Kitchen Knife Skills: Techniques for Carving, Boning, Slicing, Chopping, Dicing, Mincing, Filleting


A step-by-step guide for the home cook on how to choose and use knives.

Good knife skills can be the most important ingredient in preparing a dish. Mastering professional knife skills makes a cook not only faster but safer as well. Kitchen Knife Skills shows the home cook how to choose and care for knives, how to keep them sharp and how to make the best use of their most important features.

This comprehensive guide details the standard ...

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A step-by-step guide for the home cook on how to choose and use knives.

Good knife skills can be the most important ingredient in preparing a dish. Mastering professional knife skills makes a cook not only faster but safer as well. Kitchen Knife Skills shows the home cook how to choose and care for knives, how to keep them sharp and how to make the best use of their most important features.

This comprehensive guide details the standard professional techniques used by chefs the world over, allowing the home cook to work just like the professionals — quickly, effectively and stylishly. Detailed, step-by-step photos and instructions show how to prepare anything in the kitchen, including:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Herbs
  • Poultry and meat
  • Fish
  • Bread and cakes.

From filleting a fish to fanning a piece of fruit, every knife and knife skill is described in detail in this outstanding resource book. Using this guide, anyone can cook like a professional chef.

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Editorial Reviews

North Shore News - Terry Peters
The right tool for the job is an expression perfectly suited to kitchen knives. The process of food preparation is crucial to the final presentation. If you end up with bruised fruit and crushed vegetables after using brute force to chop your ingredients, a lesson on what knife to choose will be a huge help to your culinary skills. Included are instructions on proper handling, sharpening, and basic cutting techniques. An extensive glossary of knives and their applications is included. Colour photographs and detailed instructions are provided for a huge variety of food types. Vegetables, fish and seafood, bread, pastries and cake all have their own section. Learning how to choose the correct knife and properly cut your food items will greatly enhance your proficiency in the kitchen and the final presentation of your creations.
Virginian Pilot - Lorraine Eaton
The other night I stood in my kitchen contemplating a head of cauliflower. I knew I could cut it but could I cut it correctly. For the answer I turned to Kitchen Knife Skills a slim new volume by butcher's daughter and chef Marianne Lumb. The 176 pages cover every conceivable angle on kitchen knives.
Christian Science Monitor - Melanie Stetson Freeman
With the season of family feasting around the corner, Kitchen Knife Skills might be just the guide for tackling those mountains of vegetables, tricky roasts, and endless fruit salads. The step-by-step illustrations will help you refine your technique even if you're not planning on sculpting swans out of your crudites.
Foodepedia - Nick Harman
A remarkably informative and useful book for any home cook.
Library Journal
Knife skills are core to formal culinary training, and students spend a great deal of time learning and practicing the proper use and care of knives. Chef Lumb has compiled a useful and visually appealing work that adds to the growing number of titles on this most basic chef skill. In the first part, she covers topics such as safe practices, knife anatomy, caring for knives, and an introduction to core cutting methods. In the second section, she addresses cutting methods for a variety of foods, organized by food type, like fruit, meat and poultry, and even pastries. Each section begins with a useful introduction and includes step-by-step instructions. VERDICT Overall, this is a well-organized, easy-to-use, and nicely illustrated reference that will prove helpful for any aspiring cook. One caveat: it is written for the right-handed cook; lefties may want to try Peter Hertzmann's Knife Skills Illustrated.—Lisa A. Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554074877
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/17/2009
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 584,118
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Marianne Lumb is a chef with an internationally acclaimed career that spans 10 years. She has worked as a development chef for major retailers and is a food consultant for Which? Gardening magazine. She runs a business specializing in bespoke dinner parties in London, England, and regularly cooks at Hillsborough Castle, Northern Island, for the head of state.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Safe working practices
Anatomy of a knife
Types of knives
Other cutting implements
Cutting boards
Sharpening knives
Ten rules for sharpening knives
Core cutting methods

Vegetables and herbs

  • Vegetable and herb knives
  • Onions
  • Spring onions and leek
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Common brassicas
  • Celery and fennel
  • Zucchini
  • Squashes
  • Cucumber
  • Swede, celeriac and turnip
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers and chilies
  • Eggplant
  • Turning vegetables
  • Mushrooms
  • Ginger
  • Beans: runner and French
  • Artichoke
  • Herbs


  • Fruit knives
  • Avocado
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons and limes
  • Orange and grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Stoned fruits

Meat and Poultry

  • Meat and poultry knives
  • Chicken, turkey and duck
  • Beef and veal
  • Lamb
  • Pork

Fish and seafood

  • Fish and seafood knives
  • Flatfish
  • Roundfish
  • Salmon
  • Monkfish
  • Tuna
  • Oysters
  • Scallop
  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Squid

Bread, pastries and cake

  • Bread, pastries and cake knives
  • Bread
  • Pastries and cake


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I grew up watching my father sharpening his knives. He was a butcher and I remember standing in the butcher's shop absolutely transfixed at the sight of him sharpening them very quickly. Training as a chef in the heat of the kitchen, my passion for knives and their potential developed rapidly, and in this book I share the skills I have learned.

So what makes good knife skills? Practice, dedication and learning from experts. For me, the most enjoyable part of cooking is the actual cooking action itself — the shaking of the pan, the flambé, the alchemy. But preparation is key, and at the heart of preparation and beautiful results are sharp knives and well-executed knife skills. This book encourages the development of knife skills, and will prove a useful guide to mastering a professional finish at home.

Marianne Lumb

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    It's about food prep skills, not knives.

    The author does a very good job of explaining or showing the techniques required for performing nearly all things "kitchen knife" for many foods. The illustrations are quite good although intuitive and common sense. The best section is on fileting and cutting fish other seafood, which you will not find a better writeup on, anywhere. It also has a few, although not many, good safety tips and definitions. But if you are still trying to figure out how to debone poultry to make a turduckhen, sorry, it's not there.
    Unfortunately, there is very little in the book on selection of a proper knife for personal purchase and use, nothing on the choice of stainless vs. carbon steel, or the latest Japanese laminated steels, quality of steel, using a strop, plastic knives for cutting leafy greens, knife weight, balance, grip, and proportion, length and thickness. Likewise, there is very little, and few illustrations, on sharpening technique. Which, unfortunately for it's absence, would have made this book much better by leaps and bounds, had it been expanded upon in more depth.
    It also completely ignores electric carving knives for cooked meats.
    Surprisingly, this book missed the opportunity to make itself entertaining by covering other useful "blades" like the Inuit Ulu knife, the Masai machete, or hunting and skinning knives. As a hunter, the art of "cleaning" game and butchering it for packaging is practical and useful to many besides myself. There is also some judgement involved on where to cut with cleavers and when to use a meat saw. The book does not go there at all.
    If you are expecting to learn how to make little radish rosettes and carrot curl garnishes, it's not there either.
    It you hope to walk away with the ability to dice celery as fast as Rachel Ray, sorry, that only comes with practice.
    Glossy photos, some good techniques, but NOT a good all-round culinary knife book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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