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Knife safety in the kitchen

Most people do not know the correct way to handle a knife, whether in the kitchen or in some other daily use.

I have worked in a kitchen as a chef for 25 years and it never ceases to amaze me how carelessly people handle a knife; one of the most used and dangerous tools in the kitchen. A knife is not a toy and should not be used as such. Always respect a knife. It is also not a can, bottle or jar opener. It is also not a screwdriver, as this can damage the tip of the blade and possibly slip and injure the user.

Always hold a knife in your dominant hand. If you are right-handed, hold the knife in your right hand. Also, if you are left-handed, you will hold the knife in your left hand. You should always have the angle of the blade away from you. Never cut anything in the direction of your body, as you have a higher chance of cutting yourself.

Never cut anything while holding it in your hand. Always use a cutting board with a damp cloth underneath when cutting, chopping, or dicing. This will prevent the board from sliding or shifting on the counter.

Also remember to keep your knives sharp at all times, as a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife. A dull knife will jump or slide off the item it is cutting and possibly cause serious injury to the user. That is why it is important to have a whetstone or knife sharpener.

Most people do not know the correct way to pass a knife to another person. Some people will hold the knife by the blade while others will hold it by the handle. Each of these methods is incorrect. What happens if someone collides with the person who receives or passes the knife? It is an accident that is waiting to happen. The only correct way to pass a knife to another person is to lay it flat on a table with the edge of the blade facing away from the other person so they can pick it up themselves.

When walking through the kitchen, you never carry a loose knife in front of you. The only way to carry a knife in the kitchen if necessary is by the handle, on the side of the leg with the sharp edge to the back.

You should always hand wash your knives after each use. Never put a knife in the dishwasher or sink with soapy water, as someone could reach in and cut themselves without knowing there was a knife there.

Make sure you always use the correct knife for whatever job you are doing. Paring knives for skinning or cleaning supplies, a chef’s knife for chopping or dicing, and a knife for slicing. Serrated knives should only be used for slicing bread or sandwiches.

Always store your knives properly when not in use. The best is a knife block or magnetic rack. If you must store your knives in a drawer, be sure to store them in a separate compartment away from other utensils.

On a final note, if you ever drop a knife, don’t try to catch it. I cannot tell you how many accidents I have seen as a result of this. Drop it down and rest completely before picking it up. Always stay focused on your task without distractions when using a knife.

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