Whether you take cooking classes in person or from an online course, it's important to understand the significance of the chef's knife. In fact, one of the 5 Chef Secrets that professionals use to create amazing meals at home and on the job is the use of the chef’s knife.
Professional chefs know that correct preparation of ingredients helps in the eye appeal of the final presentation of the dish. More importantly, items that are cut consistently will cook consistently. That way, every piece of carrot has the same texture in the soup. If they’re cut to different sizes, the larger one will be hard and crunchy, and the smaller piece soft and mushy.
Practicing correct skills with your kitchen knives will also save money by allowing you to buy larger items and break them into usable pieces. When you prepare fresh ingredients correctly, there is less waste and fresh ingredients improve your cooking by increasing the nutrients in your diet by using more wholesome foods.
One of the most common items that needs to be cut in household cooking is an onion. Every time you make a cut into an onion, it releases sulfur-based gas. When that gas comes in contact with the water in your eye, it turns into sulfuric acid and burns. So, not only does the onion need to be cut into consistent pieces, it is certainly more pleasant if you can do it with as few knife strokes as possible.
Wrong Way to Cut an Onion
The common rocking of the knife against the cutting board, the “mezzaluna” motion is just another way to chop things inconsistently.
Right Way to Cut an Onion
The correct way to dice an onion is to first cut the onion in half from root end to blossom end, giving you a flat surface to work from, avoiding a rolling onion and sharp knife. Since the root end of the onion holds it together, the next step is to cut the blossom end from the onion and remove the skin.
The natural curve of the onion layers will help you in cutting the item into consistent pieces if you first make horizontal cuts in the onion that travel parallel to your cutting board. Now, make vertical cuts in the onion with the tip of your knife, but not all the way back to the root end.
You should now have a “checkerboard” type slices in the onion, but it should stay together because you haven’t cut back to the root end. A tip/fulcrum method will now cut the onion into consistent diced pieces if you now cut across the previous two cuts.
Try it at home! You're going to love the time and tears that it saves you as well as having the ability to have consistent sized pieces of onion. So, keep in mind, whether you take cooking classes online or in person, one of the most important of chef secrets is having knife skills. The correct use of a chef’s knife will help you save money, use better foods, improve your confidence, and save time spent in the kitchen.
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