Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mad Knife Skillz

For the most part, I think of myself as having relatively decent knife skills. I can finely dice a onion without much effort, debone a chicken, julienne a potato, cut a carrot into a brunoise, etc. - not half bad for an amateur chef like me.

Well, despite what I think of my knife-wielding skills, I got taken to school this past weekend. My mom, who's in town visiting, wanted to make some low bock gow or turnip cakes for Karen and me. Most recipes for low bock gow call for grating the daikon radish that goes into the cake. However, my mom prefers to cut the radish instead so that it does not get too wet and soggy while it's being cooked.

Watching my mom slice the daikon into a fine julienne was most impressive. Each cut was very clean and precise, and all of the strips were nearly uniform in thickness. While I'm pretty sure that I could duplicate the end product, I seriously doubt that I could do it with the same blinding speed in which she took apart the radish. As Karen can attest, my mom was wickedly fast, even though she was just using a cheap cleaver and not my fancy Shun santoku. While she isn't as crazy fast as Hung from Top Chef 3, she was definitely impressive for a non-professional chef.

I guess that I'll need to go to Costco and buy a bag of potatoes on which to hone my skills. Maybe one day, I'll be as fast as my mom with the knife. At least I should have the right genes.


Nick said...

I bet the cakes were yummy!

Your post reminded me of this article I read a while back.

Interesting that many professionals use $10 chef's knives from the restaurant supply store...

LP said...

Thanks for your comment! I have to tell you, I thought my knife skills were pretty good too...until I got a new knife last weekend and proceeded to cut myself twice. I think I need some practice too.

Loren said...

Nick: Yeah, there appears to be a debate between those who use those expensive, fancy-schmancy, forged knives and those who prefer the more affordable stamped ones. I have both types; the last knife that I bought was a cheap Fibrox boning knife. In fact, I think that it doesn't make sense to have a forged boning knife because you might want the flexibility of a stamped blade.

LP: For me, it's really about practicing for speed. I only recall cutting myself once in the past few years. It happened when I was using the aforementioned boning knife. For some reason, I lost my mind and thought that it would be an okay idea to clean off the blade of the knife with my thumb. Total stupidity on my part.