The Anatomy of a Knife
A knife consists of two main parts: the blade, and the handle. Note that in a well-made knife, the metal that the blade is made of will extend all the way down and through the handle. This part is known as the tang, and offers both balance, and strength to the knife. In a Western-style knife, the metal should also flare out to meet the handle at the heel of the blade. This is known as the bolster, and offers support for your fingers when using the blade grip.
The Handle Grip, Front View
With the handle grip, your hand is completely behind the bolster on the handle itself. It is generally used by beginning cooks, or cooks with exceptionally small hands. It’s comfortable, but offers only limited control when doing precision knife work.
The Handle Grip, Back View
Same grip, from the back. All the fingers are tucked behind the bolster.
The Blade Grip, Front View
The blade grip is the preferred grip for more experienced cooks. Your thumb and forefinger should rest in front of the bolster directly on the blade. It’s a little intimidating, but it offers much better control and balance. This grip may be difficult and/or uncomfortable on cheaper stamped knives that don’t have a bolster.
The Blade Grip, Back View
Same grip, from the back. Notice the first finger is in front of the bolster.
When cutting foods, always place them in a stable position, preferably with a cut surface flat against the cutting board. Guide the knife blade against the food with your free hand. Protect your fingertips by curling them inwards, using your knuckles to guide your knife.
A fine mince requires the use of your free hand. Place the tip of your knife on the cutting board and hold it in place with your free hand. Rock the blade up and down to reduce herbs (or anything else) to a fine mince.