Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Knife Skills Class

Having had my share of kitchen knife accidents, I was psyched to have the opportunity to take Shuna Fish Lydon's Knife Skills Class this weekend.

Shuna, a pastry chef and the author of eggbeater, has a gift for teaching and knows her knives. It was a pleasure to hear her carefully crafted descriptions, suggestions, and explanations. Shuna is a person of rare precision and, thus, the perfect teacher for someone like me, who likes to wing it. My personal safety has increased enormously from taking this class, starting with the golden rule: when you're cutting, you're focus is only on the task of cutting.

Shuna covered an immense amount of ground in this 2-1/2 hour class: knife types and brands, elements to consider in your choice of knives, knife safety, cutting techniques, keeping your knives sharp and minimalizing opportunities for blunting them. I was a little stunned to realize how pathetically little consideration I had previously given to the subject of knives and cutting in general. Happily, the time to awake is always now.

If you'd asked me before the class if I'd ever bother to peel a grape, a red pepper, or a cherry tomato or supreme an orange, the answer would probably have been something along the lines of "Are you kidding?" But one of the bonuses of taking this class was tasting peeled red pepper and supremed orange and having one's socks knocked off with the incredible taste of these raw peel-less fruits and vegetables. I'd never have guessed there'd be such a change in taste. And then you get to supreme and peel your own and try out different knives and techniques in the hands-on portion of the class.

Shuna just posted her latest class schedule (Hmm... Pie & Galette Dough) with some out-of-state opportunites. I can't recommend her more highly as a teacher. An awesome experience.

Below, Shuna demos safe carrot cutting:


Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

Wow, Catherine, thank you ever so much. I'm grinning ear to ear! It was wonderful to have you in the class! Bloggers are the people who got me more seriously into teaching!

Hope to see you again soon!

7:57 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...


you are such a gifted teacher! as a humble home cook, I have so much to learn and I love your teaching style! looking forward to more of your classes!

10:02 PM  
Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Catherine, you are so lucky to have had the opportunity to take this wonderful class. Shuna, please come to Rhode Island -- knife skills is the most often requested class by people who come through my kitchen for group cooking.

3:08 AM  
Blogger bazu said...

I have fantasized about taking a knife skills class for a long time now. Your experience sounds fabulous- thanks for sharing. Wow.

9:31 AM  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Catherine, that's quite a rave. I'm very inspired.
And Shuna -- you rock.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Hey Catherine - my lil sis and I took a knifes class earlier this year. Wasn't it fantastic?! We've been peeling tomatoes and supremeing oranges and grapefruits ever since. who would have guessed I'd get so much incredible info when all I really wanted to know how to do was the right way to cut an onion!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

V-that was a popular question at Shuna's class too!

9:12 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

So believe it or not, your post from 2007 that you thought no one was paying attention to any more came up in a search on Google as I'm trying to find a knife skills class to take. Do you know if the person you took your class from is still actively teaching? Could you share the contact info or website?

Thanks so much!!

1:54 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi Amanda,

You can contact Shuna directly. Her website is



6:20 PM  

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