metal that a knife is made of is important, since the metal must be able to take and hold a very fine edge.
1. Carbon Steel – this is the traditional favorite because it can be sharpened to an extremely sharp edge. Its disadvantages are that it corrodes and discolors easily, especially when used with acidic foods and onions. It even discolors some foods (such as hard-cooked eggs) and can leave a metallic taste.
2. Stainless Steel – This type of steel will not rust or corrode, but it is much harder to sharpen.
3. High-Carbon Stainless Steel – This alloy combines the best aspects of carbon steel and stainless steel. It takes and edge almost as well as carbon steel, and it wont rust, corrode or discolor. Knives made of this material are relatively expensive.
ANATOMY OF A KNIFE
The tang is the portion of the metal blade that is inside the handle. The best-quality, most durable knives have a full tang, meaning that the tang runs the full length of the handle through to the end of the knife.
TYPES OF KNIVES
1. French or Chef’s Knife – most common knife used in the kitchen; used for chopping, slicing, dicing and so on. Blade length of 10 inches is most popular for general work. Larger knives are heavy for cutting and chopping.
2. Utility or Salad Knife – Narrow pointed knife 6-8 inches long. Used mostly for pantry work, cutting and preparing lettuce, fruits and so on.
3. Paring Knife – Small pointed blade about 2-4 inches long. Used for paring and trimming vegetables and fruits.
4. Boning Knife – Thin, pointed blade about 6 inches long. Used for boning raw meats and poultry.
5. Slicer – Long, slender flexible blade up to 14 inches long. Used for carving and slicing cooked meats.
6. Serrated Slicer – Slicer with serrated edge. Used for cutting breads, cakes and similar items.
7. Butcher Knife – Heavy, broad, slightly curved blade. Used for cutting, sectioning, and trimming raw meats in a the butcher chop.
8. Scimitar or Steak Knife – Curved pointed blade. Used for accurate cutting of steaks.
9. Cleaver – Very heavy, broad blade. Used for cutting through bones when butchering meats and chicken.
10. Oyster Knife – Short, rigid, blunt knife with a dull edge. Used for opening oysters.
11. Clam Knife – Short, rigid, knife with a slight edge. Used for opening clams.
12. Vegetable Peeler – Short tool with slotted, swiveling blade. Used for peeling vegetables and fruits.
13. Steel – Not a knife, but an essential part of the knife kit. Used for truing and maintaining knife edge.
14. Stone – Usually a rectangular piece of stone with a slight grit to the touch and used for dragging the knife edge along in a uniformed way to achieve an edge on a knife.
HANDLING THE KNIFE
the proper grip gives you maximum control over the knife
1. it increases your cutting accuracy and control over the knife
2. it prevents slipping
3. it lessons the chance of an accident
The type of grip you use depends in part on the type of job you’re doing and the size of the knife. The grip illustrated in this picture is one of the most frequently used for general cutting and slicing. Many chefs feel that actually grasping the blade with the thumb and forefinger in this manner gives them the greatest control. This grip is called the pinch. Holding the knife may feel awkward at first, but practice will make is seem natural.
THE GUIDING HAND
While one hand controls the knife, the other hand controls the item being cut. Proper positioning of the hand will do 3 things:
1. hold the item being cut – item held firmly so it will not slip
2. guide the hand – the knife blade slides against the fingers. The position of the hand controls the cut.
3. protects the hand from being cut – fingertips are curled under, out of the way of the blade. This is called the claw grip.
OTHER CLASSIC CUTS
Carré large dice 4 cm cube
Vichy short, very thin stick less than 2mm thick slice
Frite French fry 1/2″ x 1/2 ” x 3″
Pont-Neuf steak fry 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 3″
Mignonette stick 3/8″ x 3/8″ x 2″
Mirepoix rough cut 1″ average
Chips/Rondelle/Bias very thin slice 1/8″ slice
Gaufrettes waffle 1/8″ thick; perforated
Oblique roll cut 45° angle cut
Paille straw Finely shredded
Parisienne Paris style Sphere shape: 1″ average
Noisette pazelnut Sphere shape; 1/2″ to 3/4″
Tourné Olivette olive like 7 sided; 1″ to 2″
Tourné Chateau castle like 7 sided; 2″ to 2 1/2″
Tourné Fondante melting 7 sided; 3″ or more
WHY WE CUT UNIFORM SHAPES AND SIZES
1. ensures even cooking
2. enhances the appearance of the product (eye appeal)
3. shows skill and technique
4. intimidates fellow cooks 😉