It’s really impressive what professional chefs do with their knives: Cut, cut, chop, chop and the onion has already been finely diced, the filled filleted, the meat sliced into thin strips. It’s all a matter of practice, because you need to learn how to cut properly.
Here are the most important basics:
A good cut begins with the base on which it is made. Large cutting boards made of wood or plastic are recommended: they are easy on the blade. Materials such as stone, glass, marble, and metal, on the other hand, blunt the blade.
To make things easier for yourself, always work with sharp knives. You will then require less force and minimize the risk of the knife slipping. Also ensure that food which needs to be cut fine is well prepared and is above all stable. Unsteady food is always dangerous to cut.
One hand holds the knife. The other holds the food: Use your thumb and little finger to grasp the outside of the food, and press it firmly from the top with your middle finger. To ensure a better cut, you can also press the knuckles of your middle fingers against the blade. But take care: Keep your fingertips aware from the danger zone! Always keep your thumb and your little finger behind the edge of the blade.
The most effective and elegant cutting technique is the rocking cut with the chef’s knife. This technique is simple, but requires a little practice. Always keep the point of the knife on the cutting board when cutting. Lift the central part of the blade above the food with a rocking motion and, moving the knife forward, cut the food into fine slices or strips or dice it as you push it below the blade. After the third or fourth onion or carrot, you will have found a pleasant, easy rhythm and constantly improve. Very important: Cut cleanly – do not squash or chop, otherwise juices will escape which should actually only develop their aroma while the food is cooking.
You cut soft and unsteady food such as poultry, ham or salmon with long, continuous cuts toward your body. Make sure you use the entire length of the blade. Short, tearing movements destroy the food being cut. Use a knife with a suitably long blade. The blade should also not be too broad, otherwise thin slices can stick to it.
Our tip: A knife with a hollow edge.
You cut firm vegetables by applying even pressure from the top down. And always with the rear part of the blade so that the most effective use is made of this force.
First make an incision in the bread’s hard crust with a toothed blade. When you have punctured the crust, ensure you do not squash the soft crumb. Continue to cut firmly until the slice falls from the loaf. It should be possible to do this effortlessly with 3 to 4 clean cuts using the entire length of the blade.
You probably don’t fillet fish very often. But now you can. First use the filleting knife to cut off the head. Then slice the fish in two from the back to the front along the backbone. Thanks to its flexible blade, the filleting knife slices through the fish without a problem. Next you turn over one half of the fish, lift it by the backbone and remove the latter. Then slice open the fillet from the tail side and draw the knife on the skin along the length of the fillet. Finally, remove the fillet from the skin. And because that was so easy, repeat the process with the other half.