6 Basic Kitchen Skills We Wish Knew Years Ago

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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 V: How To Dice A Tomato

Photography by Danny Kim; Food Styling by Lauren Gerrie.
To dice a tomato, you basically want to maneuver around the core and slice up all the meaty tomato goodness. Here's how:

1. Place your tomato on a chopping board with the root facing to the side. Slice off the root part and discard.

2. Flip over the tomato and cut off a little bit of the bottom end, so that you have a flat surface that will be stable. Discard the bottom.

3. Turn the tomato so it's resting on one of the flat surfaces you just cut.

4. Cut off all the yummy tomato "meat" around the core. You should be able to do this in five to six slices.

5. Slice those pieces in one direction, then the other direction.

BOOM! An expertly diced tomato. You're a pro! Now, you're ready for some serious French skills, like the Julienne.