Apprentice Chefs – Your Knives Are Your Responsibility



Learn How to Clean and Which Knives You’ll Need in Your Apprenticeship

What do you need to cut, chop, shred, peel and otherwise breakdown food into bits. Now if you are starting off your apprenticeship in hospitality read on…

Cleaning knives is your responsibility – What you should know:

  • Never leave knives in the sink, someone could cut their hand
  • Hot soapy water is best for cleaning knives. Don’t forget to clean the handle so it is not slippery and grease.
  • Keep the sharp blade facing away from your body and take care of your fingers.
  • Rinse with very hot water to sterilise.
  • Air dry or use a disposable paper towel.

Prevent cross contamination by washing and drying your knife after every use and immediately before a new task, so they don’t spread harmful bacteria. Clean your knife, sterilise your cutting board and wash your hands, especially between preparing raw materials and then changing to cooked ingredients.

Chef’s Knife – a chef’s knife is your kitchen BFF. These can range from $20 to $500. The choice is up to you and depends on your budget. Go to a reputable knife seller. They may let you try it out before you buy it. A chef’s knife should feel heavy in your hand but controllable. Chef’s knives can breakdown chicken, chop veggies and fruit, slice meat.

Bread Knife – bread knives are long, light-weight knives with a serrated edge. Once you use a bread knife to slice bread you’ll never to go back to any other method. It makes cutting down a baguette into crostini-sized slices a snap. I used to hate slicing bread before I discovered a sharpened bread knife – now it is a breeze. You can also use your bread knife for slicing tomatoes.

Paring knives – (often sold in sets – it is useful to have a few) – a paring knife is great for peeling and coring. I use my paring knife to slice garlic, score and cut mango, and hull strawberries.

Sharpening Steel – a sharp knife is the chef’s best tool and a joy to work with. If you are going to own decent knives you need a sharpening steel. I hold my steel upside down on my counter and hold the knife at a diagonal to steel and run it across. I try to do this each time I use my chef’s knife and paring knife. NEVER try to hone your bread knife using the steel. Take your knives to get sharpened once a year by a professional. It makes a big difference.

Kitchen Scissors – scissors are a great tool to have in the kitchen. I cut string, herbs, shallots, and I’ve seen them used to chop up tinned tomatoes in the can (much cleaner than putting hands in the can and pulling them apart).

Knife block/Covers for your knives – if you don’t have room for a knife block or you are carrying them to and from your job you will find a purpose made case or knife roll, best to cover and protect your knives. If you keep them in a drawer, blades can rub together and get blunt.

James Fitch runs food safety courses all around Australia for CFT. If you’re looking for food hygiene training, check out their website and get qualified today!

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