The Right Cutting Technique: The Claw Grip
Being a great home cook has less to do with creating fancy dishes and more to do with good technique – starting with proper knife skills. And the one particular technique that chefs emphasise again and again? The claw grip.
Easy to learn, the claw grip is an extremely effective cutting technique used to prepare food quickly, efficiently and safely. Here is our step-by-step guide on how to master this skill.
HOW TO HOLD YOUR KNIFE
Before getting into the details of the claw grip, it is important to learn the safe way to handle your chef’s knife. A proper grip ensures that you maintain absolute control and have an excellent range of motion.
Place the lower three fingers of your hand around the handle, with your middle finger on the bolster.
Then clasp the blade of the knife, on the left and right side, with your thumb and index finger.
This is how you hold the knife safely. It will not slip away from you and it will allow you to aim the blade and guide it precisely.
HOW TO USE THE CLAW GRIP
Now focus on your other hand - the one which will hold your vegetables, fruit or meat in place. Your fingertips should be pointing towards the inside of your hand (like a ‘claw’). In relation to the blade, your thumb and little finger should be safely behind the three middle fingers, preventing any accidents.
When chopping, set the knife close up against the ‘claw’ so that the side of the blade lightly touches the fingers when cutting, using the most protruding knuckles as a guide and cutting straight down from this point.
Move the cook’s knife straight up and down along the fingers with the tip of the knife always staying on the cutting board. You are aiming for the knife to make a rocking movement.
At the same time, keep moving the food towards the blade using your thumb. Take a look at our video for a more in-depth look at this process.
You’ll need a bit of practice before you get it right. The important thing is not to tense up. Stay relaxed and start the rocking up and down movement slowly at first, as you get into the routine, you will get faster.