Knife Skills

Lesson Topic:

Knife Skills

Lesson Description:

An introduction to different kinds of knives used the kitchen, appropriate & safe knife handling, & practicing of basic knife cuts.

Learning Goals/Outcomes:

Students will be able to identify the parts of a knife & explain how to properly care for it.

Students will be able to identify & demonstrate knife safety.

Students will be able to correctly hold & use a knife.

Students will be able to differentiate between & explain how to produce large, medium, & small dice, julienne, batonnet, brunoise, chiffonade, rondelle, & mince knife cuts.

Students will be able to produce large, medium, & small dice, julienne, batonnet, brunoise, chiffonade, rondelle, & mince knife cuts.

Nebraska Standards:

NE.HSE.HS.3.5.A: Identify types, use and care of knives.

NE.HSE.HS.3.17.A: Demonstrate ability to avoid safety hazards in the kitchen environment (i.e. knife safety, fire safety, and appliance safety).

NE.BMM.HS.1.8.A: Identify types, use and care of knives.

NE.BMM.HS.1.8.B: Identify and demonstrate different knife cuts (batonnet, julienne, brunoise, dice, chiffonade, diagonal, etc.).

Teacher Planning:

Equipment/Materials Needed:

Time Required for Lesson:

  • 300 minutes (6 class periods; can be shortened or extended as necessary)
  • Learning Basic Knife Cuts assignment & Knife Skills Origami project can be eliminated if there is not enough time.

Lab Set-up:

  • Labs need to be prepared for students to practice knife skills on potatoes & onions.

Technology Use:

    X     YES               _____NO

Instructional Plan:

Anticipatory Set/Pre-Activity:

  • Hold up a chef's knife & ask students if they can name the different parts of the knife.
  • Discuss their answers & the importance of knowing the proper name of the parts of the knife as well as the significance of safe & appropriate handling practices.

Benefits/Explanation/Career Readiness Standards:

  • 1. Applies appropriate academic and technical skills.
  • 8. Works productively in teams and demonstrates cultural competency.
  • 9. Utilizes technology.

Activities (i.e. instructions, lesson, lab or project):

Day 1

  • Show the Knife Skills videos from the American Culinary Federation, stopping & starting throughout the videos as necessary for students to complete the Knife Skills Video Notes worksheet.
  • Discuss & emphasize any important pieces of information that students need to know for equipment in the lab.

Day 2

  • Review the parts of the knife as well as important safe knife handling practices before moving forward.
  • Discuss the importance of uniform knife cuts in the kitchen & why its necessary to have good knife skills.
  • Show Knife Skills video #4 from 1:33 to 3:55. Pause & discuss various cuts as necessary.
  • Provide the Learning Basic Knife Cuts worksheet to students digitally (1 copy per student; Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, etc.) for them to complete in the remaining class time.
  • If students finish the assignment with time still remaining in class, they can begin cutting out the different cuts on the Origami Knife Cuts worksheet.

Day 3

  • Review the sizes/measurements of the various knife cuts students learned the day before.
  • Provide each student with a copy of the Knife Skills Origami worksheet & the Basic Knife Skills Template.
  • Students will need to cut out the origami pieces & tape them together. Students will only need to put together the knife cuts that are being covered, so there could be cuts from the worksheet that the students do not put together.
  • Once they have the needed knife cuts cut out & taped together, they can tape them in the appropriate box on the Basic Knife Skills Template worksheet.
  • Then have students write in the dimensions/descriptions for each of the knife cuts.
  • Students need to have this completed before the next class period.

Day 4

  • Review the various knife cuts & their sizes/measurements.
  • Show the Squaring Off a Potato video two times to students. Discuss each step with students & encourage them to ask questions/get clarification if they do not understand the process.
  • Point out how one cut can then be made into another cut e.g. batonnet to small dice, julienne to brunoise).
  • Demonstrate to students how to square off a potato & how to make a medium dice & large dice. Show students how they can use a small ruler/seam gauge to get the cuts to the proper measurement.
  • Have a piece of wax/parchment paper for each student to put on top of their Basic Knife Cuts Template.
  • Each student will need at least one, possibly two, potatoes to practice the medium & large dice
  • As students complete their cuts, they will need to place 3-5 samples on their template to be evaluated by the teacher.
  • Have a large storage container for students to place the ends/sides of the potatoes in; they will then be used to make mashed potatoes with. Be sure to fill the container with water before placing it in the refrigerator.
  • After their practice cuts have been evaluated, the students can place the cuts into separate storage containers. Have one for large dice & another for medium dice; be sure to fill the containers with water before placing them in the refrigerator. Keeping the same sizes together will make it easier for students to make fried potatoes later on.

Day 5

  • Review the process for squaring off a potato & the sizes of a julienne, batonnet, small dice, & brunoise.
  • Demonstrate the process again for students, making sure to point out the major size difference between these cuts & the ones that they completed the previous day.
  • Students will need to get out their Basic Knife Cuts Template & will need another sheet of wax/parchment paper.
  • The cuts that students practice today can all go into the same storage container & will be used to make mashed potatoes. The ends/sides of the potatoes can be put in this same container or into the container of ends/sides from the previous day.
  • The same process as the previous day will be completed as students practice the julienne, batonnet, small dice, & brunoise cuts. Students will complete the cuts, place them on the template, they will be evaluated, & then they can be placed in a storage container.
  • Each group will need a copy of the Mashed Potatoes & Fried Potatoes recipes. As time allows, they can read through & annotate the recipes in preparation for the lab the next day.

Day 6

  • Students will work within a lab group to prepare the mashed potatoes & fried potatoes recipes.
  • Make any announcements, accommodations, or special set-ups as necessary for students in the lab.


  • Review the importance of  having good knife skills in the kitchen.
  • Discuss the connection between the skills learned & how they will be applied throughout the rest of the course & further courses.

Assessment :

Evaluating the six different knife cuts that the students produce will serve as a formative assessment. The summative assessment will come in future labs as students continue to grow & develop their knife skills throughout the course.

A more formal summative assessment could be added, in the form of another cooking lab, after these lessons are taught or after additional knife skills are learned.

Supplemental Information:


  • There are a variety of modifications or accomodations that could be made with this lesson for different student, classroom, or equipment situations that might arise.

Safety Precautions:

  • Students will be using sharp knives, so ensuring that they have a firm grasp on knife safety procedures & handling is vital for this lesson.

Comments (adaptations for various grades/ages, teaching styles, etc.):

  • Basic knife cuts covered/taught can be altered to fit desired outcomes.

Download: Knife_Skills_Notes.pdf

Download: Learning_Basic_Knife_Cuts.pdf

Download: Origami_Knife_Cuts.pdf

Download: Basic_Knife_Cuts_Template.pdf

Download: Mashed_Potatoes__Hashbrowns.pdf

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