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Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen (with DVD) [Hardcover]

By Norman Weinstein & Mark Thomas (Photographer)
Our Price $ 34.00  
Retail Value $ 40.00  
You Save $ 6.00  (15%)  
Item Number 447258  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 9.75" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   3.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 1, 2008
Publisher   Stewart, Tabori & Chang
ISBN  1584796677  
EAN  9781584796671  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
As the number of gourmet home kitchens burgeons, so does the number of home cooks who want to become proficient users of the professional-caliber equipment they own. And of all kitchen skills, perhaps the most critical are those involving the proper use of knives.

Norman Weinstein has been teaching his knife skills workshop at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education for more than a decade—and his classes always sell out. That's because Weinstein focuses so squarely on the needs of the nonprofessional cook, providing basic instruction in knife techniques that maximize efficiency while placing the least possible stress on the user's arm. Now, Mastering Knife Skills brings Weinstein's well-honed knowledge to home cooks everywhere.

Whether you want to dice an onion with the speed and dexterity of a TV chef, carve a roast like an expert, bone a chicken quickly and neatly, or just learn how to hold a knife in the right way, Mastering Knife Skills will be your go-to manual. Each cutting, slicing, and chopping method is thoroughly explained—and illustrated with clear, step-by-step photographs. Extras include information on knife construction, knife makers and types, knife maintenance and safety, and cutting boards, as well as a 30-minute instructional DVD featuring Weinstein's most important techniques.

Buy Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen (with DVD) by Norman Weinstein & Mark Thomas from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781584796671 & 1584796677

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More About Norman Weinstein & Mark Thomas

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

Norman Weinstein was born in 1927.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent for Starting Out and NOT Out-of-Date  Oct 30, 2008
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.

I have taken classes with the author and he is a wonderful teacher and his explanations made me comfortable with even the heaviest of chefs knives (of which I was previously always fearful of losing a finger to) and the book is a great expansion and expansion of this.
(If you are in or around NYC, check out ICE for one of his classes - but do it early, as they sell out months in advance.)

As to the criticism that it is "one-sided" or "out of date" this is not the case - he purposely only focuses on "Western" or continental techniques in this book. (This is also true in his classes - he does a separate series on Chinese and Japanese cooking and techniques) For most Americans, these techniques are all you really need. More "Eastern" techniques are mostly elaborations on this with more specialized knives - but honestly, if you can do it with a 10 inch chef's knife, who cares about getting the "newest" style of knife? 3 or 4 high quality knives will serve you just as well as a host of specialized knives and you don't have to replace them or learn new techniques every time something new and exciting comes on the market.

This book will give you a quality basis for teaching yourself excellent knife skills.
Good skills basics, but surprisingly one-sided  Oct 15, 2008
I would like to second a comment made by a previous reviewer regarding this book's datedness. I also found that Weinstein was surprisingly one-sided in his discussion of the world of knives. He has clearly been using the standard French and German classics for a very long time, and he treats Japanese knives like they were some sort of afterthought. He also exaggerates, I think, the special features of these knives, giving the impression that one must develop a whole new set of skills to use them. Is that true? I suppose I don't have enough experience to know, but that's certainly not how I've heard this described in the many other sources I've consulted. This is certainly a fine and very useful book, but I wish I had taken a closer look at it before I bought it; I would have preferred something a little less hidebound.
Useful, but uneven and a bit dated  Oct 1, 2008
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. And he demonstrates making certain cuts in multiple sawing strokes, where a sharp knife would cut in a single pass. This is all fairly primitive compared with what the best cooks are doing when they have a good knife in their hands. In the end, he's teaching you to be less efficient and to produce lower quality results than what's possible. Which is a shame.

Mr. Weinstein is an excellent how-to book author. I'd like to see a new edition of this book written after he gets some eductation in updated techniques. And I'd like to see him sharing the load with some other experts. For example, he could write on the basic Euro techniques, and have guests write on Japanese cutting and butchering techniques, on knife selection, and on sharpening. This would result in a truly great book.

The enclosed DVD is pretty good, especially on the more complex tasks like fabricating and carving poultry. These skills are pretty hard to learn just from pictures. Unfortunately, Weinstein's cutting skills seem surprisingly sloppy, especially considering he's been teaching for so long. I'm not as big a stickler as some people for perfectly consistent cuts, but I'd think a knife skills teacher would be!
Great Book  Sep 11, 2008
Through, comprehensive and entertaining. I bought it for a gift and liked it so much I bought one for myself.
Extremely well illustrated, comfortable pace and layout, great for beginners  Sep 7, 2008
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.

I compared this book to two others, but picked this one for the following reasons:
- Knife Skills Illustrated: A User's Manual (Hertzmann) - I just enjoyed the photographs and simpler, more concise and comfortable layout better in Weinstein's book.

- Knife Skills: In the Kitchen (Trotter) - lots of big names attached to this book, the pictures are stellar, and the smaller size of the book actually was more appealing to me, as the Weinstein book is a bit on the large side, especially once you open it up and want to lay it down on the kitchen counter as you work. However, Weinstein is a professional instructor, and I found that his ability to teach (which is what you want out of this book, not the ability to concoct earth shattering recipes - which this leads to, hopefully!) really shines.

Plus, the Trotter book did not break down each product into its own section in as much detail, and the smaller format, although appearing easier to handle, did not allow for the more spacious, comfortable, and easier to read layout (especially when you have it on the table while you are working!) that the Weinstein book afforded.

Content wise, both are comparable. Both have a few techniques which the other does not cover, but Weinstein does a better job teaching the ESSENTIAL techniques which you know you will absolutely be using on a regular basis.

Write your own review about Mastering Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Tools in Your Kitchen (with DVD)

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