How do you feel about kids using a knife? I know it can be uncomfortable for many adults, but I am a big fan of teaching kids to know to use a knife at an early age. If you want to ease your kids in using a knife you can graduate from using a plastic to-go knife to using a kid-friendly starter knife then on to kitchen knives. Either way, teaching your little chef knife safety is an important skill to build with your little chef.
Here are great tips when introducing your little chef to knife safety skills.
1. Holding a Knife
First, there’s is the pinch grip. Professional chefs will almost always promote holding a knife with a pinch grip where the thumb and forefinger pinch the bottom of the blade. It allows for control and steady the hand when cutting.
Then there’s what I call the pointer grip. It’s when you place an index finger along the top of knife as a way to steady their hand.
Working with my little chef, I have noticed that there he naturally gravitates to the pointer grip. As long as it is safe and he has good control of the knife, I let him use the technique that makes him most comfortable. I suggest practicing both techniques and see what comes naturally to your little chef.
2. Protecting the Fingers
A common safety technique is called “The Claw”. Yes… the first time I heard it I immediately thought of that adorable scene with Jim Carey in the movie, “Liar, Liar”. Similar concept, different purpose. With this technique, your hand is curled into a claw-like shape, with the fingernails resting/holding the food. Keeping your fingers in this position and away from the knife, you run much less risk of a serious injury.
Here’s a great video of our friend and guest sous chef, Chef Sevilla Riley, sharing how to properly use the claw technique.
3. Standing up straight
This may seem like common sense, but I notice that I often have to remind my little chef to stand up straight when cutting or cooking. It’s easy for a little chef to get too comfortable while cooking. However, leaning on your elbows (like below) while cutting can put you off balance and cause you to slip.
It’s important to stand up straight and most importantly stay focused while using a knife and other cutting tools.
Try practicing your knife safety skills with a few fruits like bananas and apples or vegetables like cucumbers and peppers. Tells us how it goes!