Whether you’re a professional or amateur cook, knowing how to use a chefs knife properly will save you a lot of time and effort, and be safer too. When you have a lot of meats, fish, or vegetables to go through, it’s helpful to know how to wield and maneuver the knife effectively.
Most people are used to gripping a knife by the handle—that’s what the handle is there for, right? Professional chefs actually learn to use a chefs knife by gripping the top of the blade with the thumb and forefinger, and wrapping the other fingers around the bolster. The tightest part of your hand should be at the thumb and index finger; the rest of the hand gently curls around the handle. This grip may seem uncomfortable or awkward at first, but it offers the greatest control and maneuverability.
The guiding hand
You may have initially balked at gripping the knife partially by the blade, but the hand that’s actually at risk of being cut is the guiding hand, which holds the food steady. There are ways to avoid cutting yourself, luckily. Keep your fingers curled inward, like a claw, with only the fingernails gripping the food. The edge of the blade can rest against your first knuckle to keep the knife perpendicular to the cutting board, but your fingertips will be safely out of the way.
Cuts are almost unavoidable if you spend hours in the kitchen and if you work quickly. Just remember to always cut away from yourself, and don’t go too fast until you’re comfortable with the grip and the chopping motion. Never secure the food with an awkward hand position that puts your fingers at risk or requires you to cut sideways.
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