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In the mean time...

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm beginning culinary school next semester, but I don't want to waste time, so could someone supply me with some exercises/ things I should practice that would help me refine my knife skills/ other cooking techniques.


post #2 of 4

You could practice with some of the stuff at http://www.stellaculinary.com/how-to-cook-video-index


There's also rouxbe.com who offer trial memberships where you could pick up on all sorts of techniques including knife skills.


Best of luck, this is an exciting time for you! Learn a lot and enjoy the process! smile.gif

post #3 of 4
LEARN TO SHARPEN. Learn to whine, sneer, cry or whatever whenever you touch a dull knife. Practice making your grip very soft. A dull knife means a bad grip. Practice the claw; make sure you keep your thumb and pinkie tucked in... every time. Buy bags of potatoes. Learn and practice the basic skills of planking, sticks and dice. Learn and practice the basic sizes. Learn to love mashed potatoes. Buy onions. If chopping onions makes you cry, your knife is dull.

Learn to prep your ingredients ahead of time and learn to put them on the counter as mise. Make wiping your board frequently a habit. Making cleaning your board and around it frequently a habit.

Invest in a 5# bag of rice. Go outside, put a handful of rice in a 10" skillet, wrap the handle in a towel, and practice toss turning until your arm's ready to fall off. Sweep off the driveway. Do it several times a day until you never make a mess and the idea of using a spoon or spatula feels stupid. Go inside and do it with chopped onions over heat.

Get yourself an 8" cast-iron skillet, season it, and learn to flip fried eggs.

Get yourself a "balloon whisk" and whisk egg whites, at least six at a time, to stiff peaks several times a week. Learn to see the difference between very shiny, shiny, and matte (aka "dull"), learn what it means when your beaten whites cling to an upside down bowl. But it's not about the egg whites, it's about being able to whisk fast and strong with either hand for a long time.

Learn to make potato souffle.

Cook lots of steaks and hamburgers and develop the habit of "touch testing" every time before you turn and before you remove from the pan or grill. At this stage of the game just developing the habit is more important than learning the rules of interpreting the different feels.

Develop the habit -- as a habit -- of timing meat so that it has sufficient time to rest before carving.

Teach yourself to always season when you start cooking -- unless there's a specific reason not to. Develop the habit of tasting before serving, and deciding whether you need to "adjust" with more seasoning. Again, the habit is more important the levels. FYI, professional cooking is usually saltier than mom's and pros use more butter too.

Always wipe the edges of your plates clean before serving. Again, habit habit habit.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

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