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Basic Knife Skills [UPDATED] (Video)

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When it comes to cooking simple Clean & Delicious® meals, knowing some basic knife skills promises to save you time in the kitchen!

So I  thought it was due time to update my original video and share everything any home cook needs to know when it comes to basic knife skills.

Back in October of 2007 I posted my original Knife Skills video, and although the production was pretty good, apparently my knife skills were not.

I received lots of comments and some pretty critical feedback (especially on YouTube) which I was able to take from and learn from.

So here I am nearly 5 years later (and in HD), sharing my updated version of how to save time in the kitchen by knowing how to use your knife!

I hope you find it helpful and as always, I would LOVE to hear your feedback (and yes, that means the good, the bad and the ugly)!

P.S. For a  detailed explanation on sharpening or honing your knife, check out this video by Alton Brown…it’s great!

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37 Responses to “Basic Knife Skills [UPDATED] (Video)”

  1. #
    Nicole — October 23, 2007 @ 9:55 pm


    The video looks great and really professional! Are you using new lighting? Love that you’re doing “how-to” videos now! Looking forward to seeing more!

  2. #
    Cathy — October 24, 2007 @ 4:24 am

    Dani – What a great video!! I am just learning how to cook and this knife demonstration will really help me in the kitchen…you make it look so easy.

  3. #
    Marcia — October 24, 2007 @ 5:48 am

    Dani, These are some great tips, I especially appreciate showing me how to sharpen my knife, I wasnt exactly sure how to do it properly, I look forward to seeing more instructionals!

  4. #
    Dani — October 24, 2007 @ 6:55 am

    Nicole – Thanks so much! As far as lighting goes, the only thing we changed was a setting that is on the camera (I have no idea what it is called) and this allowed us to remove the “yellow tint” that you are probably use to seeing in a lot of my older videos.

    Cathy – That’s great to hear, I hope you enjoy all of you’re time in the kitchen!

    Marcia – A honing steel technically re-aligns the blade, making the knife nice and sharp. I would recommend having your knife professionally sharpened once or twice a year (depending on how much you use them) as well.

  5. #
    jeanie — October 24, 2007 @ 7:34 am

    just what i wanted! i just missed a class in basic knife
    techs @ wm sonoma, so thnx, dani!
    comments from me, a theatre pro: too many hand gestures in the intro. middle delivery: excellent! content: please add more info on what each technique would be good for what result. it is only evident at the end when you show the 3 piles. (this is obvious only to the cook pro like you. for the id-yet like me, not so much.
    keep up the good work!

  6. #
    jaden — October 24, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

    I love that you are such a natural on camera! Rooting for you to get your own show, girlfriend!

    Would love to meet you when I come to L.A. in Dec.

  7. #
    Dani — October 25, 2007 @ 5:39 am

    Jeanie – Thanks for the tips…I do tend to talk with my hands a lot.

    Jayden – Thanks so much…I’ll just have to follow you’re lead;). I would love to meet you when you are here…dim sum here I come.

  8. #
    Happy Cook — October 25, 2007 @ 6:04 am

    Thankx for visiting my blog.
    Love the video about the knife. This year for my b’day one of the presents I got was a chef knife and I love them. I use them a lot.
    You are a natural presenter. Keep up and love your kitchen!

  9. #
    Dani — October 25, 2007 @ 6:39 am

    Happy Cook – Thanks for stopping by!

  10. #
    Roger — October 25, 2007 @ 8:04 am

    You are correct about the utility of the chef’s knife. Useful additions are the small paring knife, good for trimming small veggies, and the poultry knife, good for trimming meat and chicken of fat and bone, where the chef’s knife can be too big for twisting. As for positioning, I think finding one’s arm comfort is important; for example, on the “draw”, moving the knife toward the body is awkward, but easier to move the knife parallel to the body. Depending on the size of the piece, I find that a wrist flick works very well. One thing to add for safety: put a damp kitchen or paper towel under the cutting board to keep it from slipping and sliding, especially on a slick surface like granite or a corian like counter. It’ll also keep your chopped onions off the floor.

  11. #
    Dani — October 25, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

    Roger – Great tips…thanks!

  12. #
    Kacee — October 26, 2007 @ 6:28 am

    Hey Dani! Once again…Great video!!!!
    Thank you for all your helpful tips. Looking forward to your future videos. Keep up the great work! :)

  13. #
    Dani — October 26, 2007 @ 8:16 am

    Kacee – Thanks for the the support…I’m gonna keep the videos comin’!!

  14. #
    peace — October 31, 2007 @ 12:19 am

    Your videos rock!

  15. #
    Dani — October 31, 2007 @ 4:38 am

    Peace – thanks!

  16. #
    Julio — November 5, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

    Nice video Dani.

    Also, you are such a beautiful woman!

    Greetings from France ;)

  17. #
    Dani — November 5, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

    Julio – thanks for stopping by…So glad you like the video!!

  18. #
    Sandy — November 6, 2007 @ 11:20 pm

    Hi Dani.
    I loved watching this video too. So sorry for being slack in replying to your email, but time has been so short these last few weeks. I will be in touch shortly, and maybe we can organize a cyber-coffee date hahahaha!!

    In the meantime, I am making your shrimp (we call them prawns in Australia) tacos for our lunch guests on Saturday! I’ll let you know how they go down.


  19. #
    Dani — November 7, 2007 @ 3:54 pm

    Sandy – I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the video! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the tacos!!
    As for the “slackin”…don’t think twice!!

  20. #
    Warren McDonald — February 1, 2008 @ 11:34 pm

    Why don’t you go over the classic cuts like, THe Batonnet, Julienne and Fine Julienne. Those were some basic cuts we learned in CHef School

  21. #
    Dani — February 2, 2008 @ 9:25 am

    Warren – I decided not to include the classic cuts because as a home cook, I never use them. I’m more of a “chop-and-go”kinda girl:)

  22. #
    Rich — April 22, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

    What a fantastic video. You explained everything so simply and completely and you make it fun. The camera work and music were excellent, leaving nothing overlooked as far as the fine details are concerned. Keep up the great work. As Ar-r-onld said, “I’ll be back!”

  23. #
    Dani — April 23, 2008 @ 6:27 am

    Rich – Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  24. #
    Rachelle ~ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" — April 27, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

    I just came across your blog today looking for turkey burger recipes, and then stayed a little longer to watch your videos. Love the how tos, and your kitchen ;) I’ve added you to my google reader to keep up with you.

  25. #
    Dani — April 27, 2008 @ 7:28 pm

    Rachelle – Nice to “meet” you! …glad that you are enjoying the videos!!!

  26. #
    Angela — September 21, 2008 @ 11:46 am

    Dani, thank you for posting the How to – Knife Skills video! I am trying to get into the habit of using the techniques you’ve shown.

  27. #
    Jeannemarie "delicateblu" — January 14, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

    Dani, as always, I love your vids! You make cooking seem like so much fun. I appreciate the health tidbits you usually provide as well!

    Keep on sharing! JM

  28. #
    Jodie McGarvey — February 11, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

    Hi Dani, I am posting this comment from New Zealand. I stumbled across your web-site while hunting a certain recipe but found myself watching your how-to videos. Thank you very much for the knife handling tips, I will practice this week, but first I need to buy be a good knife! Also, Your demonstration videos and recipes are well presented and made simple to follow along and remember, much appreciated.

  29. #
    Janie — May 29, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

    Hi Dani, Thank you so much for this video. It’s helped me a lot! I’m looking for a good knife and I was wondering what brand your knife was. Thanks.

  30. #
    Dani — May 30, 2009 @ 5:06 am

    Angela – With a little practice, you’ll get it in no time!

    Jeannemarie & Jodie – Thank you!

    Janie – I know there are lots of goof brands out there, but I use Wusthof.

  31. #
    Kitchen Bachelor — October 7, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

    Great video Dani – I’ve shared it with my readers as well. It can be quite daunting for those who are venturing into the kitchen for the first time. I saw something similar by Alton Brown on TV – but found you instead!

  32. #
    Ren — July 10, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    My husband and I were just talking about how we need a good knife, but did not know what was best. This video answered our question! I love the simple cutting techniques too. THANKS!

  33. #
    Linda — September 13, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    As a high school foods teacher – I do not allow the students to handle a knife in the classroom until they have watched your video! Great length and perfect instruction.

  34. #
    taz — January 19, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Hi Dani,

    What brand of cutlery would you recommend?


  35. #
    cindy — January 20, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    Wonderful video – you did a great job explaining and demonstrating. Thanks for the info.

  36. #
    casey — March 29, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

    hey Dani, fantastic video. i’m going to share with my Kitchen Karate class. this is one of the 3 most important skills a home chef needs to have and you teach it better than we do in my class!

  37. #
    Liz — March 22, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

    Any suggestions on how to keep your knife sharp?

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