Sometimes we get so wrapped up in getting beautiful ingredients and trying new recipes that we forget that we should also spend time on the basics. Properly handling a knife is, in my opinion, one of the essential skills we should always practice. After all, it is probably the most important tool in the kitchen, and you can’t cook a single thing without chopping, slicing, or dicing, am I right? (Well, technically you can, but you would have quite the restricted menu.)
So let’s talk about how to properly hold a knife. In this case, I’ll use a standard 8-inch chef knife as our example. I’ll admit that for a long while, I held my knife incorrectly, gripping only the handle, which I am sure most the rest of us do too. I’ve also seen some folk place an index finger along the knife’s spine as a way to steady their hand. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with handling a knife in this fashion, I’ve learned through repeated usage (and of course TV, I won’t lie!) that employing the “pinch grip” is the most efficient and safest way to hold a knife. It did feel odd at first, because it seemed unnatural that my fingers were in contact with the blade, but by actually gripping the heel of the knife, I found that I gained so much more control and power when it came time to cut and chop.
For the pinch grip, simply hold the handle of the knife in your hand, with your middle finger tucked against the finger-guard. Then “pinch” the heel of the blade with your thumb on one side, and the index finger curled up on the other. Grip the knife firmly, but gently, it will make your job so much easier. And remember, like everything else, practice makes perfect. So let’s get chopping!