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Monday Mission: Sharpen up Your Knife Skills

Sharp knife skills

Do you or your kids know how to properly use a knife? Sharpen your knife skills with these free videos. Then let your kids help prepare some of these easy party foods the next time you’re hosting guests.

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to spend less time at the cutting board and more time with your family.

Too good to be true?


I impress my kids when I cut things because I look fast, but I don’t think I really know what I’m doing. I am pretty sure I hold the knife hilt wrong, too close to the blade, and I’m sure I should “organize” what I’m cutting in a more efficient way.

And I’ve been noticing lately that my fingers are a bit uncomfortable after chopping veggies for a while. Not good.

Other than some Food Network browsing years and years ago as I was nursing my first baby, I don’t have any formal knife training (or kitchen training for that matter! And it shows sometimes!). I’ve also had more, “Whoa, that was close!” experiences than I would like to admit in the last few months, with nicking my fingernail and saying a prayer of gratitude that dinner could go on instead of an ER visit.

Help kids learn to cook with sharp knife skills

I spend a LOT of time cutting things – vegetables, fruit, meat, fresh herbs – and I’d love to get faster at it.

Katie’s Cutting Adventures Through the Years

Back when I was first married and a mom, I got my hands on one of those Pampered Chef food choppers. It was a serious investment for our budget at the time (maybe $30?) and I may have even had my husband “give” it to me for Christmas after I purchased it just to rationalize that expenditure! (We were very tight with money on one income back then.)

Particularly as I began cooking more from scratch, I found, as I just mentioned, that I spent a lot of time standing at the cutting board (a cheap plastic flexible thing, ick!). When I started using the chopper, I totally fell in love with it! If you’ve been reading KS since 2009, you’ll notice a lot of shoutouts for that tool. I used it all. the. time.

But somehow, in the past 3-4 years or so, my total love affair with my chopper has turned into a total reliance on my chef’s knife, even though I’m not always sure it’s faster! In the long run in my kitchen now, the versatility of all the things I can cut with one knife with just a quick rinse in between is more important than speeding through an onion and a pepper and then having a 3-4 piece item to have to rinse and wash. My chef’s knife works hard all. day. long. And don’t tell anyone, but sometimes if we skip doing dishes one night, I just rinse it and grab it the next day because using any other knife just makes me sad.

Craftsy offers a FREE Complete Knife Skills class that I’ve been watching…especially after my own mother questioned the way I cut carrot sticks, and I do about 5 pounds of those every week…

My Knife Needs to Watch More TV

full 4742 154250 Sliceand Dicea Varietyof Vegetables

I’m not very good at watching videos online, but for something like knife skills, it just has to be visual. I can’t skim a blog post and learn this stuff, and I’m thinking my fingertips depend on it. (Plus, I’m teaching my children how to be safe in the kitchen, so I probably should know the right techniques to show them!)

My knife and I are going to get even more intimate (and busy) over the next week as I practice these new knife skills, which will radically change the way I do things at the ol’ cutting board.

I’ve enjoyed all of the lessons, specifically on cauliflower, tomato, bell peppers, butternut squash (‘tis the season!), and herbs. Oh, fresh herbs! The bane of my knife-cutting existence, to be sure.

Even in only a few videos, I’ve already learned the following from the knife lessons:

  • I was holding the knife closer to “correct” than I expected!
  • But I had no idea how to move a chef’s knife. I cut exactly like the “hey don’t do this, it’s not safe or efficient!” example. Drat. Time to go practice!
  • Move the knife, not the food! Really? Had no idea. And circles. I didn’t know about the chef’s knife and circles. Mind blown.
  • Knives are for slicing, not chopping. Again…mind blown.
  • Such a cool frugal tip on how to sharpen knives without a honing rod!!!
  • Guess who cuts the onion from the wrong side? So excited not to cry when doing more than one onion at a time, oh my…

Plus, the instructor tosses all his ends into a stockpot to make stock – a man after our own traditional foods hearts, right? 🙂 I don’t feed a whole restaurant every day (yet, ha!) so instead of an ever-going pot, I just put ends and such into a freezer bag so I’m always ready to make homemade stock “for free” whenever I make bone-in meat.

Sharpen up Your Knife Skills with these free videos. Spend less time at the cutting board and more time with your family.

Now that I’ve “graduated” from my own knife skills course, I created one for kids! Yes, even kids as young as two can learn to safely use knives. We now have six competent knife users in our house.


The holidays are a tough time for healthy eating, especially when kids really just want to bake fun foods!

(If they want to get into the kitchen at all!) 

Maybe…just this once…we should do something I don’t normally recommend. 

What if we give them what they want?

If you’re ready for your kids to gain baking independence without sacrificing all the healthy standards you value, join the Holiday Baking Challenge! Now on sale for just $19, you get professionally filmed videos of me and my kids teaching you to make baking favorites with healthier ingredients.

Holiday Baking Challenge

Your Mission

Think right now about what little things you might do wrong when it comes to cutting skills.

Think about what questions you might have.

Unless you actually look like a TV chef, there’s probably room for improvement, right? How much time do you spend in a day with a knife in your hand? (A question I can only get away with on a kitchen site!!!)

If you’re ready to get answers to those questions, improve your skills and decrease that amount of time, I’m so thrilled to share this free class with you:

Click to enroll in this free class at Craftsy, Complete Knife Skills

Click HERE to register for the Complete Knife Skills Class…

I thought about making sure this post had one really good tip that you could take with you, but you know what? Anything I could explain in text here would be so sub-par compared to what Brendan McDermott, the instructor for this course, will SHOW you in video…and since the class is free, the tips are too.

What questions do you have about knife skills? What is your LEAST favorite item to cut up for your family?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Craftsy. See my full disclosure statement here.

Need More Baby Steps?

Monday Missions Baby Steps Back to Basics

Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.

That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.

Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
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7 thoughts on “Monday Mission: Sharpen up Your Knife Skills”

  1. Hooray! I loved this class. It made me brave enough to sharpen my knife, so now I CAN slice correctly. It has made so many kitchen tasks go faster and easier. Working on making those skills habits now 🙂

    So glad so many bloggers are sharing about this class! It really is amazing and should be required watching for everyone who uses a knife 🙂

  2. Thank you!! I just enrolled, and I’m excited to learn some things!
    One thing I learned from my mom is how useful it is to have a good pair of kitchen shears. My favorite things to use scissors/shears for instead of a knife are herbs (put leaves in a small bowl, then snip snip snip with the tips of the scissors) and cutting up raw (boneless) meat. So much easier to snip off gristly bits and fat, and cut even cubes or thin strips.
    But maybe I’ll learn the *right* way to do these things with a knife, and won’t have to cheat with the scissors any more!

  3. I haven’t watched the videos yet, but my trick for squash is to bake it first. Poke it with the tip of the knife, so steam can escape. Ideally, I bake it for about 1/2 hour while the oven is getting hot. Then I cut it in half, scrape out the seeds while the flesh is still hard, tent with foil & finish baking. But you can also bake it thoroughly before cutting.

  4. I’ll have to see if I can find time to watch these videos; I’m sure my skills could improve. My mom is a very efficient slicer, but I didn’t learn finer points of her technique because I was such a cautious child (with some justification, because I was also clumsy) that I got into the habit of cutting very slowly.

    My least-favorite cutting is winter squash. They are just so hard, it’s difficult to get through them with anything like a cautious move. Usually I summon the man of the house to hack them with a cleaver.

    My 9-year-old cut himself between thumb and finger on Saturday. He was cutting an apple, wanted to trim out the core, and forgot that you should always cut away from your hand. 🙁

    1. ‘Becca,
      There’s a whole video just on squash! I haven’t gotten there yet, but it’s high on my list. At the very least, if you’re just slicing through to halve it to bake, I highly recommend putting it in the oven for 10 mins or so to soften. YOu can still get the raw seeds out if that’s your goal, peel it, cube it, anything, but it’s easier to manage.

      And poor boy, that wasn’t a fun experience at all!! 🙁


  5. Thanks for the heads up about this class, love Craftsy but I missed this one. Just thinking last week after trying to cut a tough squash that: A My knife needs to be sharpened B I really need to know how to do this better:/

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! What a great resource. I will be passing this on to my daughters.

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