If you’ve ever watched a professional chef fix a meal, whether it’s on television or in-person, you’ve probably seen him or her use their chef knives so smoothly, they’re like extensions of their arms. There’s no hesitation, just brisk movements of the hand until the final result. This skill that merges the precision of the knife with the speediness of the tempo takes years to master. But, that’s not to say that it’s unattainable. With this guide on popular cutting styles, you will learn how to slice it and dice it just like the pros.
Put Your Chef’s Knife to Good Use
Before you begin your knife work, there are a few rules-of-thumb to follow so that you don't, well, lose a thumb. Let’s explore how to hold a knife, what grip you should be using, and what to do with your helping hand.
How to Hold a Knife and Correctly Grip It
There are two different ways to hold a knife:
- The Handle Grip
- The Blade Grip
The definitions of these two types of grips are in the name. When you manage a knife by using the handle grip technique you are simply wrapping your entire hand around the handle of the knife. When you manage a knife by using the blade grip technique you are mostly holding the handle, but also holding the bottom of the knife with your thumb and forefinger.
Tip: Professional chefs will most likely use the blade grip because it allows for more control when cutting.
When managing the knife, be sure not to hold a death grip to it. If you relax your hand a bit you will actually have more control with your cutting and you won’t tense up.
The Helping Hand
Your helping hand is the hand you use to assist the chopping, not the hand you use to chop with. The perfect position for the helping hand is what’s commonly called the “bear claw.”
The fingers are curved and recoiled back, resembling a claw. This is the safest position for your helping hand because it ensures that your fingers don’t get in the way of the blade.
The Different Cutting Styles
Although there are as many cutting styles as there are chefs who handle knives, these are the popular cutting styles that you are most likely to see on the recipe cards when you order meal delivery from Chef’d.
Roughly chop into cubes
Like dicing, cut into very small pieces
Cut on a Bias
Cut at an angle
Cut into equal size pieces on an even plane
Roughly cut into medium sized cubes
Cut into thin strips. Learn more, here.
Cut into small cubes
Additional Tips & Tricks to Keep in Mind
- Keep your knives sharp. When knives become dull they’re more likely to slip while you’re handling them.
- It’s best practice to slice away from your hand, not toward it.
- Don’t lick things off knives. It’s tempting, we know. But don’t do it. You could cut your tongue.
- Put a damp towel under your cutting board to keep it secure.
- If you’re using the same knife to prep your whole meal then be sure to wash it intermittently to prevent cross-contamination
Hungry for more? Put your knife skills to the test when you cook one of our meal kits. Shop from recipes that are inspired by some of the world's most renowned chefs and learn how you can cook like them too.
That’s How we Slice it and Dice it
What’s your biggest hangup when you prepare meals in the kitchen? What kitchen skills would you like a professional to walk you through? Are there any hacks that you use when you cook that you’d like to share with other chefs? Start the conversation. Leave a comment or question below and we’ll answer back.