How To'sTips

How to Correctly Handle a Chef’s Knife

By Christopher Stewart | May 20, 2013

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Photo: Micon

With all of the “How To’s” on marcussamuelsson.com lately and all of the great food that has been created, one very important subject has not been tackled. How can we eat and prepare all this amazing food if we don’t know how to use a knife properly. I know there are a lot of big scary knives out there and it seems like chefs are using them with such ease and skill. With knives in different sizes and different uses, knowing which Santuko, slicing, pairing, carving, or ceramic knife will best work for you is a big deal. Let’s examine the proper way to use a chefs knife along with the do’s and don’ts in these 3 easy steps. 

Its all in your hands: 

Having the perfect chefs knife to use in your kitchen all depends on one main thing. Your hands. The weight of the chef’s knife in your hand will determine what knife you use, what you use it for and how you use it. Is the knife heavy? Does it feel perfectly light? A knife that is heavy in weight won’t be too comfortable in the long haul. You want to be able to flow freely with your knife and have your thumb and fingers on your dominant hand rest comfortably on the knife handle. If the knife is too heavy, your fingers and hands will sooner or later become callous from gripping the knife too hard. You need to get acquainted with your knife so much that you will no longer be scared of it and want to use it to cut everything, so going to the store and personally picking up knives and testing the weight is ideal, versus ordering offline.

Slicing and Dicing: 

Another key component to having a chef knife is sharpness. A brand new chef’s knife is super sharp and that can be a little scary. You fear that you will cut yourself due to the knife being so sharp, but you will cut yourself LESS with the knife being razor sharp. Having a sharp knife is best and safer than a dull one. Holding the knife firmly with your dominant hand and the object with your less dominant hand, place your fingers close together on the object that you are cutting. In a rocking motion, begin to slice through your object, sliding your fingers away from the object as you slice. A sharp knife has great control and does not slip around when slicing. Also, the rocking motion of your hand, knife and cutting board will help prevent accidents. It cuts straight through which helps keep fingers safe and provides great control. Ideally, the knife when slicing and dicing should never leave the cutting board. A dull knife slides off of food and is very unsafe when slicing or maneuvering the knife.

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Photo: Marx Foods

 

Pro Tips:

Although a chef’s knife is a wonderful tool to have in your kitchen, it can also be a dangerous one, Make sure your cutting board is steady and secure by placing a wet towel under it, this helps the cutting board to be stationary when slicing. If your chef’s knife drops for any reason at all, move out the way and let it fall. NEVER try to catch a falling knife.

Here are more How To’s and Tips by Christopher Stewart:

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