Quick-and-Easy Food Tips from Midwest Chefs
Cut like a pro
A good knife and proper cutting technique can make your food prep much more efficient, says Joel Papcun, an instructor and chef at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute, Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.
Keep it sharp You're less likely to cut yourself when the knife is sharp. Sharp knives require less force to slice and will cut through vegetables, such as onions, rather than slipping off. Use a knife-sharpening system to maintain your knives or have them professionally sharpened.
Hold with a 'pinch grip' To cut with a chef's knife, hold the blade just in front of the bolster (on the blade where it meets the handle). Slightly pinch the blade between the thumb and index finger, and use the remaining fingers to grip the handle. This grip is especially important when cutting dense vegetables such as potatoes because it prevents the blade from rolling over.
Use a claw hold Joel recommends using the claw hold when cutting produce. Form a claw shape with the hand you use to hold the food you're cutting, tucking your fingertips and thumb under and away from the sharp blade. This technique is shown in the picture at left.