6 Basic Kitchen Skills We Wish Knew Years Ago

Sometimes the thing stopping us from making a homemade meal isn’t the cooking time, or the grocery shopping we’d have to do after work. It’s the prep. Chopping and dicing can turn a 20-minute recipe into a 60-minute ordeal. Knife skills are one of the first things you learn in cooking school (remember this scene from Julie & Julia ?), and with good reason: Having good knife skills are a real game changer in the kitchen, because it makes a super efficient, slicing, dicing, and chopping machine. And, it's much easier than you think. Once you’ve got these basic techniques down, you’ll be able to mince and matchstick with confidence. Plus, you’ll only need 1 or 2 knives (a chef's knife and a paring knife) in your kitchen arsenal to do it!

Level IV: The Chopping Trick For Perfectly Cooked Potatoes Every Time

Photography by Danny Kim; Food Styling by Lauren Gerrie.
Chopping a potato is easy, but I always end up with a bunch of different sized pieces, some of which end up cooking faster than others (or get charred into oblivion). Here's how to avoid those rogue crunchy bites of potato once and for all!

1. Cut your potato in half lengthwise, and set the flat sides down on the chopping board or working surface.

2. Slice both halves of the potatoes lengthwise and then flatten them out your surface.

3. Now chop them again, into french fry-like shapes.

4. Once that's done, separate them into two equal sized piles of sliced potatoes, and turn 90 degrees.

5. Now, chop the potatoes again straight down to make diced potatoes.

Look at you go! Now you're ready to core and slice up a tomato, professional chef-style.