Have you ever discovered something that just worked for you? Maybe you’d been looking for a solution to a problem, tried a thousand things, then all of a sudden something took you by surprise and resolved the issue? These types of fixes are often not revolutionary, which was definitely the case when it happened to me just the other day. 

Cooking has long been a chore for me, a kind of toll I’m forced to pay in order to eat, and therefore exist. The worst part about it has always been the prep. I’ve often daydreamed about throwing everything in a pot, packaging and all, and coming back later to feast (read here if this is you). Unfortunately, this isn’t always the most realistic solution when you’re hungry and can’t wait eight hours. More often than not, it’s necessary to at least minimally prepare the ingredients for any meal that doesn’t come microwave ready. 

While begrudgingly prepping dinner for myself a few weeks ago, I realized that a disproportionate amount of my time was spent cutting and chopping my vegetables and proteins. Even a blind person could listen in on the clunking sounds accompanied by frustrated grunts and realize that my knife skills had ample room for improvement. I remembered an interview I did a couple years ago with Fresh Harvest customers, Casey and Sara Geissen, who told me that a knife skills class was what launched their love for efficient cooking. 

“The techniques we learned were simple, but it opened our eyes as to what was possible in our own kitchen. Making food went from being a chore to a hobby,” Casey relayed. Armed with a new resolve to increase my skills while making cooking more enjoyable, I took his advice and signed up for a knife skills class at Sur la table. Through a quick web search I discovered that the cooking supply store also offers a wide range of classes at their Buckhead and Alpharetta locations. And Sur la table is only one of many options for home chefs looking to bone up on their skills in the metro Atlanta area (check here for more). 

For around fifty dollars, I enjoyed about two and a half hours of instructor led training in a kitchen with ten other students. The course, designed for home cooks, highlighted various knives and their uses in the kitchen. The bulk of the time, however, was spent learning and practicing the ins and outs of the most important cuts and the associated techniques leading to a safer and more efficient culinary experience. 

I left with a newfound desire to sharpen my knives and put what I’d learned to the test. But back in my own kitchen, it was obvious that the class is meant to be taken as a foundation of knowledge to be built upon through much practice. Like all things, practice makes perfect and perfect knife skills don’t magically appear after a three hour class. Nevertheless, I’ve already seen the budding fruits of this helpful class play out in my kitchen. 

Creating beautiful cuts in a carrot makes for a more enjoyable sensory experience, while efficiently chopping an onion yields a certain form of satisfaction that makes cooking incrementally more pleasurable. The amount of waste in my kitchen has also been decreased by improved cutting techniques, allowing for more precision and accuracy with every slice. Each of these skills will only build with intentionally spent time and practice. I can’t recommend a knife skills class enough. If you’re like me, you just might find that a new set of knife skills has the power to shift cooking, and even food prep, from a chore to an enjoyable and stimulating activity.