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Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen (with DVD) Hardcover – May 1, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen (with DVD) + The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques and Care + The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang; Har/DVD edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584796677
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584796671
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 10.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

For more than 20 years, Norman Weinstein, a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, has taught everyone from first-time cooks to professional chefs how to select and use knives. He has been profiled in Wine Spectator and the New York Times Magazine, and has appeared on the Food Network. The 2003 honoree of the New York Association of Culinary Professionals, Weinstein lives in New York City.

Mark Thomas is a NewYork–based photographer specializing in food, lifestyle, and travel photography. His work has appeared in Stewart Tabori and Chang’s Opera Lover’s Cookbook and Endangered Recipes, and he recently completed four books for Williams-Sonoma. Thomas’s work also appears regularly in Bon Appétit.






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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is a well written and easy to follow book, full of information.
EJF
This is a well balanced book, with beautiful photography and explanations for the cook who wants to truly begin to understand proper techniques of knife skills.
IdoruNYC
Bought this book as a gift to my dad, he absolutely is in love with the book.
juliasupa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 95 people found the following review helpful By D. Tsze on September 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is written from the perspective of someone who has only really started to cook beyond the means of frying eggs and microwaving whatever I could get my hands on over the past year, and realizing how important knife skills are in really becoming an effective cook.

For someone who is relatively new to the kitchen, and beginning to work more with an increasing variety of produce, this book is an excellent start.

For starters, the photographs are top notch. Not only are they in beautiful colour and spaciously laid out, but the appropriate (and necessary) steps are photographed, which is not always the case.

Even when describing multiple cutting techniques for one single product (e.g. onions, tomatoes), every technique is comfortably laid out over a series of pages, rather than rushed into a more cramped, difficult to read format over fewer pages.

The video is well produced, and although I wish I could have seen EVERY technique demonstrated, I understand why it would have been impossible to do so. Techniques I have found myself using frequently are the ones he demonstrates. The two I also found most useful are the video on fabricating chicken (no matter how many pictures I look at from a large number of different books, there is no substitute for seeing someone actually doing it), and carving a chicken (which is not described in his book).

As you can tell, if all of these techniques sound like "Mickey Mouse" endeavours to you, then this book is certainly NOT for you. But if the simple task of carving up a chicken and properly dicing an onion has always eluded you, then this book will not only teach you that in magnificent fashion, but so many other skills you didn't know you needed but definitely will.
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108 of 110 people found the following review helpful By HB on July 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Mastering Knife Skills" by chef Norman Weinstein is a marvel of a book - visually attractive, overflowing with facts both historical and culinary, the ultimate guide to the choosing of knives, their care and upkeep, and their optimal use.

This book fills a real gap in the field of cook-bookery. I, a serious amateur cook, have been cooking for over forty years now, and yet, in forty years of watching television cooking shows and reading cookbooks (of which I own some thirty), I have never before seen any teacher or TV chef relate - really relate in any serious and systematic, way - to this most important of all our cooking tools, at least not until the present illuminating book.

One could be forgiven for expecting such a book to offer mere dry factual knowledge on the subject, but in fact it is excitingly written and lavishly illustrated, and Weinstein's style has a flow and a sweep that pull the reader along from page to page, like a good detective novel, from slicing through dicing, to mincing to filleting to fabricating - yes, fabricating - a chicken. The accompanying DVD, furthermore, is graphic and extremely well presented.

I have seen Norman Weinstein in the classroom. He is an inspiring teacher, who wears his prodigious erudition lightly, and enlivens his classes with a quick and warm sense of humor. That same encyclopedic knowledge, sympathy and warmth come across in his book as well.

And one last note: following Weinstein's instructions I sat down for an hour with a sharpening stone and sharpened all my knives to an edge the like of which I have not ever gotten from the "professionals".

While this may not be the only cookbook you will ever want, it certainly is the only knife book you will ever need.

Harvey B.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By redkat on January 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I spent a fair amount of time deciding which knife book to get, but I'm very happy with my choice. The book is incredibly detailed and has many useful photos. I was a little off-put at first because the author completely poopoos using santuko knives for chopping most things. But after I tried his techniques using a chef's knife (longer than santukos) I agreed with his point. But regardless of what knife you choose the techniques are very useful and easy to follow. I especially liked how each vegetable is given it's own section and instructions. The section on knife selection was also very detailed and helpful. .
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68 of 80 people found the following review helpful By P. Raphaelson VINE VOICE on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This may be the best knife skills book on the market right now, but it's nowhere near as complete or as good as it might be.

What it gets right is basic, European knife cuts. Mr. Weinstein is a good teacher, and his descriptions and pictures are clear and well presented.

The section on buying knives, however, is outdated. A book written twenty years ago would have practically the same information, even though the world of knives available to Western cooks has expanded and evolved enormously since then. Mr. Weinstein mentions Japanese knives in passing, but doesn't give any sense that he's actually used them. This is unfortunate, since so many Western cooks have started using Japanese knives for much or all of their work. Much of the old information that Weinstein gives doesn't apply to these knives, and what little little he does say about them is questionable.

His section on sharpening isn't bad. He knows more about sharpening than most cooks, but unfortunately this isn't saying much. And sharpening is an area where a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I belive that any serious cook should know how to sharpen their knives, but they need to be given a solid background in the subject in order to avoid wrecking them. I'm not sure Weinstein's book gives quite enough.

The book does a good job teaching the most basic cutting techniques, but even here it seems a little dated. Since Weinstein's experience is with fairly old fashioned (not very sharp) knives, the techniqes he shows are built on the assumption that you'll be using similar knives as well. So even though he talks up the idea of using a relaxed grip, he demonstrates cutting with a much firmer grip than what you'd use with a sharp knife.
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