Lessons > How to Cut Using a Chef's Knife

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Lesson Overview

Excellent cooks can perform a variety of precise knife cuts quickly and efficiently. This is because they have perfected their knife skills by practicing over and over again. It is important to remember, however, that all successful chefs once started as novices – awkward at first – but with determination and commitment, they developed the first and most essential skill in all of cooking: how to cut using a chef’s knife.

The key to using a chef’s knife is to train your hands to apply precise and rhythmic cutting motions so the food you prep prior to actually cooking it is accomplished quickly and with confidence. By applying the correct motion for a variety of cuts, you not only make the cooking of any meal that much quicker and more appealing, but you also expand the possibilities of that dish’s texture based on the cuts you use. In other words, your repertoire of what you can and WILL cook is directly affected by how well and confidently you can use your chef’s knife.

In this lesson, you will learn how to safely and properly cut a variety of ingredients no matter what their shape. There are a lot of fancy and often confusing terms used in recipes to describe different ways to cut ingredients. Terms such as mince, julienne, chiffonade, and brunoise are all very useful to describe specific cuts, but generally, all you need to learn is how to slice and then dicing and all other cuts will naturally follow. Eventually, you will develop a special bond with your knife – the same bond a crafts person has with certain tools. Once this happens, cooking becomes extremely enjoyable.

Lesson Objectives

At the end of this lesson you'll be able to:
  • slice and dice a variety of ingredients
  • understand that most fancy names for cutting are simply variations of slicing
  • understand how to vary your approach to processing different sizes of ingredients
  • stabilize ingredients and anchor your knife to increase knife safety

Course Syllabus

START: Watch Lesson Platform Tour
1. How to Cut Using a Chef's Knife 4 mins
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2. Complete Your Self Assessment 2 mins
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3. Slicing and Dicing 7 mins
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4. Slicing Safety 2 mins
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5. Slicing Long, Flat Ingredients 2 mins
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6. Slicing Round Ingredients 2 mins
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7. Slicing Large-Shaped Ingredients 2 mins
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8. Slicing Odd-Shaped Ingredients 2 mins
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9. Slicing Bunched Ingredients 10 mins
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10. Size of Knife Cuts 5 mins
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11. Activity | Label Knife Cuts 10 mins
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12. Practice Activities & Recipes 45 mins
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13. Lesson Quiz 20 mins
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Finish Line 1 hr 53 mins Total Time

Practice Recipes

A few of the practice recipes you'll learn in this lesson.

Prerequisites & Related Lessons

Please consider these additional lessons to support your learning and discovery. Some of these lessons are prerequisites that may help contextualize what you are learning and form a baseline of knowledge and skill. Other lessons are related and may help you explore next steps or dive deeper on a learning topic.
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25,263 students from beginner to advanced have completed this lesson from 76 countries.