Knife Skills: A Mini Class to Chop Like a Chef | Elana Karp | Skillshare

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Knife Skills: A Mini Class to Chop Like a Chef

teacher avatar Elana Karp, Head Chef, Plated

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Knife Safety


    • 3.

      Knife Cuts: Slice and Julienne


    • 4.

      Knife Cuts: Dice and Mince


    • 5.

      Knife Care and Closing


    • 6.

      Hungry for More?


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About This Class

Join Plated’s Head Chef Elana Karp for a fun and informative 12-minute class on knife skills. You'll learn 4 essential cuts and gain fundamental skills for the kitchen — making prep faster, smoother, and more enjoyable.

You’ll learn basic cuts for everyday ingredients, fun hacks to enjoy your time in the kitchen, and great tips on selecting and safely using your knives. You’ll come away from this class with confidence for using your chef’s knife and the skills to cut your vegetables quickly and beautifully.

Meet Your Teacher

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Elana Karp

Head Chef, Plated


Elana is the Head Chef at Plated and the co-author of the Plated cookbook. After completing Teach for America in New York City and earning her Masters degree in Childhood Education, she headed over to Paris to explore France's deep culinary history and tradition. On the way she earned a chef's degree from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and developed her philosophy that cooking and eating are the best ways to bring people together.

Elana believes food should be easy to make, delicious to eat and is best enjoyed when shared. It leads to good conversation, exposes diners to new cultures, and makes great memories. She is thrilled to be part of the Plated culinary team and looks forward to sharing her meals with you!

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Elana Karp and I'm the head Chef at Plated. We're a cook at home dinner service that serves the whole country. My background is I studied cooking in France and then came back and worked in a million different food jobs including catering, cooking classes, food education, nutrition programs, kids cooking summer camp and then I found Plated. So here, we develop 11 different recipes every week and we test them in this kitchen. When a home cook receives it, they can cook an amazing meal and not that much time when they get home from work. So, we're here in the Plated Test Kitchen, everything's ready to go. This class is about knife skills and knife skills are super important for any cook, be it a beginner or an experienced cook. The better your knife skills are, the easier it is to get dinner on the table. Normally when you enter the kitchen to prepare a meal, it can feel like a really overwhelming task to cut all these different things but if you know what you're doing, you can do it really quickly and efficiently and it makes the whole process a lot more fun. So, to cook any meal you don't need the fanciest knife or a million different options, you just need one good chef's knife and that will really do the trick for almost anything. We'll start the class with knife safety, learning how to protect your non-cutting hand and hold the knife properly. We'll learn how to slice, Julienne, dice, and mince. These are four basic cuts that will help you with pretty much any ingredient you need to cut and the more you practice on all different kinds of ingredients, the better you're going to get. The project for this class is that you're going to cut along with me. So you're going to use the same vegetables and cut them into the same shapes that we're doing today, then take a photo of your work and upload it to the project gallery so that we can see your awesome accomplishment. 2. Knife Safety: No matter what you're cutting, safety is really important. So, the first step is protecting your non-cutting hand, and the way you're going to do that is by doing a bear claw, which means you're going to curl under all of your fingers and use the tips of your finger to hold the ingredient in place. It feels a little weird at first but it's going to protect all of your fingertips, because if your knife slips for any reason, it's just going to bump into your knuckles instead of slicing off the tip of your finger. So, the first tip for knife skills is the bear claw and holding your ingredients with your bear claw. So, now we'll talk about the knife. A good chef's knife is the number one tool in any kitchen. It has a good weight, a smooth blade, and you can pretty much cut anything with it. So, it's a great starter knife. As we talk about this knife today, in knife skills, there are four important parts of the knife that we need to know about. So, the first is the point, which is this sharp edge at the top. The tip is this rounded part of the blade near the point. The base is right by the handle and then obviously the handle is here. So, in order to hold your knife properly, you actually need to grip the base with your pointer and your thumb. This feels a little weird at first. Most people think to hold a knife like this. The problem with it is that when you hold your knife like this and you move your wrist around, the blade wobbles freely and you don't have a lot of control. If you pinch the base with your thumb and your forefinger and then wrap your remaining fingers around the handle, you have total control of the knife. So when your wrist moves, the blade moves with it and you know exactly where it's going to go. So, you hold your knife like this, you have your bear claw hand like this, and you're ready to go and start cutting anything. 3. Knife Cuts: Slice and Julienne: The first ingredient we're going to cut today is celery. It has a nice natural shape, which is a curve, so when we slice it, it will be called a demilune, which looks like a half moon. But celery is a great starter ingredient to practice on, so we're going to learn how to slice. So again, we're going to pick up the knife, pinching the base and wrapping our fingers around the handle, bear claw to hold the celery. Then the key to slicing is to keep the tip of the knife, which is that rounded part near the point anchored on the board, and rock and push, a rocking, pushing, pulling motion with the knife on the board. We're just sort of inch closer to our hand as we go. Just keep rocking. The knife really never leaves the board. We're just slowly feeding the celery into the knife. There you go, you have perfect demilunes of celery. We used celery for this cut, but this motion is really the perfect skill for any ingredient that you want to slice. The next ingredient we'll do is bell pepper and we'll practice julienning the bell pepper. A julienne is a thin long strip so peppers blend themselves really well to this because they have flat sides, but other ingredients you may try this with are carrots or other root vegetables. So to start, the easiest way to get the sides off of the bell pepper are to slice them off instead of cutting it in half. So, stand it on its bottom and slice the sort of four walls of the pepper. Now, you can save the rest for snack. So, we'll take these sides and sort of flatten them a bit with our hand. Then again, knife safety. Thinly slice into very even strips. Again, we're practicing the same rocking motion that we did with the celery where the tip never leaves the board. And if it starts to get uneven, you can flip it on its other side. And there you go, you have perfect strips of pepper pacalled the julienne. A julienne is a classic French cut. While it may seem a little difficult, it actually gives a really nice flavor to things. If you have a julienne, the pieces are very thin, and while it may seem that that only looks different, it actually makes the ingredient taste different too. 4. Knife Cuts: Dice and Mince: Okay, so the next cut we'll do is an onion, and this trick for dicing an onion is one of the most helpful things you can learn in knife skills. Takes a little time to master, but once you do, you can prep an onion so quickly that you won't cry. The first step is to trim the root. So, the root is the part with these little hairs on it. You actually want to keep it intact, but you just want to trim off the bottom of it so that you don't have the dirty part. So, it should look like that. Then you want to trim the top where the stem was, and then you want to cut it in half through the root, because you want to have the root hold together both sides. So, now you can see there's some root on each side. Now, I'll just peel off the paper. Okay, so now that the onion is clean, we can just push that garbage to the side. So, we want the root side towards us, and the cut side facing towards the knife. I'm going to pinch the base of the knife with my fingers, wrap the rest around the handle and put my non-cutting hand flat on top of the onion to hold it in place. Very carefully, I'm going to slice parallel to the board about three-quarters into the onion. I want the root to stay intact and hold the onion together, that's the trick of this cut. So, that's why I'm only going to cut three-quarters all the way back, and I'm just going to cut in two layers. So, now I have three layers of my onion, but it hasn't separated because the root is still holding it together. So, now that I have those layers cut, I'll turn the cut side towards me and use the point of my knife to go in and then roll down again, just three-quarters of the way, all the way down to the board, and rock down all the way thin slices across. The thinner, the closer you make these cuts, the smaller the dice will be. Right now I'm doing a medium dice. So, now that I have this grid cut into the onion, I'm going to turn it away again, and now I'm going to do that slice that we learned before and just slice into the onion crosswise. As I slice, all the layers are going to fall out in this perfect even dice, and I've done it quick enough that I haven't started crying yet. There you go, that's how you dice. The next cut we're going to do is mincing garlic. Once you separate the heads of the garlic, each clove is covered in this paper which can be a pain to peel off. So, the easy way to peel it off is to place it flat on the board and put the widest part of the blade on top of it. Make a fist, and carefully punch down on the blade until the clove pops out of its paper, and it pops out super easily, and just throw that out. Now, the clove is almost partially minced too or it's on its way. So, using your knife skills that you've already learned, you're going to start to just roughly chop it to get it going. That looks good, that looks like a rough chop. So, now to mince, we're going to push it into a pile, and we're actually going to use the lower part of the blade to mince it, and we're going to use our non-cutting hand to weigh down the tip of the knife as we chop back and forth across the garlic. So, I'm going to anchor down the tip, it's never going to leave the board with my non-cutting hand, and I'm just going to rock over and chop the garlic. If it starts to scatter, you can use your knife to push it back into a pile, but you want to be careful not to have the knife perpendicular to the board. You want to have it on an angle. If it's perpendicular to the board and you slide it, you'll destroy the blade, if it's on an angle, you're safe. So, just keep chopping, takes a little bit of patience because the mince is very fine. So, you want to keep going. Just keep pushing it into a pile, and if it gets builds up on your blade, carefully push it off with your finger. Keep running your knife through the garlic. Looks good, nice small pieces which is a mince. Now, you've minced garlic. 5. Knife Care and Closing: Thanks for taking the knife skills class. You learned four basic cuts: slicing, julienning, dicing, and mincing, which can help you cut pretty much any ingredient you want. Just make sure to practice, practice makes perfect. Another really important part of knife safety is making sure that you have a sharp blade. The easiest way to know if your blade is sharp or not is if you're having trouble slicing through the skin of a tomato, it means that it's time to sharpen your blade. So, most people don't have a sharpening stone at home and don't know how to use it. So, the easiest way to get your blade sharp is take it into your local kitchen supply store and they should have someone there that can sharpen it for you. The project for this class is you're going to cut along with me and prepare the same knife skills that you've learned today. Then, take a photo of your work and upload it to the project gallery, so you can share your awesome achievements with us. We can't wait to see what you've done. 6. Hungry for More?: