Before watching Brendan McDermott's series of knife skills lessons, I thought I knew my way around a chef's knife. You guys, I was wrong. In under two hours, this mini class taught me more about slicing and dicing than decades of trial-and-error experience in my home kitchen. Watch it right now and you'll see exactly what I mean.
Oh and best of all? It's completely free.
About the Instructor
Brendan McDermott has cred to spare when it comes to culinary instruction. For the better part of a decade he's been teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, with a focus on knife skills. He's worked in restaurants since the age of 16, practicing martial arts with weapon training in his free time.
The man knows his blades, and his clear, deliberate instruction is easy to follow.
What I Learned
This "Mini Class" is hosted at the educational site Craftsy and it is about an hour and 50 minutes long, covering the basics of choosing knives for your kitchen (you only need three or four), learning the four basic cutting techniques (low, high, horizontal, and pull cuts), applying them to various fruits and vegetables, and finally, learning how to hone, sharpen, and maintain your knives.
The way McDermott explains knife technique makes so, so much sense once you see it in action. Safety and efficiency are always the name of the game. He drives home the point that we should never chop, pressing down on the knife and muscling it through the food. Instead, he uses a circular slicing motion, taking advantage of the back half of the blade for the majority of the cutting work.
Included with the free course are a few recipes to use your new-found skills — you can practice that snazzy slicing technique on carrots, celery, and onions for a basic chicken stock, and use McDermott's brilliant coring method on a jalapeño for some pico de gallo. Spend an afternoon watching this fun and practical series of lessons, and you'll be ready to start cutting like a pro.
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(Image credits: Leela Cyd)