the appetizer:

Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques & Care by Jeffrey Elliot and James P. DeWan includes excerpts like Rondelles; Cutting Bacon Lardons; and Deveining Shrimp.



Zwilling J. A. Henckels
Complete Book of Knife Skills
The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques & Care

by Jeffrey Elliot and James P. DeWan


If you asked, most home cooks would agree that the one ingredient missing in their kitchens is basic knife skills. Most of us have a favorite knife we like to use but how much do we really know about it or how to use it properly? Now culinary experts, Jeffrey Elliot and James P. DeWan have combined their talents to create Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques & Care, the must-have cutlery reference book for everyone who loves to cook.

Knowing everyone learns skills differently, Elliot and DeWan, both experienced chefs and culinary teachers, incorporated a variety of useful tips to make Complete Book of Knife Skills easy to use and easy to understand. Each of their techniques and tips contain:

  • Concise and detailed written instructions
  • Step by step photographs
  • Directed Focus (graphics to help keep you on track)

Deciding what knife to use for a specific ingredient or technique can be confusing. For each technique and ingredient in the book, the authors recommend the knife or knives they feel most appropriate for the task.

Whether a novice in the kitchen or a master chef, Complete Book of Knife Skills provides valuable information about an essential kitchen tool we use every day. This book covers everything you could ever want to know about cutlery, from basic vegetable cuts to creative garnishes to boning meat and everything in-between. There is even a chapter that provides background information and photos on all the types of knives available, how they are used and how to care for them.

In addition, Complete Book of Knife Skills contains:

  • More than 1,200 color step-by-step photos clearly illustrating each technique
  • A concealed wire binding that lies flat, keeping a cook's fingers on the knife where they safely belong
  • Clearly labeled full-color illustrations throughout

Concise, detailed, and easy-to-understand instructions on how to:

  • Hold a knife
  • Basic cuts
  • The proper techniques for cutting poultry, fish, meats specific fruits and vegetables, and garnishes

Some examples of what readers will learn include:

  • How to set up your work station
  • Basic knife safety measures
  • How to hold a chef's knife
  • How to hold your guide hand
  • How to use a chef's knife
  • Other knife grips
  • Chiffonade
  • Rondelles
  • Cutting a chicken into eight pieces
  • Boning a leg of lamb
  • Scaling fish
  • Shucking oysters

Good knife skills allow home cooks to cut food uniformly. This is an important skill to master because food that is cut into same-size pieces will cook consistently. For example, you want to cook home fries (diced potatoes sautéed in hot fat with a little onion and garlic), and you cut your potatoes into a random collection of shapes and sizes, the small pieces will cook more quickly than the large ones. When the small pieces are done, the large pieces will be undercooked. Worse, by the time the larger pieces are done, the small ones will be burned. If you read Complete Book of Knife Skills and cut your potatoes into beautiful, nearly perfect 1/2-inch (12 mm) dice, not only will they cook together perfectly, but they'll look fantastic, too.

Another reason to cut ingredients into uniform sizes and shapes: presentation. There's a definite elegance to perfectly cut, perfectly sized ingredients that simply cannot be attained with rough cuts. When cooking at home making food look beautiful will certainly wow your guests and your family.

Practice makes perfect, especially with knife skills. The authors recommend readers practice the techniques outlined in the book as much as possible. Complete Book of Knife Skills is the go-to reference book for every kitchen.

About the Authors

Jeffrey Elliot is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has been a chef at Le Cirque and Le Bernardin in New York. He worked for Share Our Strength, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in North America, organizing Taste of the Nation events in 20 cities across the US and Canada. Since 2007, he has been the Director of Culinary Relations for Zwilling J. A. Henckels, Demeyere, and Staub, as well as the Executive Chef of Zwilling J. A. Henckels USA. Jeffrey is a regular on the Holland America cruise ship line as part of their celebrity chef program and is a regular instructor at DeGustibus in New York City.

James P. DeWan is a chef, culinary instructor and award-winning food writer. His Chicago Tribune column, Prep School, is now in its fifth year and he serves on the culinary faculty at Kendall College in Chicago. He lives in Chicago.

Zwilling J. A. Henckels, based in Solingen, Germany, was founded in 1731 and today is one of the world's leading manufacturers of premium cutlery, flatware, cookware, scissors and kitchen gadgets. With several brands and product lines, the company offers a tool for everyone, from the occasional home cook to the culinary master.

  • Complete Book of Knife Skills
  • The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques & Care
  • by Jeffrey Elliot and James P. DeWan
  • Robert Rose Inc. 2010
  • Spiral bound Hardcover; $34.95
  • ISBN-10: 0778802566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7788-0256-3
  • Information provided by the publisher.

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Complete Book of Knife Skills

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