How To Cut Food And Vegetables: Chop Like A Pro Without Losing A Finger.

Keep your fingers and chop easily, safely and with precision.

Tools for the lesson:

** Quality chefs knife - wide blade, medium to professional sharpness and one that's comfortable to you.

** Cutting board - best for the job is wood or dense plastic.

** Soft food items - melon, cheese or bread for beginners and celery, onion, peeled potatoes for those more comfortable with your knife

Before you begin, it's important you make sure the cutting board you're using is in place and unlikely to move while your chopping. Placing a damp dishtowel underneath the board will prevent it from moving during chopping. Next you'll need to prepare the foods you'll be chopping. When chopping anything, it is always easier if the food is in smaller more manageable pieces to promote chopping ease.



Prepare the food by slicing into one and a half-inch bands. This applies to celery, potatoes and cheese. Once you've cut the food into more manageable pieces, group them in bundles that feel comfortable for your hands. That is, in groups easily run under the knife for your hand size.

These instructions are written for those who are right handed, but can be reversed so they're ambidextrous. The whole idea is that you're comfortable with both the feeling of the knife and the feel of both hands in conjunction with the constant movement of the knife.

Next grab a bundle of the food you've prepared and place it at a comfortable angle on the cutting board. The hand you'll use to guide the food under the knife will be holding the food with the third knuckle on each of three fingers tightly grouped together. Position your knife over the food with your thumb and forefinger against the end of the handle closest to the blade at a forty-five degree angle. With repeated motions that never allow the tip of your knife to leave the surface of the board run the knife slowly at first, in an up and down motion through the group of food. You'll be dropping, raising and pushing the knife forward at the same time. It is a technique that will take a few hours of practice and patience. During this learning process it's important to keep your patience; rushing yourself too early greatly increases your chances of having an accident and injuring yourself.

The idea behind this technique is simple. When refined, your knife never leaves the board and promotes quick and easy chopping no matter what it is you're chopping. The fluid movement you'll develop makes any chopping job easy and is especially appreciated by those who've yet to invest in a food processor or have one and don't need the precise chopping they provide.

KNIFE SAFETY AND OTHER TIPS

Always position your knuckles against the blade before you begin to chop. This helps establish a comfortable position with the knife and also allows you to see exactly where the knife will land when you are in the middle of chopping. This said; don't expose the tips of your fingers to the area where the blade will complete one chopping revolution.

Don't use a dull knife. They don't benefit anyone and the injuries you'll sustain from a dull knife can, in some cases, surpass a sharp one.

Always use a knife with which you feel comfortable and familiar. Experiment with new knives to get a proper feel on how they perform before you start chopping faster than greased lightening.

Always experiment with softer foods to start. The suggestions listed in this article are mere suggestions, use your own judgment, food on hand and experience level to determine the density of the foods you prepare.

© High Speed Ventures 2011