Essential knife skills

The first step in becoming a confident home cook is to master your knife skills. With each destination we travel to you will have to slice and dice like a pro to create dishes ready to be served at any restaurant around the world.

Slicing and dicing onions

No matter where you travel, onions are an essential aromatic used throughout various global cuisines, used in everything from salads to stocks for a punch of flavour and acidity. The two different cuts Charlie Carrington will teach you in this instructional video have two very different purposes for your cooking. Diced onions are perfect for sauces and marinades, as the even and consistent shape of the cubes means that they cook down at the same rate. On the other hand, sliced onions are used salads and stir-fries as the extra surface area allows them to be coated in more flavour from dressings and pastes. Bonus Atlas Hack: use the left-over cuttings and skin for stocks and broths!


Preparing avocados

We love avocados in the Atlas kitchen. Sure, anyone can smash some on toast, but you can splice it into perfectly even pieces ready to serve on your favourite Hawaiian poké bowl? The trick is to cut the avocado in half, (carefully!) remove the seed with your knife and remove the skin with your fingers. Make sure it’s ripe, or this step will be very tricky. Then carefully cut down evenly, using your finger as a guide. Your knife should be on a slight downward angle as you cut, for a nice and smooth slicing motion.

De-seeding a cucumber

In salads, you want your cucumber to be crisp and crunchy. Chef Charlie teaches you two ways to remove the seeds from cucumbers so that you can stop them getting soft and mushy in your dishes. Slice them into salads or finely chop into your tzatziki next time you go on a culinary adventure to Greece. No need to worry about waste, the seeds are a tasty addition to green juices!

 

Julienne a carrot
It sounds fancy and maybe a little intimidating but learning how to julienne a carrot is easier than you think and your ticket to making any dish look restaurant ready! Master this technique and you will be rewarded with perfect matchstick-sized pieces which can be used in a mix of stir-fries, salads and sautés. This technique can be broken down into three simple steps:
  1. Trim and cut the carrot into manageable chunks. The size of your carrot and how big you want your matchsticks to be will determine how many times you want to cut. Strictly speaking the perfect julienne should be 1.5cm long (but we’re not measuring!).
  2. Cut off the end piece of the carrot and then continue to slice even planks, roughly 5mm thick. As long as they’re even, the exact thickness doesn’t matter too much.
  3. Stack the planks, about 3 high so it’s nice and manageable. Again, trim off the ends and then continue to cut lengthways along the carrot, using your finger as a guide, to create matchsticks about 5mm wide. And voila, the perfect julienne carrot to show off in your next culinary masterpiece. 

 

Dice a capsicum
Capsicums can tend to look a little rough and ready when chopped through dishes. Their irregular shape makes it tricky to create a uniform cube shape. In this video Charlie Carrington will teach you the trick to getting a perfect, even cube from your capsicum which any fine dining restaurant would be happy to put in their dishes. Firstly, cut around the capsicum to get nice little squares which are easy to work with. Lay them down flat, with the flesh facing up then run the knife along the inside to remove some of the capsicum’s pith (you can keep this to add some sweetness to your veggie stock). You now have a nice flat piece of skin which is very easy to work with to cut into matchsticks and cubes.
Cutting spring onion on the diagonal
When properly presented, spring onions are a beautifully delicate addition to a dish. Whether they’re tossed through a salad or simply serve on top of silken tofu, they provide an acidic crunch and distinctive freshness to brighten the dish. Charlie Carrington teaches you the tricks to getting a perfect diagonal cut on your spring onion so that they’re restaurant ready. Briefly soak them in water after cutting so achieve a nice curly spring onion without any of the sliminess they can sometime have.
 
Removing the core from a tomato
So much can be done to a tomato. Slices, dices, wedges, anything! To be able to do any of these cuts really well, you first have to learn how to remove the core, which will make all of the proceeding steps much easier and cleaner. After you’ve done this, slice and dice away!