Kitchen Skills – Using Knives

Knives are our most important kitchen tool and we need to learn how to use ’em.

How to properly hold your knives, where to place your fingers and how to feed the ingredient into the knife blade may sooner or later make the difference whether you still have all your fingertips or not. Ouch!

For slicing uniform cuts, don’t hold your knife in a full-fingered death grip like the photo on the left. Hint, it has a big red “X” on it. You will be constantly fighting the tendency to cut at angles instead of a perpendicular cut of your ingredient. Hold your knife like in the right photo. Your index finger on top of the spine gives you much more control over the blade.

When slicing, keep the tip of the blade on your cutting board while lowering the handle and drawing it slightly toward or pushing slightly away from you to finish the cut. Again, this allows you to retain control over the blade and make smoother, more consistently uniform cuts.  If you are lifting the entire knife for every stroke your ingredients will be cut unevenly, that blade will wobble and whoa, who knows what happens next.

Feed the ingredient into (under) your blade by holding it with your fingertips curled under and pushing it forward. Unless you are raising the blade extremely high the worst thing is your knuckles contact the side of the blade. No harm, no foul. In other words, the only movement of your knife blade is vertically. The ingredient is the only thing that moves laterally. Again it’s about control. If you do make a mistake it will be limited and not an entire fingertip.

This method will allow you to cut faster but don’t try and imitate the professionals. To them, time is money.  You don’t have to win a speed contest. Cut and chop at your own pace.

And one more thing…

It may feel a little awkward at first but practice for a bit and you will quickly come to appreciate your newly found knife skill!