Get Your Knife Skills Right! How to Weekly Meal Prep Like a Professional Chef

You are what you eat. You've heard that so many times it's burned into your brain. The myriad of benefits of a balanced diet—from helping you get in better shape by meeting nutritional macros to simply helping you slim down or build muscle—are numerous. That's why eating well is one of the most important things that you do for yourself.

If you want to eat fresh, healthy food, you must do some of the work yourself. Cooking your own meals does take time, but there are ways to cut down on how many hours you spend in the kitchen. One of the best ways is to work on your knife skills so food prep doesn’t take so long. Use this guide to help you sharpen your knife skills so you’re more efficient.

Hold Your Knife Properly

The way you hold your knife plays a huge part in how efficient you are when chopping, slicing and dicing. Here are the two most common ways to hold a knife. Experiment with both and see which is most comfortable for you. A lot of it depends on how comfortable you are with a knife, and your preferred grip might change as you spend more time in the kitchen.

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  • Handle Grip. For the perfect handle grip, you want all of your fingers behind the bolster -- that piece of metal that separates the handle from the blade. Grab the knife and tuck all four of your fingers behind your thumb. Your thumb should be pressed up against the bolster to make sure you have control of the knife.

    Most cooks prefer their knuckles under the knife pointing down at the cutting board and the handle pressed firmly again the middle of their palm. If you’re new to working in the kitchen, this is probably the best grip for you. The handle grip also works exceptionally well for individuals with smaller hands.

 

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  • Blade Grip. Experienced and professional chefs usually opt for this grip. It might seem awkward at first, but in time, it will give you the most control and speed when using your knife. Try the blade grip by putting your pinky, ring and middle finger under the handle with your ring finger close to the bolster. Place the pad of your thumb on the back of the knife and curl your index finger so the tip isn’t near the blade on the other side of the knife. This position allows you to make precision cuts, but make sure that index finger doesn’t slip or move around too much. Start slow when using this grip for the first time.

Get the Right Knife for the Job

If you want to be efficient in the kitchen, you need the right knife for the job. Individuals buying from scratch should focus on getting a quality eight-inch chef’s knife, serrated bread knife, paring knife and a slicing knife. The best knives are the ones made with high-quality steel and a firm handle.

Look for versions that have the blade running though the knife, from the handle to the tip of the blade. Start your knife collection with quality pieces that can be sharpened and maintained instead of tossed when they get old. You also want to look for a knife that seems balanced in your hand. One that's too top-heavy or too light can make kitchen prep less efficient.

Buy Quality Cutting Boards

The cutting board you use to slice, dice and chop matters. After all, cutting boards all do the job of helping you avoid slicing up your counter tops. Some of the cutting boards marketed to consumers, like those made out of glass, marble or other off-the-wall materials just don’t perform as efficiently as tried and true professional materials.

The preferred material of professional chefs might surprise you. Most pros simply want a durable plastic cutting board that’s easy to clean and stands up to regular abuse. The other great thing about plastic is that it won’t slip as easily as wood will. That’s good for your fingers and for making effortless precision cuts.

To get the most out of your time in the kitchen, you need basic skills and a balanced meal plan. You’ll have to work on those knife skills alone, but Meal Plan Magic can help create your own custom menu, evaluate your nutrition goals, help you hit essential macros and more

 

Sources:

Lopez-Alt, J. Kenji; Knife Skills: How to Hold a Knife; Serious Eats; accessed April 2, 2016
http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/05/knife-skills-how-to-hold-a-knife.html

Page, Melinda & Ashley Tate; 4 Knives Every Kitchen Needs; Real Simple; accessed April 2, 2016
http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/tools-products/4-knives-every-kitchen-needs

Purdy, Kevin; The Best Cutting Board; The Sweethome; accessed April 2, 2016
http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-cutting-board
Page, Melinda & Ashley Tate; 4 Knives Every Kitchen Needs; Real Simple; accessed April
http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/tools-products/4-knives-every-kitchen-needs

Purdy, Kevin; The Best Cutting Board; The Sweethome; accessed April 2, 2016
http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-cutting-board/