The Chinese cleaver is not only an over-used prop in most Chinese gangster films, but also an essential tool in every Chinese kitchen. Yes, they do look a bit daunting, but when used correctly you'll wonder why you've never used one before! Chinese cooks tend not to use tons of different sized knives (paring knives, carving knives, chef's knives, etc). As Jeremy (the Head Chef at SOW) says, "it's the sheer size of it which makes the Chinese cleaver such a versatile tool". Used to chop, smash, slice, tenderise and scoop up all your ingredients, nothing beats a cleaver as an all-purpose utensil - every part of the knife (even the handle) is put to use.
However, like Western knives, there are still hundreds of types of Chinese cleaver, all varying in weight. While most of the more standard ones are categorised as being mainly for meat or veg, others are used exclusively for chopping through bones or carving ducks and chickens. There are even dim sum cleavers which are used to flatten out dumpling pastry.
So for someone that's new to cleavers and not quite sure where to start, it can be a bit intimidating. That's why School of Wok has proudly launched ‘CHOP AND WOK' cookery lessons which have already begun at the school, giving foodies of all levels the skills and the know-how they need to be able to use a blade both safely and with confidence.
We will teach you the very basics of knife skills, working with standard chef's knives first, before moving on to formidable cleaver! What's more, you'll be able to test out your newfound skills, making a range of Chinese and South-East Asian dishes, all within three hours.
The classes are tailored for beginners, though we will be offering some intermediate and advance lessons in the future, focused on fine-tuning your skills with an array of cleavers.
To find out more about these and a host of other classes, visit our calendar to see what's on and when.