How Not to Use A Kitchen Knife

When I worked at the Restaurant DuBarry in Boston, my bombastic boss provided specific instructions on using a large kitchen (a.k.a., chef’s) knife. “Idiot!” he screamed (his pet name for me). “This knife she is not a guillotine! You roll ze blade like zees.” In the video above, the chef presses down on the blade. OK, he rolls it a bit. But not really. Far worse, his fingertips are not facing straight down. That’s an excellent way to remove flesh and commence leaking. (Click here to see the proper technique.) And what up with the chef’s index finger jumping across the blade to stabilize the finished zucchini slices? Better to tilt the blade after the cut to push the finished slices out of the way. Remember: safety first, accuracy next, speed last. If at all.


  1. Out_Fang_Thief says:

    Yes, as a basic understanding of design and function, this is correct.
    But…there is absolutely no such thing as the Proper Knife Protocol Police.

    I’ve hired and fired more Chef’s than most people have had friends. I’ve seen built-from-the-grill-up chefs, and CIA trained professional chef’s, and without fail, all use various knives in ways that they were not originally intended. All. Why? Everyone is not equally built, equally sized, or equally gifted for the task. It has been my experience, that the only incorrect knife use or grip, is the one that doesn’t make your work faster, easier, or offers a better finished presentation. Aside from faster, easier, better, there are no set rules, except of course, for safety.

  2. janitor says:

    the grip of the blade is wrong imo. i was taught to choke up on the handle to where my index finger and thumb would basically be holding the blade. the blade tip never left the cutting board. i rock the knife like a lever, pushing it forward slightly with each stroke. with my hand in the position it is in, its easier to apply more force if i need to cut something hard (small bones etc)

    but im not here to argue about a tool that is as old as prostitution.

    we need more chef knife reviews….

  3. Sam L. says:

    Reminds me of a blog post on Cowtown Cop (long since discontinued) about some ethnic guy coming up to a diner cook (Mexican, IIRC) and holding a gun over the window counter at him. Cook takes a knife and a quick and accurate whack at the guy’s wrist. I believe the police found the gun had a good set of prints on it.

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How Not to Use A Kitchen Knife

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