I gotta tell you - it is very unnerving to watch a southpaw with a knife.
Julienne, chiffonade, emince...? Fancy names. Simple concepts. Find clarity here.
One thing about ceramic knives is that you either love them or not. Some find them too light, too fragile. For cutting vegetables and fish, they're awesome, but for tougher work, they feel too fragile. Plus, the real good ones are very expensive. My hands are big and my grip firm, so I have not found them to be so comfortable, but have had students with small hands that swear by them.
Hope this helps.
I just received a beautiful 9" Wustof Cook's Knife for Christmas and now I'm looking into purchasing a sharpening steel to keep the blade in good shape. I checked out Wustof`s site and they show two types of steel: a regular sharpening steel and a diamond sharpener. Am I right in assuming that the diamond sharpener does not hone the blade and only sharpens it (I would love to put a question mark here but my keyboard seems to be failing me). Additionally what length of steel should I be investing in assuming I will be purchasing additional knifes as I continue my training and career (haha again question mark).
Diamond steels do actually sharpen some of the edge, and they do hone too, so they too have some advantages. But only if they're of very good quality. Wustof makes quality steels. As for length, the longer, thicker and heavier (really) the better. Hope this helps.
particularly the step for Positioning Your Guide Hand. i damaged some nerves in my right hand years ago and have switched over to using my left hand for many different maneuvers, including transitioning knife chopping duties over to my left and using the right hand as the guide.
in the past, i could not figure out how to hold things down and feel that they were secure enough for me to chop away with confidence that i won't be bleeding into my pile of vegetables and what-not. but watching your video, i've adapted your backward crab crawl into a gripping style that seems to suit me. could probably take some adjusting as i go along and would greatly appreciate anyone else's input.
presently only using the middle and pointer finger as the guide. the thumb, pinky and ring finger now anchor. just so you know, the pinky and ring are the gimpy ones of the bunch. trying to bring ol' gimpy up into position with the middle and pointer is just very awkward, but allowing it to curl up next to the pinky seems to work for me so far and feels "natural".
if this at all sounds like a script for disaster please advise on what i should be doing.
I would suggest doing 15 minutes exercises with the bench scraper for 4 or 5 sessions (or more if needed). It's great for confidence building.
As for your hand position, you seem to be on the right track. It is fine to adjust to another variation that is comfortable to you, just remember to find a position whereby if you were to slip, you simply cannot cut yourself. Safety first. It will become second nature in no time.
How worried should I be about honing my knife with a steel? I just received a nice set of chef's knives for Christmas and have never used a steel before. I'm worried about doing lasting damage by using an improper angle. Are mistakes easily undone or should a novice really be careful before attempting to hone a knife?
Honing can not do any damage to your knives... In fact, unless you are using a diamond steel, a steel doesn't sharpen an edge. You need to do this with a stone. So don't worry. Follow the honing video on Rouxbe and hone every once and while to maintain your edge. A slight variation in angles will not do anything. Nice to see you're lovin' your knives though :-) a good sign.
Thanks Joe. You really put my mind at ease and I can now enjoy my new knives without worry.
I'm a little unclear about the distinction between honing and sharpening, though, as it seems to be purely semantic.
Also, the advice in the video is for the home chef to hone once a day. That seems excessive and contrary to what you suggest ("every once and a while"). I guess what I need to know is how long is too long to go without honing.
Measuring in days does not make much sense unless the knife naturally loses its edge (doubtful) as some of us will not use a knife every day. Perhaps measuring on a per-use basis makes more sense.
Honing - maintains the edge.
Sharpening creates an edge once it's lost from use. And every knife will begin to lose it's edge with use over time.
If you use your knife a lot every day, then honing everyday is the absolute best thing you can do. I have to admit, that I don't even do this out of laziness (lack of time, etc). However, I happen to lose my edge often so I have to use a stone. The next time you go to a butcher shop, listen for the butchers honing in the back. Many hone their knives before each use - why - because it keeps their knives sharper, longer. And you don't have to see it, you'll hear it.
A stone has a very course surface area and it actually grinds the steel down. Think of sanding down the edge of a piece of wood with sand paper. Same thing. We'll be covering this in a few weeks so stick with us and we'll walk you through this too.
Hope this helps.
...because I am actually afraid of knives. For the past 18 years I have cut EVERYTHING with meat scissors or forced my husband to do it. He's even agreed to buy me a good chef's knife after I prove I am going to try to use it instead of wimping out and going back to my old habits.
(However, he is sharpening my current one for me in the mean time.)
I have been practicing with a bench scraper for about 10 minutes a day for the past few days. I am comfortable with that - any thoughts on transitioning for someone with a phobia?
So glad to hear that you are practicing with the bench scraper...this is what will give you the feeling without the fear that you have for the knife blade.
The only advice I would give you for transitioning is to keep practicing with the bench scraper until you feel really comfortable. You don't want to be afraid when it comes to cutting with a knife. Once you are ready to move to the knife, take it slow (learning is not about speed) and remember what you practiced. As long as you keep your fingers tucked under and you go slowly, you will be fine.
Good luck, let us know how it goes!
I use a steel on my knives every time I cut with them precisely BECAUSE of laziness. I'd rather steel them for a few seconds each time than have to spend the time with them on a stone. Of course steeling them doesn't stop me from having to do so, but it stops me having to do so very often. :)
I am getting my knives professionally sharpened tomorrow. I do not have a steel to keep the knife sharpened. Is this something that I absolutely need to run out and get immediately? Are they expensive? Also, if I do use a steel on my knives regularly, how often do I need to have them professionally sharpened? This guy that is going to do my knives does all the commercial hotels and restaurants around town and says that once I see what he can do with my knives that I won't want to use a steel, I'll just pay the $3 that he charges to get them resharpened. Advice appreciated!