Sometimes referred to as a chef’s knife, this is a multi purpose tool often with a curved blade. The blade allows the knife to cut with a rocking action as well as being able to cut through meat, fish and vegetables.
This is a long straight bladed knife with a serrated edge and is used with a deliberate, careful sawing action. The width of the knife is such that it is possible to keep the blade vertical and straight, giving as thin a slice as you might require.
These are smaller bladed knifes that are flexible, allowing you to fillet a fish or removing meat from the surface of bones which are usually irregularly shaped. For a more accurate cut, some filleting knives can have a curved blade.
This is a long straight bladed knife tapering to a point. It is the meat equivalent of a bread knife for cutting slices of meat.
An alternative to the carving knife is the slicing knife, usually with a rounded end and sometimes a Granton blade, which means the cutting surfaces are dimpled allowing fat and other liquids to collect during the slicing stroke, allowing a better, thinner slice. The thickness of the knife makes it ideal of slicing sausage and fish, particularly smoked salmon.
This is a small knife with a point and a blade length of around three inches. It is a stout little knife for peeling vegetables and cutting out eyes of potatoes or scraping skin or removing garlic skins.
These are big, heavy knives usually used for cutting through bone with a chopping action. Some cleavers are very sharp indeed and used in Chinese kitchens with a more multi purpose way, including chopping vegetables and using the deep knife blade as a way of transferring the ingredient to the pot.
Keeping your knives sharp is very important, cooking will be easier and more successful with a sharp knife.
We use a steel to sharpen knives, which is a hardened steel rod with grooves and a finger guard. Always clean your knife before using the steel, otherwise it becomes less effective. This includes sharpening half way through cutting meat.
The knife edge has two bevels, an outer one and, on the very edge, a smaller one which creates the actual cutting surface.
Sharpening simply repairs the small imperfections on the actual edge. You need to hold your blade at an angle which reflects this edge, about 20 degrees from the steel.
Draw the knife back on both sides of the knife. Take your time, you needn’t rush.
You can use an alternative method, holding the steel upside down and drawing the knife along the steel in the opposite manner.
There is nothing wrong with using a knife sharpener, but buy the best quality one you can afford and never try to sharpen an uncleaned, greasy knife in it.
Cutting vegetables is one of the basic functions of a sharp knife. In this video we show you the three finger rule.
Place your item on a clean cutting board.
Hold it firmly with three middle fingers with the middle finger foremost.
The knuckle on the middle finger is used as a guide for the motion of the knife.
Cut with a rhythmic rotary motion, allowing the blade to slice rather than chop.
All the time keep the fingers behind the blade.
There is no need to rush, your cutting will not make tastier food if it is rushed.
Cut the potato in half longways.
Turn onto the flat surface and cut into 1 cm strips.
Turn over and cut into 1 cm strips again.
Cut a flat base.
Put the potato on this base and then trim four sides.
Slice into 1 cm strips and then turn over and cut again.
Then cut into 1 cm cubes.
Grip the potato with the three middle fingers, using the middle finger knuckle as a guide, slice the potato with a rhythmic motion of the knife.
Cut the potato in half, lengthways.
Place the half on the flat bottom and make 3 cuts at 45, 90 and 45 degrees on the other side.
Lay the chicken on its back and find the Parson’s nose. Make a 3 cm cut by simply pushing the cleaver through.
Stand the bird on it’s head. Put the cleaver in the cut you made earlier and carefully push down. It should go through easily but the hip end might need a little more effort.
Lay the bird on its breasts and cut through the breastbone. This should be easy with a little pressure.
You now have two halves. Take one half and pull it lengthways. You should see a line appear where you can cut through. Repeat with the other half. You now have 4 pieces.
To separate the drumstick from the thigh, pull the skin away on the meat side and a line of fat marks where you should be cutting through.
To remove the wing, pull it back to dislocate it and then cut through. You can cut into the breast if you like to give a meaty wing.
To make a wing lollipop, cut the top knuckle and the lower part of the wing, leaving the meaty centre. Hold in a clean kitchen towel and grip the smallest of the two bones inside. Remove it and scrape the meat with the knife down the bone to make a lollipop.