Knife Skills 101

Learn to Use Your Chef's Knife Like a Pro

Chef sharpening knife in kitchen
Jetta Productions/David Atkinson / Getty Images

Knife skills are one of the most important parts of the culinary arts. These articles, tutorials, and how-tos will help you practice your knife skills.

  • 01 of 10
    Lemons on cutting board
    Maria Toutoudaki/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    The chef's knife is probably a cook's most important tool. And given the amount of time it spends in your hand, it's definitely worth making sure you have a good one. Here's a quick tutorial on the various parts of a chef's knife, what they do and why they're important.

  • 02 of 10
    How to Use A Chef's Knife
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    This tutorial will cover the correct way to hold a chef's knife, and how to grip the food with your other hand to avoid cutting yourself.

  • 03 of 10
    How To Chop an Onion
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Chopping an onion is one of the most common kitchen tasks. This illustrated tutorial shows how to chop an onion the fast, easy and safe way.

  • 04 of 10
    Basic Knife Cuts & Shapes
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Good knife skills help improve the quality of the food you cook by ensuring uniform cooking times and making it look nicer. Check out these illustrated examples of all the basic culinary arts knife cuts.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Knife Cut Photo Gallery
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Want to see examples of all the basic culinary arts knife cuts and shapes? This photo gallery highlights nine common culinary knife cuts including the bonnet, allumette, julienne and more.

  • 06 of 10
    Video: Make Batonnet & Allumette Knife Cuts
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    The word batonnet, (pronounced: bah-tow-NAY) is a basic knife cut measuring 1/2 inch × 1/2 inch × 2 1/2 to 3 inches. This long and thin cut also forms the starting point for the dice cuts. For example, to make the medium dice you'd start with the batonnet and just trim down into cubes.

  • 07 of 10
    How to Make an Allumette Cut
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    The word allumette is French for "matchstick," and these slender knife cuts are perfect for lending a touch of elegance to soups, salads, and other vegetable preparations.

    Similar to how the batonnet is used to create medium diced cubes, these long and thin cuts also form the starting point for the dice cuts. For example, to make the small dice, you'd start with the allumette and just trim it down into cubes.

  • 08 of 10
    Keep Your Chef's Knife Sharp
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Keeping your chef's knife sharp will make your job in the kitchen easier — and safer, too. That's because when you're using a dull knife you have to apply more pressure than you would with a sharper blade, making the knife more likely to slip.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Sharpen Your Knife with a Whetstone
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Learning how to sharpen your knife with a whetstone may take a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it you'll be able to keep knives razor sharp and save time and money. Also, check out this video on using a whetstone.

  • 10 of 10
    Hone Your Knife with a Honing Steel
    Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Using a knife steel, also called a sharpening steel or honing steel, helps align the knife's edge so that it cuts smoothly and easily.