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Bonnie Moore Question:

What's the proper way to use the sharpener that came with my professional knives?
— Anne, VA

  
 Bonnie Moore

Answer:

It is very important to keep knives sharp. A dull knife can actually be more dangerous than a sharp one. Most likely the "sharpener" that came with your knife set is actually a steel. A steel is used to hone the edges of your knives and keep them sharp.

Using a steel:

  1. Place the heel — the part closest to the handle — of the knife blade (facing away from you!) against the heel of the steel at a 20-degree angle.
  2. Draw the length of the blade across the length of the steel, maintaining the 20-degree angle.
  3. Repeat this several times, alternating between each side of the blade.

Tips to keep knives sharp:

  • Wash and dry your knives by hand after each use.
  • Never wash knives in the dishwasher — heat and chemicals can damage to the blade.
  • To protect the fine edges, only use knives only on cutting boards and never on glass, marble or metal.
  • Use the steel every time you use your knife. If you are doing a lot of chopping, use the steel after each 15 minute segment of knife work.

About Bonnie Moore

Bonnie Moore, FoodFit's Executive Chef, graduated from Boston University with a bachelor's degree in Math and Statistics before forsaking her calculator for a whisk. Bonnie earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University and a degree in pastry arts from L'Academie de Cuisine. She is the former sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, the only double five-star, five-diamond inn in the United States, and a former chef-instructor in the professional program at L'Academie de Cuisine in Maryland. Bonnie likes to be involved with food at every stage; from planting seeds at the farm to creating a meal for her family. She believes that there is no better place to foster community and nourish those you love than around a table piled with delicious food.


Photograph of Bonnie Moore: © 2000 Adam Auel

 

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