Skip to main content
Medicine LibreTexts

1.2.4: Knife Skills

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Knife skills are the single most important and the most fundamental skill a chef or home cook must acquire. Often, before heating or cooking foods, ingredients will be chopped, sliced, or diced into smaller more manageable pieces. Safe handling of knives is important for the safety of the cook and those around them. The most frequently used knife in the kitchen is called the Chef's knife also known as the French knife. 


    Example of Chef knife Photo courtesy of: Lukas on Pexels

    Gripping the Knife


    A good grip will give you better control increasing cutting accuracy and speed, while preventing slippage and lessening the chances of accidents.

    Handling the Knife

    The best way to hold a chef knife is to grip the heel of the blade with your thumb and forefinger and wrap the remaining three fingers around the handle.

    The Guide Hand


    The purpose of the opposite hand is used for holding and guiding the food to be processed. Always curl the fingertips of the opposite hand into a ‘claw’ shape, never lay them flat. Use the second joint of the opposite fingers as a guide for the knife blade. This will help control the thickness of the cut. Slide the blade across the product. A sharp edge will allow the knife to glide through the object with minimal applied pressure.



    Proper chef knife grip and hand placement. Picture Courtesy of: Huy Phan on Pexel


    Please view the following video on proper knife holding:

    Uniformity & Consistency

    Consistency in shape and size is important for two reasons:

    1.) A uniform size will give the dish a better appearance.

    2.) Uniformity in size means the product will cook evenly.














    Vagr7, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons



    Please view this video on types and styles of cutting vegetables:

    This page titled 1.2.4: Knife Skills is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by William R. Thibodeaux & Randy Cheramie via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.