Hands-on knife class needs keen participants

Sharps knives are much safer in a cook’s hand than dull knives, or so most of us have heard.

And sharp blades also are more efficient, allowing cooks to work faster and with less effort. But how many of us maintain the right tool with conscientious care only to wonder how exactly to wield it? A hands-on class with chef Constance Jesser, co-owner of Jacksonville Mercantile, can set you set straight.

The Monday, Aug. 11, session is open to just eight people (Jesser is looking for a few more participants). Instruction, starting at 6:30 p.m., will include the differences in knife styles, how to sharpen and store them, as well as all the cuts common in professional kitchens, detailed in a previous post. The class costs $45. Call 541-899-1047 to register.

MCT photo

Students need to bring their own chef’s knife and paring knife. For anyone unclear on those knives or their functions, here are explanations courtesy of McClatchy News Service.

A chef’s knife is a utility blade useful for everything from cutting meat to dicing vegetables. It’s considered the most important, go-to and versatile knife to have in the kitchen. It comes in several lengths, but an 8-inch blade is a good, standard size. The blade should be wide at the heel end (near the handle), tapering to a point at the tip end.

A paring knife is a small, all-purpose knife designed for intricate work, such as deveining shrimp or skinning a small fruit or vegetable. The blades are thin and short, about 2 to 4 inches long. Use a paring knife for peeling, paring, coring and pitting or removing the tops of strawberries, or any small slicing jobs like garlic cloves.

Bringing one’s own blades likely is a bonus feature of the class for those looking to upgrade based on a chef’s opinion. German and Japanese brands are known for their quality, value and reliability. Some middle-of-the-road models are available from Wusthof, Shun, Zwilling J.A. Henckels and Global.

No matter their provenance, all knives benefit from the following treatment:

Keep them out of the dishwasher: Harsh detergent and heavy jostling can damage and dull knife blades. Instead, carefully wash with a sponge using warm, soapy water.

Don’t leave them soaking: Someone could get cut by a knife hidden at the bottom of a murky pool of dishwater. Or, other utensils and dishes could blunt the blade.

Use the right board: Wooden cutting boards are most forgiving on knife edges; acrylic and ceramic dull blades faster.

Store separately: Don’t crowd knives in a drawer with other utensils; they’ll get damaged. Keep knives in a wooden block holder or a wall-mounted magnetic strip.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Categories

  • Archives