Know your knife techniques

Know your knife techniques

Learning these skills will make you a better cook

Monday, 14 December 2015

Know your knife techniques

Last week I revealed the three knives that every chef needs. Now, it's all very well having the fancy pants gear, but if you don't know what you're doing with it, you'll never get the results you want.

Holding The Knife

Standard Handle Grip

This is how most people will hold their knives. Your hand sits totally behind the bolster on just the handle. It does feel nice and comfortable but gives you limited control.

Blade Grip

This is how most experienced cooks will hold their knives. Your forefinger and thumb actually rest in the area where the metal flows out to meet the handle. When you first hold your knife like this it does feel a little worrying but it does give you more control.

Chopping

Stability

Ensure your chopping board is safe and firm on your work surface by putting a damp cloth under it to hold it in place. Make sure you position the food item so that a flat edge is on the board, which stops it moving around when cutting.

The Claw

This is sooooo important – always tuck your fingertips (including your thumb) inwards to protect them. Use your knuckles as the guide for your knife with the hand that’s holding the food.

Chopping Methods

Cross Chopping/Mincing

This is the safest chopping method – using a chefs knife you put your free hand on top in the knife (fingers out the way) and keep the point on the board moving the back of the knife up and down across the board. Use the blade to scoop everything back into a pile and go again. This is perfect to get a fine mince and is great for herbs.

Tap Chopping

This is just as it sounds – you should hear a tapping sound each time the knife hits the board. Hold your veg with the knife in the claw position and using your knuckle as your guide you move straight up and down in a tapping motion.

Rock Chopping

This is perfect for vegetables that have a slightly tougher skin such as peppers or chillies. You rock your knife up and down but the point stays on the board. Hold the food with the claw and guide the food under the knife keeping fingers out the way.

 

To see all this in action I have put this little video together:

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