Chef's Knife Basics
Holding an EDGE Chef's Knife
Rest the knife handle in your dominant hand on a slight diagonal in the crease between your fingers and palm. Hold the knife so that the point is facing in the direction of your thumb. Wrap your fingers around the knife so that your index finger is hugging the blade right above where the blade and handle meet, and your knuckle is comfortably in line with the top of the blade. Your thumb should be on the opposite side of the handle near where the blade and handle meet. Your hand this high on the knife may feel unfamiliar, but it will give you the best cut for the least amount of work. The knife should feel secure in your hand without being grasped extremely tight.
Your Helping Hand
Your other hand is pivotal in ensuring your cutting is performed in a uniform manner. When chopping something like a head of lettuce, you’ll create a "bear claw" with your helping hand. The tips of your fingers will wrap under the head, so that your knuckles are closer to the knife than the fingertips - thus protecting your fingertips while cutting. When cutting something long like a stalk of celery, walk your fingers down the celery as you cut.
Cutting with a Chef's Knife
When cutting with a chef's knife, your motion should be aimed down and through whatever you are chopping. A rocking motion of your wrist will be the most comfortable way to cut.
Types of Cuts
Chiffonade is a technique that’s typically used for greens. Simply stack or roll up whatever leafy green you are using and cut them into thin ribbons.
Garlic and onions are typically minced. Mincing produces very small pieces typically used in sautéing. When mincing, you cut very thin slices across an item, then go back and cut the thin slices at a 90 degree angle. Since the items are small, it’s okay if you have to repeat this action multiple times.
Squaring off fruits or vegetables will help you get uniform cuts and ensure that you have a flat edge to work with.
Slicing refers to cutting uniform cuts down an item, especially round items like tomatoes or carrots. Slicing is usually the first step to cut items into smaller pieces.
Julienne refers to cutting long, thin matchsticks. If you make a thicker matchstick, the cut is a batonnet. Julienne works nicely in salads and stir fries.
Dicing will produce uniform cubes. You can make small, medium and large dices, depending on what you are preparing.
Chopping refers to making cuts across something, like a head of lettuce. You can also chop something like a carrot by slicing the carrot in half, then chopping the halves into half moons.