I remember watching food shows as a teenager and being in awe with how swiftly chefs turn a bowl of vegetables into chopped up veg ready to cook. WHILE TALKING TO THE CAMERA AT THE SAME TIME!
So what’s the secret? Well, I went through cooking school and endless hours of standing at a chopping board (oy, my back!) to tell you how:
1. Use a sharp knife
This is always the number one piece of advice given to every new knife user, but it’s also the most ignored! Look, it’s as simple as this – a sharp knife will cut your food, and that means that you don’t have to use extra pressure and possibly lose control of your knife.
I grew up in a house with blunt knives.
I have been through the accidents.
Trust me on this.
2. Get a grip!
Don’t use your knives with wet hands, please. It affects the effectiveness of your knife’s grip, and again you wanna be in full control. Which means full contact, full friction. heh heh.
3. Don’t forget about your board
So now you’ve got a grip on your knife, you need to get a grip on your board. Well, underneath it. No point in holding your knife solidly if your chopping board is slip sliding around! I find non-slip mats really convenient, but otherwise, you can also use a wet tea towel or even wet paper towels.
4. Paws up!
Mother Monster would be so proud. the logic behind the “claw grip” is to make sure that your fingers arent going to get chopped off with the rest of the food. Simply tuck your fingertips in and tuck your thumb to the back. Then use the middle section of your finger as a glider with the side of the blade. As long as the side of the knife is lightly brushing against your knuckle (side, not blade!!), the knife blade should never slice your fingers. It’s a little awkward at first, but trust me, it works.
5. Go slow
It’s ABSOLUTELY awkward to hold a knife “properly” the first time. And to tell you otherwise is complete bullshit. The trick is to always start slow so you can get used to it. It’s worth it, trust me.
6. Use all parts of the knife!
So we all know that the knife blade can slicey slicey, but did you know that the rest of the knife is really useful, too? For example, I use the side of my knife to crush garlic, and the back of my knife to tenderise lemongrass…the possibilities are endless (as long as you are safe about it)!
7. Practice practice practice
As with any new skill, practice really does make perfect. I spent a ton of time staring down at my hands and freaking out about how I was going to cut myself to ribbons at the beginning. Or if I was even going to be that accurate about even that. As with any skills, it’s worth putting the effort in, even though the beginning might be a slow start.