How many times have you gone to chop an onion and find yourself dodging a wily knife? Let's be honest, you’ve probably nicked your nails and fingers too many times to count! Well it's time you nick no more. Just master these two techniques and become the pro-chopper you were born to be.
The Parts and Types of Kitchen Knives
First things first, let’s go over the parts of a knife. There’s the cutting edge (which is self-explanatory), the back or spine, the tip, the heel, and the bolster. The two types of knives seen here are a Western-style knife and Japanese-style. The Western is tapered, making it great for the rocking motion we’ll explain, while Japanese knives are preferred for precise slicing and chopping.
Grip #1 The Handle Grip
With this grip, your hand is 100% behind the heel of the knife, with your fingers set behind the bolster. This grip offers limited control when doing precision work, but is best for beginner cooks or those with small hands.
Grip #2 The Blade Grip
This is the preferred grip for us experience cooks. Your thumb and forefinger should rest directly on the blade in front of the bolster. While intimidating, this grip offers heightened balance and control. Don’t use this grip with cheaper knives lacking a bolster.
When dicing and slicing, protect your fingertips by curling them inward (forming a “claw”), using your knuckles to guide the knife. While cutting, always place your “claw” in a stabilized position by placing foods flat against a cutting surface (like the onion half seen here), and guide the knife blade against the food with your “claw”.
For Mincing, Rock it!
When a minced texture is desired, place the tip of the knife on the cutting board, holding it in place with your free hand. Then, rock the blade up and down to mince! Works like a charm when using a Western-style knife with a tapered blade.
Note: If using a Japanese-style blade, it is best to keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board while picking up the knife’s heel, pushing food underneath to chop fine.