Once a month, we will be sharing tips and tricks from our curriculum that can be applied to cooking at home with your kids. Check out our previous post on cleanliness!
Try This At Home
Our ultimate goal is for students to be able to replicate the skills learned in class in their home environment. We start our students with small child-friendly knives that are sharp enough to cut a carrot, but not sharp enough to slice fingers. These “doggie knives” have the added bonus of being adorable. When young hands inevitably hold them upside down, they can be righted with the gentle prompt “doggie ears up!”
Even if your child is cutting with small safety knives, treat them as though they are sharp! Begin building fundamental skills at this level and your child will soon graduate to more effective tools.
Respect for (All) Tools
Knives are a privilege in our cooking classrooms. This is across ALL ages levels — whether they have a “child-safe” or “adult” chef knife. A RESPECT FOR (all) TOOLS is a must in the cooking classroom!
As anyone who works with kids will tell you, consistency is key. This is why in every class at any age, we repeat our knife safety mantras. Often these are met with protest. “I knowww how to use a knife!” “I do this at home!” “You told us last week!!”
Irregardless of whether there are new students in class or each individual has heard the instructions hundreds of times, knife safety is a theme we always return to. This is because we strongly believe that knife skills are life skills. A successful future of cooking for one’s self and one’s friends and family is going to involve chopping. Vegetables, that is.
Knife Skill Review
- Hold knives by the handle, keeping fingers away from the blade.
- Set knives down when not in use. Remember, they are TOOLS NOT TOYS.
- With your non-dominant hand, hold the thing you are chopping or slicing in place, with your
finger tips curled back. (“Bear claw” hand.) This is how professional chefs avoid knicking their fingertips.
- For young children, forming a “tunnel” with their non-dominant hand may be more intuitive. Monitor technique and make sure tiny fingertips are kept tucked away.
- Review proper and safe knife handling techniques every time you cook with your child!
- Utilize a “one strike knife” policy. (If you see a child using the knife in a dangerous manner they are corrected once. If it continues their privilege (the knife) is taken away.