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Video:How to Hold a Knife

with Chef John Mitzewich

Want to learn how to use a knife like the chefs do? Check out these handy tips on how to properly grip a knife.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Hold a Knife

Hi, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com Food. Today, I'm going to show you the proper way to grip a knife.

By learning the proper knife grip, you will dramatically improve your knife skills. Before I show you, let me show you some wrong ways to hold the knife.

Two Ways Not to Hold a Knife

Here is bad knife grip number one. We call this the "hammer hand." It's like you grabbed a hammer or screwdriver. It's good for household tools, but not for cutting food.

We also call it the "Rambo," so if you are in an action film or fighting off mutant zombies, it's not bad. But for chopping food or slicing food, it's not the best.

Here is bad knife grip number two. We call this the "pointer." It's a little better than the hammer hand, but still not a great grip.

Put Your Forefinger on the Knife's Heel

This is the proper knife grip. It's very easy to learn. So let me take you through how to get a hold of this. Oh, I made a joke!

The key is this heel of the blade where the metal meets the handle. You're going to put your forefinger right on that seam.

Grip the Other Side With Your Thumb

On the other side, your thumb grips the knife in the same spot, only on the opposite side. So the knife is being held by your thumb and forefinger.

Your other three fingers wrap around the knife grip. So those three fingers are really what holds the knife, and the thumb and forefinger apply the pressure and the guidance as you cut.

This is the official chef knife grip that has been tested and practiced over hundreds of years, through cuts and injuries. So this is what we've perfected.

Benefits of the Chef Knife Grip

It's going to feel a little weird when you first start out, but give it a try, you'll get a lot more control than the hammer hand.

When you are chopping straight down like this you get a lot of power and control. But, even more importantly, when you're using a sliding motion, with your thumb and forefinger on the blade, you will have so much more control.

Tips to Remember the Proper Knife Grip

So, here are a couple of rhymes to help you remember. "If you feel the steel, the grip is real." And, "if you touch the blade, you have it made."

Anyway, I'm really late for a freestyle battle with Kanye West, so I'm going to run. But I hope you practice that and give it a try, and you'll find out what a better grip that is.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at food.about.com.
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