If you've ever held a kitchen knife, you've probably made the mistake of holding it the wrong way—wrapping your five fingers around the handle.
This is the way most first-timers (and even some experienced cooks) hold their knives and, while it certainly can get the job done, this grip takes away precision and leads to a tired wrist after extended use.
The Right Way To Hold Your Kitchen Knife
The superior way of holding your knife is called the "pinch grip". It consists of using your thumb and index finger to pinch the blade area closest to the handle, rather than holding your knife like a sword.
This grip gives you more control and precision when cutting, and decreases the strain on your wrist since most knives are balanced around the pinch area (i.e. their center of mass is located in the pinch area), especially the good ones.
Think about writing. If you hold a pen far from the point, you lose precision and comfort. But if you hold it closer to the point, then it becomes much easier to move the pen around and produce good handwriting.
The same applies when holding a knife. By holding your knife closer to the blade you achieve more control and ease of movement.
Use Your Other Hand Too!
For cutting, using your other hand is also important. While your dominant hand controls the motion of your knife, your weaker hand moves and holds down your food when cutting.
A popular technique among chefs is curling back their fingers to form a claw-like shape. In this way, their fingertips/nails hold down the food while tucking away from danger. With every cutting motion, the knuckles will keep the knife away from the curled fingers.
It's no secret that without a well-balanced knife, you'll tire out your wrist as it tries to compensate for the uneven weight. That's why it's very important you use a knife that has its center of mass in the pinch area, when you hold your knife.
After all, it doesn't matter how good your grip is if your knife is badly balanced.
There are several options out there, but the one we recommend (admittedly with bias) is the Kizaru Kanji Chef 3-Set.
This set comes with a chef knife, a paring knife and a bread knife—the 3 essential knives every kitchen should have. Each of them is well-balanced and provides a comfortable grip for all cutting tasks.
You can check it out here.
With that said, there are other options out there in the market. Whatever you use, the most important thing to take away from this article is that holding the knife correctly is an instant improvement to your performance and stamina in the kitchen.