I Have A Confession: No Knife Skills

Just as soon as I’m finished typing this, I’m going to do the final test on a cole slaw recipe for Living Paleo For Dummies — and I’m somewhat appalled to admit that I have such sucky knife skills, I decided I needed some remedial help to prep the cabbage. I found this video, which I thought was pretty good — and has a completely mystifying, dorky ending that’s worth checking out,  just for the “what the F” factor.

While I was searching, I also found this helpful video which seemed slightly more pro and kind of Hell’s Kitchen-esque… which reminded me that I should also confess I have a terrible Hell’s Kitchen problem going on right now. We don’t have cable, so I’ve never watched the show in real time, but Hulu has ensnared me by offering every episode of Hell’s Kitchen since season one. I’ve caught up to season five, and I consume the episodes with the same fervor I used to apply to bags of Doritos.

The signature dish challenge that starts each season! The blindfolded taste test! The whining about the punishments! And I know I shouldn’t love it as I do, but I cannot get enough of Gordon Ramsay yelling so loudly his voice breaks like Bobby Brady singing “Time to Change.” In a recent episode he actually banged his head on the countertop in frustration; I rejoiced!

Just listen to the luscious voice crack at the end of this (well-deserved) tirade:

And woe to the fools who dare take food to the pass without tasting it first. I ask you: how does anyone cook anything without tasting it while they’re making it?!

The over-the-top drama is just all so delicious. There is a not a metaphorical spoon large enough to scoop up all of its awesomeness.

But, in conjunction with my own experiences in the kitchen, the show has made me painfully aware of my abysmal knife skills. I am the slowest, least consistent chopper and slicer ever. Ever. Sometimes I imagine what you good people would think if you saw me at my cutting board, and I actually blush at the thought.

And that’s why I’m pretty sure I’m going to take a Knife Skills 101 class at Whole Foods in a few weeks. I will learn the proper way to hold the knife, and I will practice like that scene in Julie & Julia when Julia Child demolishes a huge pile of onions. I will become a badass of knifery!

So…you think knife throwing is part of the class, too?!

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  • Keturah says:

    Ha I also confess to a love of hells kitchen! Have you checked out the f-word another great Ramsey show but on the other side of the pond. It’s on Netflix!

  • Meghann says:

    My husband is a chef and literally has to look away while I chop things because he’s so scared I’ll lose a finger. On the plus side, I’ve gotten really, really good at using my food processor and all it’s nifty attachments!

  • Brandon says:

    Awesome video. She cores it the same I do, so I didn’t learn much, but the WTF at the end was worth it. Plus, that lady just sucks you in like the big hair dude on PBS who painted trees (think he died). Pair those two in one video, and all the potheads in the world would never be seen again, as they wouldn’t be able to leave their tv room.

  • Dana says:

    I took the knife skills class a couple of years ago. I *promise* you will feel much better about your knife skills after the class! Not only will you start out at the head of the class (trust me!!!), but afterwards you will have such confidence that you’ll want to cut up everything in sight 🙂

    @the cabbage-coring lady in the first video: if you are going to quarter the cabbage anyway, why waste time with the awkward V-cut? Just quarter it, stand each quarter on end, and make an angled cut downward to excise the core-faster, easier, safer

  • Tom Denahm says:

    I took that knife skills class last year. It was a lot of fun and I… improved. I’m thinking of taking it again.

  • Emily says:

    I am pretty sure I have terrible knife skills too! I will have to look and see if my local Whole Foods does the class…I’ve gone to the free knife skills class that they have at Williams-Sonoma too but it is always great to get a refresher!

  • Mimi says:

    I have no knife skills either so I tend to buy the already shredded cabbage. I’ve seen the first video before but never saw the ending (short attn span). Funny stuff.

  • Lydia says:

    I think I love the cabbage-chopping ladies. What a pair of goofballs. <3

  • Lori says:

    Bahahaaa! The latest season just started up so we’ve been immersing ourselves in the dramafest that is Hell’s Kitchen here, too. We use a few Ramseyisms around the house, our favorites being (of course) “It’s RAAAWWW!” and “It looks like a dog’s dinner!”

  • Hollie says:

    I just took a knife skills class at a kitchen store near me called Mia Cucina. I already knew about 80% of the material through what I like to call “food network osmosis”, but I’ve been glad for the 20% improvement I gained though the class as I chop veggies daily. Have fun!

  • Hollie says:

    I just took a knife skills class at a kitchen store near me called Mia Cucina. I already knew about 80% of the material through what I like to call “food network osmosis”, but I’ve been glad for the 20% improvement I gained though the class as I chop veggies daily. Definitely worth it.
    Coleslaw tips:
    1) I just put the thin slicing disk in my food processor & stick cabbage wedges down the feed tube.
    2) make sure to salt the shredded cabbage & let it sit for a while, it improves the taste drastically, reducing both bitterness & extra water content.
    3) I like napa cabbage much better than standard green cabbage, it’s crispier, lighter, & sweeter in my experience.

  • Tara says:

    OMG, I have abysmal knife skills, too. I keep meaning to sign up for the knife skills class at my local Sur La Table (my Whole Foods is closer, but I’ve never heard of them offering a class like that). You’ve inspired me–I need to make time for that this summer so I can speed up my prep time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Wendy says:

    I thought I’d be smart and use my knife instead of the mandoline (guillotine) which always results in a lot of blood and jumping. Well, the tip of my thumb has finally healed. It didn’t hurt as much this time, I think I’ve sliced off all the nerves. Knife class at Whole Foods, you say? Still, the jumping is good exercise.

  • Stephanie says:

    Two things:

    1) Hells Kitchen/Gordon Ramsay = love. I thought I was the only one who can’t get enough of that show.

    2) That is such a great idea! You’ve inspired me to check out if my WF has a similar class 🙂 Thanks Mel!

  • Steph says:

    Oh. I’m supposed to cook my scallops in non-stick? That makes sense.

    (Don’t laugh…I tried to cook a batch for Valentine’s day in cast iron. They stuck like crazy. So sad.)

    My knife skills I taught myself by watching a whole lot of “Great Chefs of America” on PBS or whatever it was that showed it. I’m no pro, but I can dice up an onion pretty quick without losing any digits in the process. Even so, my husband and I have a policy: he doesn’t watch me chop, and everyone is happy.

  • Marcy says:

    I actually thought you must have good knife skills to get your cooking WOD done in 60 minutes.

    My sister and I are signed up for a knife skills class in July that we purchased in April – the class is so popular that’s as soon as we could get in!

    My husband worked as a prep cook in a French restaurant – he’s fast & safe but he only does one size. I joke he’s a chop-o-matic with one setting. He bought me a food processor for my birthday but I’m pretty sure he’s quicker as long as I don’t want a fine dice.

    I have several scars showing how safe *I* am with a knife, but I always reassure people that I’ve heard the hospitals are really good at re-attaching fingers.

  • Scott says:

    And GO…… Yes CHEF:)

  • Erin says:

    It took me years to get willing to even use knives…I have always felt so uncomfortable with them. I have been getting better and better, though. (That whole cutting-meat-for-paleo-recipes thing required it!) So much so that my amazing 16-year old son bought me “good” knives for Mother’s Day. They really do make things easier…

  • Tom says:

    I just wish she was holding a big cuke when she was talking about people being intimidated by big veggies. Absolutely hilarious!

  • Jacey says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you for that cabbage video. It cracked me up.

  • Suzy says:

    My mom always taught me to slam the cabbage, stem down, onto the counter. This way, the whole stem comes right out and you don’t have to cut around it. Try it (I’ll wait)!

    • Mel says:

      Oh! That’s a great idea. I do that with lettuce all the time, but never tried it with cabbage. Next time, for sure!

      • Suzy says:

        You have to really bash it good (maybe on the pavement), but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

        • Suzy says:

          You know, I tried it again and I think I was thinking of iceberg lettuce, too. Heh. Oh well. I hope I didn’t lead anyone astray for too long.