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How do you use a chef's knife?

The chef's knife is one of the most famous knives. A European chef's knife is characterized by the pointed tip and convex edge. How do you accurately use a chef's knife, and what do use it for?

How to use a chef's knife?

When using a chef's knife it is important that the knife stays in contact with the cutting board. You don't need to lift the knife. A chef's knife is meant for cutting, not chopping. That is why this knife needs to stay in place during use. The product you want to cut is moved with your free hand.

Your little finger and thumb to be precise. You hold them behind the three bent middle fingers. Place the tip of the knife on the cutting board, in front of the ingredients you wish to cut. You lift the back of the knife after which you cut the ingredients underneath the knife. You place the bent knuckles against the blade. Now you make a rocking movement with the knife but always make sure the tip of the knife stays in place on the cutting board.

Advantages of the convex edge

A European chef's knife is always enhanced with a convex edge, compared to the Santoku, the Japanese chef's knife. The convex edge ensures that you can easily make the rocking movement as you use the knife.

What do you use the chef's knife for?

The chef's knife is an incredibly versatile knife. You can use it to cut vegetables, meat and fish. It's also ideal for chopping herbs, crushing peppercorns and peeling garlic cloves. There are different sizes of chef's knives. It starts at 10.5 cm and can become as big as 30.6 cm.

Using a chef's knife

The correct positioning of your hands and fingers

The hammer grip is used most often when using a chef's knife. Hold the handle with four fingers, and place your thumb against your index finger. Another frequently-used grip is the blade grip. For it you hold the handle with three fingers, placing your thumb and index finger against the blade. Make sure the index finger is bent. As such you won't cut yourself.

Maintaining a chef's knife

A chef's knife needs to be maintained. Here you will find some tips to make sure the knife stays in great shape.


It is, of course, easy to pop your chef's knife in your dishwasher, but this is often not the best way to clean a chef's knife. Even if a supplier states that the knife is dishwasher proof it is better to wash it by hand. A knife with a wooden handle will definitely be affected by a dishwasher. A riveted handle will crack at the rivets. The handle can also crack because of the heat.

Also, aggressive detergents in a dishwasher tablet can cause irreparable damage to your knife. Finally, the edge can be damaged because the knife can bump into other kitchen tools in the dishwasher. Wash the knife by hand and dry it immediately after.


Each knife needs to be sharpened in time. Do this in time to prevent frustrations as you prepare your meal. A sharp knife is namely a lot better in use. Here you can read more about sharpening knives and how you can easily do that yourself.

Storing a chef's knife

To make sure your chef's knife stays in great shape it is key you never store it in a kitchen drawer. The knife can get in contact with other hard objects, damaging the edge. Knife guards, however, are a great solution if you still prefer to store your knives in your kitchen drawer. Another great option is a good knife magnet or wooden knife block.