How To Use A Chef’s Knife: The Pro Way

Professional chefs have their own distinct way of holding a knife, let’s learn how to use a chef’s knife like a pro.

There are two basic types of grips, the handle grip and the blade grip, If you've only ever been using the handle grip, give the other one a try—you may find your cuts improving dramatically.

How you hold your blade determines your level of control and ease of use for perfect, fast cuts.

Here’s what I learnt form Chef Jacob Burton, It's not so much the curvature of the knife as it is the width of the blade (from top to bottom) and what type of cut I’m making. For example, when I use a chef's knife or cleaver, I'm always using the professional pinch grip as shown in the photo above or in the video "Asian Style Dice and Julienne." As a general rule of thumb, you always want to hold a knife with a thicker blade in a one or two finger pinch grip because it will give you more control over where that blade is going.

However, when I'm using a knife with a thinner blade, like a utility knife or a boning knife, I usually grab the blade with my thumb and middle finger and then rest my index finger on top of the blade. This has two purposes:

When butchering, I'm trying to separate muscles or disconnect flesh from the bone (read intricate cuts with little space). I have fat hands and fingers, so if I hold my knife in a professional pinch grip, my knuckles and fingers get in the way.

I always put my index finger on the top of my knife when I'm performing a cut that utilizes the tip of my blade. This makes the knife an extension of my finger, and allows me to control where the tip of the knife is going. A good example of this is in my video of how to slice mushrooms and how to butcher a chicken. In the video on how to dice, julienne, buronise and battonet, you'll notice that I'm holding the knife in a regular pinch grip, which gives me more control of the "sweet spot" (the middle portion of the knife used for slicing).

As far as the curvature of the blade is concerned, that's just personal preference. I really like the ergonomics of the Ken Onion Shun, but that's just because it feels good in my hand. Everyone's hands are different so choose your knife accordingly. Also, the curvature on the Ken Onion Shun is much more dramatic then that on their classic 10" chef's knife. Again, it's all about what feels right in your hand and what you use your knife for the most.

Watch it on YouTube: How To Hold A Chef's Knife

Thank you, as always, for reading, watching and sharing your experience and insights with all of us. Your kindness, generosity and enthusiasm are a true blessing in my life, and the world.

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