How to Use a Chef’s Knife

This video is a good tutorial on the basic use of a Chef’s knife. Most experienced chefs have already had the lesson, but a quick refresher and practice session can reveal some bad habits picked up over the years.

The most important part of this lesson is that the chef’s knife’s only real purpose is for forward and back cutting. Any other use can dull the blade and create a safety hazard. Using your kitchen tools only for the purposes that they are designed is always best. Save your creativity for your dishes, but use your tools correctly.

The most common problems that chef’s have is maintaining the correct stance and holding the fingers of the left hand in the right position. With the left hand’s fingers curved in like this to guide the blade and the perfect stance and right hand grip, accurate cutting is much, much easier. These principles make for more accurate cuts on the product and save your back with more natural motions. This looks simple in the video, but it’s easy to fall out of posture and unknowingly get a back cutting technique over time.

Another side benefit of getting the right habit is that it’s just impressive when done right. Employers notice perfection and attention to detail. When a chef has a practiced set of techniques, they all start to flow together in an impressive show when others watch you work. Sure, some of it may be unnecessary, but it impresses others and makes the chef more focused on the task at hand.

Watch the video and get some practice. Take a video of yourself and watch it for comparison or have a friend look for errors that you may not notice. Don’t be surprised if this little exercise in perfection turns out to be fun.