Every time I watch a cooking show where there's a real honest to goodness chef in front of the camera I am always a bit envious of their knife skills. It amazes me how quickly they wield their knives with precision and economy. I want to be able to do that too.
Towards that end, I picked up a copy of Mastering Knife Skills - The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen by Norman Weinstein. This massive book takes you through every technique using a knife in a kitchen. It's beautifully illustrated and comes with its own DVD.
Aquiring knife skills will give you a quiet confidence; quoting Pablo Casals, Weinstein cautions, "The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all." I want that.
While I'm still working through this book, my biggest discovery is that I'm not that bad. I know a lot more than I give myself credit for. I know how to cut, dice, fillet, french etc, but I'm no where near as fast as I want to be. The speed will come from repetition. I just need to do more of this. Practice, Practice, Practice!
So far the biggest lesson I've had knocked into my thick head is the same lesson that I've heard from every chef I've ever spoken to about knives.... "A sharp knife is essential and a dull knife is dangerous." My knives are dull, but not for long. I'm learning how to sharpen, hone and properly care for my knives. It's very Zen.
Do you have dull knives but don't have the skills to sharpen them yourself? Don't fret. There are some fine folks who will do it for you. Here's a list of places from the book where you can get your knives sharpened.
- Accurate Sharp - Tempe, AZ
- Ambrosi Cutlery - Mahopac, NY
- The Broadway PanHandler - New York, NY
- Country Knives - Intercourse, PA
- The Holley Manufacturing Company - Mail-in only
- Jivano's Cutlery Service - San Francisco, CA
- Kramer Knives - Olympia, WA
- Mr. Leonard - Midlothian, VA
- Morty's Knives - Farmingdale, NY
- Columbus Cutlery - San Francisco, CA
- RazorSharp Cutlery - San Francisco, CA
- The Knife Guy - Mail-in Only