You may think this is a no-brainer topic but believe me it's not.
Holding a chef's knife incorrectly can cause wrist pain and will
tire you more quickly. First let's look at the proper hold for
The thumb and index finger are on the blade and the
last 3 fingers grasp the handle. This hold gives you more control
over the knife. When chopping you must bear down on the knife to
make your cuts. Holding the knife like this puts your wrist power
closer to the item being chopped, hence it is easier to use.
Lastly, all good chef's knives are balanced. This
knife's center of gravity is at the bolster. The bolster if the part
of the knife between the handle and where the blade begins to take
it's flat shape (Shown to the right between the two blue
Now notice above that the bolster is right at the
2nd finger; this is the power center of your hand. You wind up with
the knife weight evenly distributed (comfortable) and your
wrist/hand power is at its' greatest.
This is a forged knife which has a bolster. A
Stamped knife has no bolster, but, you would hold it the same way.
Now keep in mind that this is the method for chopping. When using
the knife for other tasks you may need to slide your hand back to
grasp only the handle.
Here's a video clip I found that shows the technique. Notice the
hold, and also notice the index finger of the hand holding the Zucchini.
It curves slightly in towards the hand. This method keeps your
fingertip protected from the knife's edge.
Here for the video.