Using a chef knife sometimes seem like the easiest thing to do. Deep down within you know that you are not handling the knife properly and it's not giving you the desired thrill.
Interestingly, using your chef knife properly and with skill is the only way a chef knife can be truly useful.
It doesn't matter what your status is, either as a cook, novice or professional, at home or in a restaurant. It is important to note that your skillfulness with the knife, determines how well your recipe will turn out.
Just like every other thing, there is a good and otherwise way of handling the knife. It goes beyond protecting yourself but also has an impact on the meal you are preparing.
Using your knife properly
- Your grip:
Your index finger should be well wrapped around your blade. The thumb and the index finger should face each other in the opposite direction. In this grip, the blade will be in-between both fingers. The remaining fingers are firmly placed on the handle.
The forefinger and the thumb do most of the work as they will be gripping the knife firmly. If you don't feel you are doing it right, you can take a deep breath and try to hold it properly. Continue practising until you get used to the grip and it becomes part of you.
- Knife motion:
The chef knife is mostly used for chopping. It also depends on the grip as stated earlier. The accurate movement of the knife should be up and down in a staccato style with your wrist as the core component. Positioning your hand properly on the bolster helps regulate its function. It also helps you avoid injury or miscutting the veggies.
The more you do it the better you get. It becomes instinctual and your hand automatically knows what to do. In case of any mistake, it will be easily corrected.
- Protect the food: Use the Guiding hand to protect the food
It is important to know how to use the free hand. You have your "knife hand" and the "guiding hand". The guiding hand is tasked with holding your food and stopping it from moving around the chopping board. It means that this hand is prone to injury. with the motion of the knife, you will have to make sure the fingers are safely positioned.
It is important to use the "claw grip" while protecting the food. The claw grip ensures that the fingers are inwardly curled. The fingernails are used to grip the food and are well protected from harm.
The blade should be kept perpendicular to the chopping board. This should be achieved by resting the side of the knife blade against the knuckle of the guiding hand.
- Utilizing other parts of your chef knife
The chef knife is a flexible kitchen tool. You can use it for more than just cutting up ingredients. Knowing how to use other parts of the knife beside the cutting edge is very important.
- The Tip: The tip of your knife can be used for making guide cuts in melons, veggies, and separating sinew from meat. You would want to avoid using the tip of your knife to cut things that are not food.
- The flat side: You can make use of the flat side of your knife for crushing nuts or opening garlic skin cloves. Holding the knife, lay it flat directly on the ingredient. Gently increase the pressure with your guiding hand using the flat side of your knife.
- Maintaining your knife
A good chef knife is like a secret weapon for professional chefs. It is not just a cutting tool, proficiency at using it gives them identity. For chefs at home, it gives them a tool to do multiple works with ease. Caring for your knife goes a long way. Clean it immediately after use. Sharpen it immediately you perceive signs of dullness in the blade. With your chef knife, you are a superhero.
- Knife options
There are so many chef knife options out there but very few are of a choice make. For your best chef knife choice, you many want to check out the Zelite Infinity Santoku Knife.
We believe this post has been of great help to you. Just like every professional chef out there, nobody was born with knife skills. It was all honed, you can also learn to use your knife properly. It just takes dedication and the right amount of practice.