After the first time I cooked, I realized I was not too fond of it, or that’s what I thought since my hands hurt afterward. It seemed tedious to me to cut, chop, and dice, straining my hands and making them sore, especially when cutting solid vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
Then, I realized that cooking could be for me when I learned the correct way to hold a chef’s knife. THIS KNOWLEDGE GAVE ME A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON KITCHEN ACTIVITIES once I realized how important it was to wield the knife correctly. I began to look forward to food preparation instead of dreading it.
You can become its master if you hold it with skill. Taming the knife becomes much easier once you know how to use it. I will share what I learned with you here.
Why Proper Knife Handling Matters
Incorrect knife handling can result in more than just hand strains. When you do not learn to use a knife, you may find yourself with a cut finger or worse. If that’s not enough, I don’t know what will get you interested in learning the basics of handling knives.
Additionally, handling a chef’s knife well will also lead to better results when cooking. Knife skills are essential to accomplishing uniformity in meat and vegetables, a critical aspect of cooking. With time, your skill level and the performance speed will increase, resulting in more pleasant times in preparing foods to cook.
Grips to Use in Knife Handling
The Handle Grip
Grab the handle by the bottom of the handle, just behind the blade. If you want to gain a good deal of knife control, place a hand at the junction between the handle and the blade, which is the bolster. The handgrip technique will be more uncomplicated for newbies to learn.
The handle grip is a method used by many beginners when grasping a knife. The novice can use this technique to comfortably grasp the knife with their fingers tucked behind the bolster and their thumbs firmly placed on the blade for enhanced stability.
It has some disadvantages, though, even though it makes sense to a beginner and offers comfort.
Although it is the most common method used by nonprofessionals, cutting precision can be hindered by the handle grip, which can also reduce comfort. A handle grip is usually not used by professionals due to inconsistent cutting. Because the balance of the handle is so far away from the blade, delicate projects become more complex.
This method can also be used for all kinds of knives, as it is more convenient.
The Blade Grip
The second method in this guide on how to handle a chef’s knife correctly involves performing more precise cuts, which is more challenging. Culinary arts programs teach students how to hold knives properly as one of their first lessons. According to most cooking instructors and expert chefs, the blade grip, or “pinch grip,” is the most effective way to hold a knife. To maintain the most control over your knife and ensure precise cutting, you should practice holding your knife in the following manner.
A pinch grip is also known as the blade grip and is commonly used by chefs. The pinch grip has two fingers on the blade, unlike handle grips, which have all fingers tucked beneath the handle. Your thumb and index finger should be directly over the blade in the opposite direction of the bolster. Using two fingers to hold the knife will cut more delicate parts with more consistent stability. You hold the blade between your thumbs and forefingers while tucking the rest of your fingers underneath the handle.
In addition to maximum control and balance over the knife, this grip indicates less effort when performing knife cuts, such as “rock chops”; anchoring the tip of the knife (usually a chef’s knife) against a cutting board and rocking the knife up and down through ingredients.
You’ll get closer to mincing, dicing, and slicing like a pro as you practice your blade grip and become familiar with knife cuts.
Becoming proficient in the use of knives will provide you with greater control and stability as you chop, chunk, dice, and mince your ingredients. Nevertheless, this technique requires some time to perfect; but, It won’t take long for you to become a pro with constant practice.
Perfecting Knife Motions Builds Expertise
The Non-Dominant Hand’s Role
You don’t use the off-hand when holding the knife for everything you do, but it has an important job to do when pieces of food need to be held firmly while being cut.
Since its job is at risk and likely to get cut, it will be the one affected. Maintaining reasonable off-hand control involves letting it perform ‘horse’ positions. Make the primary hand resemble a horse’s leg and the head’s middle finger, slightly elevated but bending downwards.
Assume this position with your non-dominant hand while holding the pieces you are about to chop. It is best to put the horse’s neck or the middle finger on the knife’s side while your other fingers stabilize the materials.
Your appendages should be tucked to prevent them from getting damaged. Using your fingers to control your food is an efficient way to aid in proper knife usage.
The Claw Motion
Place your hand flat on the cutting board with your fingers slightly spread out. It would be best if you curled your fingers inward, and your palm should be down. Consider the claw-like shape of your hands. Your fingertips will be protected from the knife’s cutting edge.
You should hold the ingredients in place while you dice or slice them with your tucked-in fingertips. You can then begin cutting when they are stable. Knives blades shouldn’t rest on anything other than curled fingers.
To complete the process, rock the knife from side to side. Keep your claw motion safe by avoiding lifting the claw too much.
The Knife-Pressing Motion
You may want to use the knife-pressing method if you’re mincing herbs, garlic, or ginger. The blade grip technique should be used when holding the knife. Then, rest the ring, middle, and index fingers of your non-dominant hand on the knife’s blade tip.
By shaking the blade back and forth, you will gain a more comfortable grip. Be sure you mince the pieces as finely as possible by going over them several times.
Extra Tips for Safety
Keeping knife use safe is crucial, so here are a few more safety tips
Always Use Correct Knife Form
Stay safe by keeping your fingers tucked in and holding the knife firmly. Always maintain your attention on the task at hand.
Keep Your Cutting Board Still and Stable
If your cutting board is not held stable in place, your knife skills won’t prevent accidental cuts. Wooden boards with good maintenance should stay in place as long as they are not warped. Place either a kitchen towel or a dishcloth under your plastic cutting board if it slides.
Keep Your Chef’s Knife Sharp
Dull knives can cause more chances for injury than sharp ones. Don’t doubt that fact. Sharpening your chef’s knife keeps you safe, not to mention makes your cuts better. Keep your blade in top shape by using either a manual or electric knife sharpener.
Depending on how you approach cooking, it can be complicated or straightforward. Using the right tools in the kitchen, and using the correct techniques, such as with a knife, will make maneuvering around a lot easier.
Before reading this, did you have any idea that controlling the knife correctly can help with a lot of hand problems generated when using one? It was certainly eye-opening to me! It enhanced my kitchen experiences so much that I just had to share with all of you. Now you know that you will never again fear food preparation for cooking once you’ve mastered knife handling techniques.