How to Hold a Chef Knife
Holding a chef knife properly is an essential skill in the kitchen. Unfortunately, most people will tell you to hold it in your hand with your palm facing up and your index finger curled around the handle. Not only is this incorrect, but it’s also dangerous and can lead to traumatic injuries and accidents.
When you learn the correct way, you might be surprised at how fast, and easy chop vegetables are. However, most people don’t know this and continue to chop vegetables the old-fashioned way. It’s not so bad, but there are risks associated with chopping too much over time. Prevention is better than a cure, so here is a breakdown of proper knife-holding techniques that will help prevent repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Why Does It Matter How You Hold Your Knife?
When cooking, it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional chef or cooking for your family. The tools you use to cook are essential. The chef knife is just one such tool. It allows you to slice ingredients properly without using other knives. But there is more than one type of knife you use to cook with, and each one is used in a different way. Using knives is usually uncomfortable at first.
Whether you’ve been cooking for years or are just now trying it, you probably feel like you are doing it wrong. But, through practice, you will become more comfortable with your knife and know how to grip it correctly.
Knives are essential in the kitchen. For example, chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing are all basic knife skills that can benefit all levels of cooks. You might be surprised at how quickly you learn these skills!
The Correct Way the Basics of Holding a Chef’s Knife
When you hold any kitchen utensil, you should use the proper techniques. One important thing to keep in mind is the grip on the chef’s knife. The right way to do this is to hold it by the knife blade or handle. So which one should you do? Check out our detailed guide below.
How to Hold the Handle Grip of Chef’s Knife Properly
- The handle grip is where your thumb and forefinger hold, and it’s what gives you power over the knife. It’s essential to hold the knife correctly to maintain its sharpness and avoid accidents, the first step in mastering any skill involving kitchen knives.
- The index and thumb of one hand will use the handle grip to hold a chef’s knife securely. The other three fingers and remaining fingertips will rest below the knife, at the sharp edge.
- In one hand, hold your index and ring fingers together. In the other, place your middle finger and pinky fingers together. To cut or chop, you can use this knife grip to hold your food securely as you do so. It is very common and often used when cutting or chopping- an excellent grip to have.
- An all-purpose grip with a sharp blade is key to successful knife use. So the first step is to test the handle. If it feels okay, then you’re great to go. If not, readjust your grip or try a different knife.
How to hold The Blade Grip of Chef’s Knife Properly
- To use knives safely, grip the blade where the knife’s handle meets the blade. Make sure to press your thumb against the handle to stabilize it and touch the blade with your index finger for better control. You’ll be able to use knives much more effectively if you’re holding them with your dominant hand.
- To avoid wrist pain, keep all your fingers and thumb on the blade’s grip. Then, rest your hand along with it, parallel to the blade.
- The best way to hold a knife is near the blade because you can get a firm grip and more control. In addition, if you make precise cuts, you’ll be in complete control of the knife.
- Hold the knife with a pinch grip to avoid slipping, use your arm to guide the movement, and keep your fingers still. This will help you cut properly without hurting yourself or anyone else.
To minimize injury, it is essential to walk with a knife in your hand. To do this, grip the handle firmly with the opposite side of the blade pointing to the ground. This will ensure that if you come across anyone, you won’t hit them with it.
What do you do with your non-knife hand while cutting?
When cutting with a knife, both hands are involved. Your dominant hand will be the one that holds the knife, and your other hand will be doing the holding and supporting of the pieces you cut.
- It can be tough to find a pencil that you can grip with your dominant hand when you’re left-handed. But don’t worry! You can make a few adjustments and get a pencil grip that is comfortable for you. To start, place your left hand on a flat surface, palm down, and fingers are touching the fingertips of your right hand behind your first knuckles. When you find a good position, your hand should look like the letter “C.”
- To hold the ingredient such as tomato, squash, or entire apple at the point you want to slice it, keep your fingers in a claw shape and turn your hand, so it is perpendicular to the cutting board. Keep your first knuckles in front of your fingers to avoid cutting yourself.
- Position your flat ingredient on the bottom, then cut it in half. Follow these steps for chopping:
- Position the food on the cutting board, so the flattest side is on the bottom.
- Slice any oddly shaped ingredients in half before you continue to chop with a knife.
- Put your blade on your knuckles and press. Keep your fingers away from the blade, and keep your fingertips curled back. This will create an indentation in the dough.
- To make dough flat, first press the side of the blade against your knuckles. After the dough is at the desired thickness, it should cook through to reach an even consistency.
- Rock the knife back and forth to cut your ingredient. First, press the blade down with your guide hand. This will help hold the knife in place. Next, push the knife forward with your knob hand, then bring the blade down to make a clean cut. Repeat this motion in one fluid motion for gorgeous slices.
- As you’re cutting, move your guide hand backward. Check the width of the first piece you sliced. If it’s too narrow, move your non-dominant hand a little further back. Once in the correct position, push the side of the blade against your knuckles and cut.
- A safe way to cut with a knife is to use the blade parallel to the board. Hold the knife with your non-dominant hand and rest the knife blade’s edge on your guide hand so it doesn’t slip. Mincing is easier if you use one hand to guide the knife and hold the top of the blade with your other hand.
Cooking can be a painful process. I know this because it always ends up with my hands on fire. There are ways, though, to make cooking a less painful experience. For example, holding a chef’s knife properly will make it less likely for errors to happen, and there are many other ways to make cooking less messy.
However, there are three ways to hold a knife, and each is optimized for a different purpose. If you know how to hold a knife properly, you’ll be more efficient in the kitchen, reduce the risk of injury, and enjoy preparing food even more.