Knife Handling

Basic Tools or Cooks’ tools
Knife Skills, examples and safety

Basic Tools or Cooks’ tools

Basic tools/cooks’ tools Basic kitchen tools are the hand-held pieces of equipment used in cleaning, shaping, mixing and cutting food. Most of Bluey's cooks own and carry them from one job to another.

  • Peeler - Used for peeling vegetables, eyeing potatoes and shaving hard cheeses
  • Knife sharpener/Stone/Steel - Used to sharpen or ‘hone’ a knife blade or maintain its sharp cutting edge.
  • Knives - A set of good knives is essential, and they come in many shapes and types. Used for peeling, slicing, shredding, chopping, dicing, crushing, boning, carving, segmenting, removing fish scales and numerous other tasks in the kitchen.

There are six common knives you’ll have in your toolkit to use for a wide range of food preparation techniques:

  • Paring knife - This pointy (6 to 9 cm) blade is fairly rigid and has a shallow heel. It is used for small tasks such as peeling, cutting, segmenting and artistic work like carving vegetables. A “turning knife” is a type of paring knife but with a curved blade, making it ideal for ‘hand cutting’ and turning root vegetables into shapes.
  • Filleting knife - The filleting knife has a thin tapered blade about 15 cm long with a pointed end. Its flexibility is perfect for removing fish fillets from the bone with a minimum of waste.
  • Boning knife - The boning knife has a blade length between 12 cm and 16 cm. The firm and sharply pointed and curved blade is easy and safe to use when removing meat from around bones. The handle is sculptured to the shape of a hand, so it does not slip over the blade when it becomes moist and greasy from handling meat, poultry and game.
  • Cook’s knife - The cook’s knife is a general- p u r p o s e knife used for chopping, slicing, dicing and shaping food. The broad, sturdy heel provides clearance between your knuckles and the chopping board. It is one of the biggest knives you’ll handle. The blade ranges from 12 cm to 30 cm long. The size you use depends on your physical size and strength. It is a good idea to experiment with different sizes until you find the one that fits you best.
  • Palette knife/spatula - Palette knives or spatulas have a long flat, flexible blade with no sharp edges. The rounded end blade ranges in length from 15 cm to 35 cm, depending on its intended purpose. It is used for shaping food, flipping pancakes/crepes, lifting and turning food during cooking, and spreading and smoothing soft mixtures (icing, cream, butter).
  • Meat cleaver - These vary in shape and size, but usually look like a square-bladed hatchet and are used differently depending on where you are. In Asia, chefs use meat cleavers for preparing vegetables, working with garnishes, chopping herbs and even carrying prepared ingredients to the wok. In ‘Western’ countries, chefs use them for meat butchery in general and chopping bones (particularly ribs, chops and cutlets). Some kitchens may also use meat saws to cut through thick bones when preparing various meat cuts.

Knife Skills, examples and safety

Click on the Link below to view the video:
Basic Knife Skills Short Video

Knife Safety

Regardless of which knife you use, safety is a primary concern.

  • Keep your knife sharp. Sharp knives require less pressure and are less likely to slip, so they are effectively safer.
  • Choose the right knife for the task you need to perform.
  • Chop on a chopping board when cutting.
  • Hold your chopping board firmly in place by placing a damp cloth or non-slip mat under it.
    Cut away from yourself and your fingers. Pay attention to where the sharp edge of your plade is pointing.
  • Curl your fingers under when cutting.
  • Carry your knife with the point towards the ground and the blade close to your body to avoid injuring others.
  • Always clean and dry your knife as can be dangerous if the handle becomes greasy or slippery.
  • Never try to catch a falling knife. Let it fall! (And get your feet out of the way!)
  • Never run your finger down the edge of a blade to check for sharpness
  • Never leave your knife facing up. Always put the blade down flat.
  • Never soak your knives in a sink full of water. This isn't good for the blade and is very dangerous for any unsuspecting person who puts their hands into the water.
  • Don't put your knife near the edge of the bench, where it could easily knocked off.