Applied Knife Techniques is the first class we taught at our cook school, so all its recipes come from our first instructor, Carla. Click on the PDFs to download and print her recipes for Roast Chicken with Citrus Pan Sauce, Sweet Potato & Red Onion Gratin, and Herb & Fennel Salad. We encourage you to use these recipes as guidelines—feel free to vary the ingredients with appropriate substitutes.
Tips & Tricks
Always wash your knife by hand, dry it immediately, and store it on a magnetic block or in a drawer with a knife cover. This is the safest storage method and preserves your blade’s edge too. Herbs, especially basil, are averse to contact with metals and bruise easily. So make sure to chop them only once—folding them over or rolling them into little cigars (chiffonade) when possible—to limit contact with the knife. (It helps a lot when your knife is sharp!) This prevents herbs from losing flavour and keeps things tidier too. When roasting chicken or poultry, let the bird rest before carving, for 1/3 of its cooking time at the least and 1/2 of its cooking time at the most. This ensures it does not taste dry. Do the same when cooking red meat too, letting it rest for 1 minute per 100g of meat.
Do not immediately wash your pan after cooking meat—you’ll need it to enhance the flavour of your pan sauce. First, you have to deglaze; in other words, incorporate browned food from your pan into your sauce by simmering your liquid of choice in the pan. This can be wine, vinegar, stock, beer, or even just water. Be sure to use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the pan, in order to release as much flavour as possible. Keep cooking to reduce your sauce down. It’s done when it can coat the back of a spoon.The traditional rule to create a salad dressing is to use three parts oil to one part acid (lemon, vinegar, or even grapefruit, for example). Since not all palettes are the same, feel free to experiment—it is quite common to make dressing with half oil and half acid. If adding sweetness, like honey or sugar, try to go for one part to ensure it comes through. Ditto for mustard, which is a great option for adding depth. When you taste your dressing, use a leaf of whatever green you are making your salad with (lettuce, spinach, rocket, and so on)—so you can taste the exact flavour profile.
Chef’s Knife or Santoku: This versatile knife takes care of most prep work. (Our instructors reckon about 80% of kitchen tasks.) Shop our range here.
Paring Knife: Use this small knife for more precise tasks. For example, in class, we used paring knives to segment oranges, but they can be just as useful for deveining prawns, removing seeds, slicing fruit and coring fennel. Shop our range here.
Boning Knife: This knife is specially designed to cut around bones. The pointed tip and heel allow for piercing and delicately removing other parts too. In class we used European blades, which have strong, thick, and slightly flexible blades that can withstand chipping if you accidentally hit a bone with too much force. Shop boning knives here.
Knife Sharpeners: A sharp knife is much, much safer than a blunt knife, which can slip off of ingredients and cause injury. Keeping your knife sharp can be accomplished with a variety of sharpeners, or sending them to a professional sharpening service (as we do annually, for 10 years, after a customers purchase of any Kai Shun knife). Our favourite is the quick and clever HORL 2 Sharpener, which works on both European and Japanese-style blades. Shop our range here.
Mandolines: While using a good, sharp knife will most certainly do the trick, sometimes a mandoline can come in handy too, especially when you need to cut a lot of vegetables quickly and in uniformly sized pieces. Just make sure to always use the included finger guard and, to guarantee safety, a cut-resistant glove. Shop here.
Chopping Boards: A wooden or wood composite board are the best materials for keeping your knife blades sharper for longer. Shop our range here.
Expand Your Skills
Now that you’re all set with knife skills, consider taking another class to expand your repertoire. We offer a wide variety to choose from, from classes focused on specific cuisines to thorough, practical lessons on specific dishes, from steak to Chinese dumplings. As always, we promise to provide you with skills and techniques you can apply to all your cooking.