Culinary Knife Skills

SCS 001| Knife Skills

Culinary knife skills -- the very first thing you're taught at a professional culinary school, is also the first subject covered in the Stella Culinary School Podcast.

Whether you're a home enthusiast looking to take your culinary game to the next level or a professional cook, you need to have good knife skills. There's no way around; it doesn't matter how well equipped your kitchen is, how fancy the equipment is you use, if you don't have good knife skills, you aren't a competent cook.

This episode of the Stella Culinary School podcast gives you the foundational understanding necessary to develop excellent knife skills. Pair that with the 40+ instructional videos found in our culinary knife skills video index, and you'll be well on your way to mastering your knife skills.

In the discussion segment:

  • What two knives you really need.

  • How to choose a knife that's right for you.
  • The difference between Japanese and German Knife Manufacturing.
  • How important is a full tang knife?

In the technique segment:

  • How to hold your chef's knife.
How to use your guide hand for safety and accurate cutting
  • How to dice, julienne, brunoise and batonnet

Homework Assignment:

  • Buy a 20# sack of potatoes and practice your dice, julienne, brunoise and batonnet
  • Bonus homework assignment: slice up at least three different types of large fruit and display on a large platter, mirror or wooden cutting board.

Ready to test your knife skills knowledge?

  • Take The Culinary Knife Skills Quiz


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There are 18 Comments

pericowest's picture

"What two knives you really need in you kitchen" in your basic discussion, you may want to change you to your.

jacob burton's picture

Thanks for the correction. I just awarded you 10 extra Stella Stars for catching that.

GreenBake's picture

Sanitizing Solution Question... actually though of it in the Sauce Tomat podcast (45 minutes in), but thought this would be a better place to ask the question:

What would be the best formula for a sanitizing solution for cutting boards, sinks and work surfaces? Does the makeup of the solution depend on what it is being used for?

jacob burton's picture

For home use; hot soapy water followed by a mild bleach solution (usually about 10:1). For a professional kitchen, hot soapy water followed by an appropriate sanitizer solution normally provided by the same people who service the dish washer.

GreenBake's picture

Are the best cake knives the best bread knives? I’m curious about which knife might be best to leave the minimum amount of cake crumb on the frosting layer of a cake.

ChefJate's picture

I see a fluted mushroom in the pictures above! I suck at fluting mushrooms... did you ever cover fluting?

jacob burton's picture

No, I haven't covered fluting yet. Maybe will in a future episode.

Newenglanddaughter's picture

Are there other vegetables that are good for practicing basic knife skills aside from potatoes? It's just  my fiancé and I and we don't eat many potatoes at all most of the time, but we do eat lots of non-starchy vegetables.

jacob burton's picture

Hi Newengladdaughter,

My suggestion is to just find what you like to cook, and then apply the appropriate knifes skills and cooking techniques.

Look through our knife skills video index, and also through our kitchen prep video index, and just pick out some vegetables you want to play with.

Also, if you have an specific vegetable in mind, let me know, and I can add it to my video shoot list.

Randy658's picture

Hello Chef,

Great series!  Quick question and I apologize if it is not topic appropriate.  I am attempting to get the newsletters and your Flavor Structure. 

The site states I have already subscribed but I am not receiving anything.

Any suggestions?


jacob burton's picture

Hey Randy,

Make sure add my e-mail address,, to your contact list (adress book). Once you do that, shoot me an e-mail, and I'll resend The Guide To Flavor Structure.

sterling08's picture

Hey Chef,
The Knife skills quiz is not working.  Is there somewhere else I can go to take it?

jacob burton's picture

@ Sterling08,

Looks like the link was broken, but I just fixed it:

Thanks for the heads up, and please let me know if you run into any more issues.

By the way, welcome to Stella Culinary. Please feel free to create a new forum topic if you have a question, and don't hesitate to ask for help or share your successes/failures as you work your way through our content.

j..weinstein's picture

Hi Jacob,

I want to get the best, most expensive knife on Amazon. The only purpose of my knife is to cut three joint chicken wings into mids, drums and tips. What knife would you recommend?

Is this poultry scissors awesome or a gimmick?

jacob burton's picture

@ J..,

You can joint a chicken wing faster using a utility knife or chefs knife. Get a German blade that feels good in your hand.

j..weinstein's picture

Yep, totally agree. I shouldn't of posted that video, it's a ridiculous method. 
For my purpose of cutting wings, which size and material are best,


Stainless Steel, Carbon, Ceramic, Steel, Alloy, Titanium

Sorry to be so specific but the stores here are not as good as America, so Amazon is my best bet.