If you are like us, you have probably gone to a kitchen store and splurged on a professional grade knife excited at the prospect of improving your chopping skills, only to find that over time, that excellent knife became more and more difficult to use. You may have even bought a knife sharpener at Bed Bath & Beyond, hoping that maybe that would solve your dull blade problems. It can be such a frustrating and confusing process. But we’ve found just the right person to give us some tips on how to solve our knife conundrums- Nick McNevin, the Sous-Chef at the Greenwich Project in the West Village, has given us an inside look on how to sharpen knives and chop like a real chef.
How to sharpen your knife
What are the items that we need?
- A chef’s knife that is 7-8 in long, this one from MTC Kitchen is my top recommendation. It’s hand made in Japan by Toshiyuki Takamura, is about 8 inches, made of 64 layers of Damascus steel- light, thin and strong enough to cut through everything.
- A sharpening stone at 1000 grit
- Sink Bridge
First things first, what kind of knife should we be looking for?
“You get what you pay for” really applies when buying a knife. Instead of spending $200 on a knife block from a department store with nine kinds of knives you probably won’t use, spend that money on a “real” chef’s knife that you can use with nearly every part of meal preparation. Cheap knifes are made from cheap steel and plastic, they will never stay truly sharp and damage quiet easily.
Could you take us through the steps?
- Set the stone in the bridge and place it on top of wet paper towels to prevent it from sliding.
- Wet the stone slightly with cold water and place the bridge lengthwise towards you.
- Place the blade down away from you at a 20o angle. Your knife should be tilted slightly upwards.
- Place your pinky on the knife closest to the tip and your index an inch away closest to you.
- With a little bit of pressure move the knife up and down the stone, 20 times on the first side, 15 times on the second, and then repeat reducing each time by 5.
How to chop like a chef
Since we already have a sharp knife in hand, please give us a quick 101 class on chopping like a chef.
- Hold the base of the knife blade with your thumb and index finger while curling the rest of your fingers behind
- With your hand that is holding the vegetable being chopped, curl your fingers under to prevent any possible cuts.
- Lift the knife up and down keeping its position static, while moving the vegetable in slowly according to the size of the slices that you want.
When it comes to cooking, a little bit of knowledge and expertise goes a long way. Sure, some of these items might be more than what you are used to spending on kitchen supplies, but it’s about taking care of the pieces that you have already splurged on and making good decisions on future purchases.
Here are a few items to set up a great chopping station in your kitchen: 1.Japanese Chef’s Knife // 2. Magnetic Knife Block // 3. Sink Bridge // 4. Knife Strip // 5. Chopping Board with Metal Handles // 6. Chopping Block