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Knife skills 101: Chef shares tips, tricks to get a grip and slice with ease

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MILWAUKEE -- It's arguably the most important tool you have in your kitchen -- but are you using it correctly? Chef Alisa Malavenda joins Real Milwaukee to help us all get a handle on our knives.

Chef's Knife Handle: Unless you're very unlucky, the part of a chef's knife you'll have the most contact with is the handle. So you'll want to make sure it's comfortable and fits your hand. It shouldn't feel slippery or cause you to have to grip excessively hard.

How to hold a knife:

  • Note that you should be gripping the knife mainly with the thumb and forefinger. If you find that you're tightly clutching the entire handle of the knife, just relax and loosen up. With practice you'll get used to this grip, and soon any other grip will feel very unnatural

Which Part of the Knife to Use:

  • Whole Blade - fast work like mincing herbs/ Use rocking motion
  • Tip- fine work / Drawing to make long thin slices
  • Middle of the blade - Smooth cutting strokes and smaller food like celery. The tip of the blade should touch the cutting board at all times, BUT for larger items like potatoes the tip must come off the board for smooth cutting and safety.
  • Heel- Sturdiest part of the blade used for force items. Hacking up chicken bones, hard Parmesan cheese, butternut squash.Utmost caution required

Knives come in many styles, shapes and sizes, There are 3 basic knives that you should start out with :

  • Chef knife: all purpose knife that comes in sizes from 6-12 inches and used for mincing, chopping, dicing.
  • Pairing knife- 3-4 inches and is used for hand held tasks and trimming vegetables.
  • Serrated slicing knife- this is what you should use to slice any kind of bread and tomatoes.
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