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How to hold a knife – taught by Chef Olivia Burt

The first and most important knife skill you need to learn is how to hold your knife properly. Holding the knife properly will give you more control over the knife which makes it easier to cut and slice food. This strong grip is what allows chefs to chop with great speed as they know the knife won’t slide off. 

Japanese knives have different shaped handles to Western knives. They tend to be lighter and circular or octagonal. Based on this, Chef Olivia Burt recommends holding the top bridge of the handle with the top corner of your hand, watch video below for a proper illustration of this. Your thumb should be on one side and all your other fingers should be wrapped around the other side of the handle. This will give you a nice and stable grip of the knife. 

Holding the knife properly will help you look after your knife. It ensures you are using the blade at the right angle and inserting pressure properly, preventing the blade from chipping. 

Rule: Place your thumb on one side of the end of the blade and your index finger on the other. Then curl all your other fingers around the handle.

It will feel odd at first, but once you get used to this knife hack you’ll feel liberated and cutting will become easier. It will give you more control over the direction and angle of your cuts, and the knife’s weight will be better distributed in your hand. This makes cutting easier and safer. 

Nevertheless, it is important to note that no two chefs have the exact same grip. It is all based around what Chef Olivia Burt shows you in this video but every chef or home cook will change it slightly to whatever feels most comfortable for them. So make sure you have a comfortable grip.