Knife Safety in the Kitchen

Most people do not know the proper way to handle a knife, whether it be in the kitchen or some other everyday use.

I have worked in a kitchen as a chef for 25 years now 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 it should not be used as one. Always respect a knife. It is also not a can, bottle or jar opener. It is also not a screwdriver, as this can cause damage to 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. Likewise, if you are left-handed you would hold the knife in your left hand. You should always have the angle of the blade away from you. Never slice anything in the direction of your body, as you have a better chance of cutting yourself.

Never cut anything while holding it in your hand. Always use a cutting board with a damp cloth underneath it whenever you are slicing, chopping, or dicing. This will stop the board from slipping or moving on the counter top.

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 slip off the item your are cutting and possibly cause serious injury to the user. That is why it is a important to own a honing stone or a knife sharpener.

Most people do not know the proper way to pass a knife to someone else. Some people will hold the knife by the blade while others will hold it by the handle. Each of these methods is incorrect. What if someone was to bump into the person receiving or passing the knife, this is an accident waiting to happen. The only proper way to pass a knife to someone else, is to lie 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 knife loosely in front of you. The only way to carry a knife in the kitchen if you must, is by the handle, at the side of your leg with the sharp edge facing the back.

You should always hand wash your knives yourself after each use. Never put a knife in the dishwasher or sink with sudsy water as someone may reach in and cut themselves not knowing a knife was there.

Make sure you always use the proper knife for whatever job you are doing. Paring knives for coring or cleaning products, a chef knife for chopping or dicing and a slicing knife for slicing. Serrated knives are only to be used for slicing bread or sandwiches.

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

On a final note, if you ever drop a knife, do not try and catch it. I cannot tell you how many accidents I have seen as a result of this. Let it fall and come to a complete rest before you pick it up. Always stay focused on your task without any distractions when using a knife.

Source by Stephen Mazur

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