The Hospitality Guru (cooking) Back to Basics: Knife Handling
Holding a Knife
Almost every kind of food used in the kitchen has to be sliced, diced or chopped to suit it to a particular cooking method or recipe. The best all round cutting tool for these tasks is the chef’s knife. The correct handling of a knife is one of the first and most important skills a chef needs to learn. A knife handled correctly is a safe, efficient and effective preparation tool, whereas a knife handled incorrectly can be dangerous to the user and damaging to the food being prepared.
The correct grip is important because it gives you maximum control over the knife. It increases your cutting accuracy and speed and reduces the chance of an accident. The illustrated grip is the one most frequently used for cutting and slicing. This grip allows for an easy action, good control of motion and for the best use of necessary force.
There needs to be plenty of room for your thumb and all your fingers to grasp the handle firmly when the heel of the blade meets the board. The grip on the knife must be firm but relaxed. If the knife is held too tightly, your hand quickly tires and cutting will become difficult.
- For hygiene and safety, avoid touching the blade of your knife with your gripping hand.
- Using the correct grip may seem uncomfortable at first, but with practice you’ll quickly become used to it.
Remember it is the cutting edge of the knife that does all the work, not the force with which you grip the handle. Never use too much force when cutting as this may result in the knife slipping and cutting you.