Bad knife technique.

Joined Sep 21, 2001
My big pet peeve- people who cut things cradled in their hand. If it is an employee of mine, I correct them right then and there. I ticked off my FOL a month or so ago after watching him cut a bagel with a bread knife aimed toward his hand by telling him of my few experiences of knife/ hand accidents (slashes and punctures) while he did it... He told me that he had always cut a bagel that way and he was OK with the risk factor. Then the other day I happened to be home and my wife is there watching Martha Stewart and what is she doing? Cutting a shortcake cradled in her hand with a big breadknife aimed towards her palm. And there might even be someone out there watching thinking that they will do it just like Martha and take their brand new Henckel breadknife and cut through a shortcake, hand and all....
Joined Jan 5, 2001
I saw her dicing an avocado half in its skin the same way, with a sharp paring knife aimed straight at the palm of her hand. She should at least tell people to do this with a butter knife...
Joined Sep 21, 2001
I saw a guy once who decided to spear the pit out of an avocado with a boning knife. He put the blade right through the seam in the middle of the pit and skewered himself...ouch.
Joined Feb 21, 2001
I don't know...I routinely core apples with a v cut while holding them in the palm of my hand. But I hike way up on the blade of an appropriately sized paring knife, not a 10" Henckel. But having seen cuts to the bone with a serrated bread knife, no, I don't hold a bagel that way. I used to think it was fun to speed slice mushrooms with a boning knife while badly hungover, but a miss is guaranteed to raise a skin flap on the holding hand. I spent much time in bandages early on in my career. Now, I'm more careful, I hope.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I picked up that nasty habit in my mother's kitchen. Her knives were so crappy and dull that it wasn't terribly risky. Between my left palm and my right thumb, I had a portable chopping system! :eek:

Now that I have a nice set of Henckels, I use the chopping board and try my best to curl my fingers under.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Just the other day, one of the chefs I work with, at my new job, tossed a kid a $1 bill and told him to go buy some knife skills!!! LOL!!!:D :D :D
Joined Oct 28, 1999
I find with my culinary students that they pick up the "hand-as-cutting-board" method at home. It takes quite the effort to break the habit. However, injuries are a reality, so practice, practice, practice! Many of them will yell accross the kitchen "Hey, are your fingers curled under?!" They take injuries seriosly (probably because I go on a tantrum when anybody gets knicked!)
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Knife skills are one of the most important aspects of being a good chef . I remember when I first was a dishwasher I was enthralled by the ability of my european chef bosses to use there knives as extensions of there own hands . I myself practiced long and hard to replicate and even surpass these skills and this is what sets me apart from many chefs and has also given me the ability to run lower food costs . Safety is the main issue . How can you be counted upon if you use the wrong technique and injure yourself when you are needed most . Machismo has nothing to do with it ! Use proper technique and perfect it . Learn the method slowly and then progress your speed untill you are comfortable . Not all are destined to be display knife chefs so just be safe and cook good food . My 2 cents , Doug.................... ;) ;)
Joined Nov 29, 2001
I grew up down the block from a bagel shop, ate bagels constantly, and always cut bagels in my hand. For me it was the norm. Eventually, I began cutting a bagel by resting it on the cutting board on its end, holding it with my left hand (by fingertips) and slicing down the bagel firmly.

Recently at the office, I watched a co-worker slice a bagel toward his palm, while engaged in conversation with someone, looking at the other person. Two weeks prior, another co-worker sliced open her hand with the same serious, serrated knife.

Responsible cooking show hosts nearly always mention that you should never cut in the direction of your hand. The Tamales were notorious for this, especially Feniger.

All we can do is remark about a poor habit and hope the person takes our advice. They may not, until they cut themselves.
Joined Oct 21, 2003
"I myself practiced long and hard to replicate and even surpass these skills and this is what sets me apart from many chefs and has also given me the ability to run lower food costs . "

please explain to me how your knife skills lower your food costs
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Sure jpdchef , labor cost first . The more time you have to spend or have an employee spend doing a job costs money.
Say for example your pantry prep involves
a lexon of house salad , dressings , tomato and onion slices , sliced and grated cheeses , diced shallots , garlic , lemon wedges and stars ,parsley , cilantro
and chives to name just a few of the tasks. So someone with good knife skills can accomplish these tasks in maybe 1/2 of the time . There is a saving in labor and food cost as well as increasing the quality of the food you serve . The biggest saving and quality improvement is in the meat , poultry and fish department . You purchase the best raw products and prep them in house .This saves you a lot of money and can realy increase the quality of the products also .
So the bottom line is to buy the best raw ingredients and quickly prep them in house . Good luck , Doug.............
Joined Nov 13, 2003
i work in a kitchen where as many of you can probably also say "common sense does not run rampant!" one of the other chefs likes to hold rolls in his hand when he cuts them (for bread pudding). he has cut himself on several occasions. the last time he ended up with 8 stitches! so what did he do a few days ago.... you guessed it he was cutting rols again and again he cut his hand! i couldnt resist telling him that even lab rats learn the second time! anyways my piont is that all we can do is explain the propper way to use these instriments of destruction/art and hope that our words do not fall upon deaf ears. be safe everyone! :chef:
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Oh , I forgot to mention one of the biggest savings in knife skills is safety and lost time accidents ( Workers Comp Claims) .
If you run a biz you know what I mean .:bounce: :bounce:
Joined May 1, 2001
I can tell exactly how many times I've ignored basic knife safety -- I just count the scars!
Joined Feb 9, 2004
i must admit that i do cut buns in the palm of my hand but i NEVER ever let myself get distracted.
Also i do not cut it all the way. I leave a little bit and then reverse my grip and continue the rest of the cut into the air.

Why not get a cutting board for it?

Too much trouble just to cut ONE bun
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