Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Get a Grip and Have a Great Thanksgiving: How to Properly Hold a Knife

With all the chopping, slicing and dicing that's done around the Thanksgiving holiday, it's no wonder that there are more culinary-related knife wounds reported this time of year than any other. It's a well-known fact that Emergency rooms all over the country stock up on extra supplies to stitch-up these once-a-year chefs (actually, I just made that fact up, but I bet it's true).

The two causes for 90% of cuts in the kitchen are dull knives and wrong grips. I can't do anything about that dull knife you've been using since I had hair, but I can help with the grip.
When you take a tennis or golf lesson the first thing that's checked is your grip. This video demo I did for About.com shows you the proper way professional chefs grip a knife. This is so important to safe, fast, and accurate cutting. Enjoy

11 comments:

Ballu said...

Hey Chef,

thanks for this small tutorial. I always tried to hold my knifes this and that way, but none really felt correct. I'm now holding them close to what you describe and it looks like I figured out the right way by try and error :-).

Now - will one of the next episodes be the right cutting of stuff? :-)

e.g. when is it ok to cut straight down, when slicing do I push or pull?

Are there different ways to cut for differnt foods?

Greetings from Germany
Balu

Chef John said...

This will all be covered in my complete cooking course that I hope to have ready in the spring, but if you watch the clips you can see which cuts I use for various recipes. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of knives... in the intro to each video when we see you speaking it looks like you are standing in front of a door... with knives attached on a big magnet. Is it a door? Is that safe?
This kinda stuff keeps me up at night. :-)
April

Chef John said...

I'm with ya sister, i was up all last night wondering why people push the elevator button when it's already lit. Do they think it will come faster if they keep pressing it.

Anyway, yes its a door leading to a pantry with a magnetic knife rack. And in the pantry I keep a rather unusual collection of...

Rick Marnon said...

This is a help. I have cut my hands a few times cooking, but I'm going to go with it's probably because I wasn't holding my knife right. Thanks for the tip. I love to cook, so this should keep me from anymore issues.

Gail said...

Hi Chef John. One thing I really like about the about.com site is the perfect transcripts of your videos. Very helpful.

Janneman said...

Chef John, your videos are really, really great! In fact, I like the no-nonsense approach adopted by you, as well as the sprinkling of humour that forms an integral part of your blog.

[On a slightly technical note: I noticed that your camera's iris setting was set to "auto" in this clip. So when you moved the blade around, the camera compensated automatically for the difference in light levels and it was somewhat disturbing to the viewer's eyes. I'd suggest locking the iris once the camera's found an average light setting.]

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef John, in celebration of Thanksgiving, can you make a turducken for the viewers, it would be so amazing!

Chef John said...

thanks! unfortunately my cheap camera has no such options, only a backlight option and a color saturation feature and thats it. :( My next camera will have more features i'm sure.

Chef John said...

sorry, no turducken! It would be about a 20 minutes video. I like my turkey with bones.

1Bigg_ER said...

My cooking has greatly improved, thanks to Chef John, but my knife skills are nonexistent. Planning on buying bunch of celery, peppers etc just to practice on them.