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Do you stop injuring yourself after a while?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've just started a cooking course, it is designed for apprentices but I am not an apprentice (although I am looking for work as a kitchen hand in a kitchen). I am the most inexperienced one in the class, and on my second day, we had a class delegated to cutting skills. I cut myself four times. They weren't deep, they didn't even hurt that much, but they did bleed a fair bit so I went through quite a few band aids. Anyway, I study music elsewhere and I am a singer and also a pianist. I cancelled my piano lesson for the week and my teacher was concerned about my hands. It's hard to play when there are three band aids on your hand, also hard to to play when the cuts are hitting against the keys ... Nobody else in my class seemed to hurt themselves, but other people told me that cuts are the mark of a chef, they told me that after a while you don't really care(as in you aren't bothered by the pain) - I answered that I don't care that much either, the only reason why I ran for band aids was the bleeding... and the reason why I care about the cuts is the fact that I'm a pianist. Anyway, do you stop injuring yourself after a while?

post #2 of 10

4 cuts in one day seems like a lot.

What cuts were you doing then you did them?

Is your knife SHARP?
Keep practicing, use the claw. Most likely if you're cutting yourself that often then either your technique is very, very poor or you're trying to go too fast.

 

Slow down.

 

Any time that you can save by chopping faster is more than lost when you cut yourself and have to go patch up

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

My knife is razor sharp. I generally cut myself when I am using the paring knife. I didn't apply the claw at all times, people working next to me as well as my teacher noticed this and pointed it out, but funnily enough I didn't cut myself from not using the claw and I'm probably lucky in that regard. I cut myself when I was peeling the onions with the paring knife, I also cut myself when I tried to get rid of the garlic that was stuck on my chef's knife (I was crushing the garlic)... I cut myself when I was peeling the orange with a peeler too (I don't like the design that was in the set I was given, I might use the one I have at home). I can't remember where the other cut came from... anyway I think I was working too fast - everybody else seemed so ahead of me though. Thanks for the tips, it made me stop and think a little.  

post #4 of 10

I still cut myself with my veg peeler more than I care to admit.   :(

 

Don't remember my last cut from a knife though ><  (knock on wood)

post #5 of 10

Slow down.. Slow way down

 

I haven't cut myself in probably 4 or 5 months now. Last time I did was an idiot mistake. Using one of those garbage rented knives to break down some broccoli heads and went up to the line to get some butter, picked up my Wusthof to take a knob off, went through quickly in to my thumb. Forgot how much it stings lol

 

 

Burns though... That's a different story. I burn myself a few times a week

post #6 of 10

You're technique with the paring knife is likely wrong, too.  

Whatever you do, always stick with proper technique - when you're cooking at home, and all the time.  Pay attention and take it slow.  The speed will come as you become more and more comfortable with the proper techniques.  Don't compare yourself to anyone else.

post #7 of 10

Felt the need to chime in here. Cuts and burns are part of the job. It's technique and experience that mitigate those incidents. Even with the best technique and years of experience, you will probably still get the occasional cut and burn. The best advice, as others have given you, is to FORCE yourself to use the proper technique until it's second-nature, and to only proceed at a speed you are comfortable with. My executive chef, who has been cooking for 20+ years, nearly severed his finger yesterday simply slicing bison into strips for grinding. Why? We needed it DONE an hour ago, and he was rushing. If you try to go faster than you are able, you will injure yourself.


In summary,

1. Use the correct technique and equipment ALWAYS, even if it feels uncomfortable.

2. Proceed at a speed where you have JUST enough time to stop yourself from an injury (e.g. if you are rough chopping carrots, don't go so fast you can't see where your knife is landing).

3. All that being said, speed is important. Build your confidence, technique, and ability to enable expeditious knife skills.

post #8 of 10
Hey, so I have been an apprentice for 2 years now, and have found that I pretty much don't cut myself with knives anymore, peelers, graters, corners of plastic things, now that's a different story and the same goes for burns, 1-2 times a week you will burn yourself, I have found that rolling my sleeves down a little more for service helps with stopping some burns on your wrists etc, although this only works if you have long sleeves on your jackets
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey Shu, good to know that - cuts on my hands and fingers are harder to handle than burns on my wrists (mainly because it doesn't interfere with my other life as a musician). Where I study our uniform is long sleeved, I wonder if your hands also begin to tolerate the hot better when you are in the kitchen. My hands can generally tolerate heat well since I worked as a barista last semester and I also habitually apply heat to my hands before playing on the piano - the heat has been hotter and hotter because my hands have been used to it. Thanks for the advice everybody, it has been helpful. 

post #10 of 10

Yeh as some people said slow yourself down don't try to race against the others and remember about where you place your fingers, if you making tiny match sticks use the tip of the smallest knife with your thumb on 1 side and your midde or second finger on the other to keep it held then slice it across slowly till you get past your fingers then slice the rest of the way more quickly, when i am cutting things in half like vegetables i use the small knife and slide it across the top with the tip not cutting all way through and i do that 3 or 4 times till it's cut in half, it's the saftest way really than forcing your knife fight in with the palm of your hand especially if it's a hard potatoe as it can also go flying off the table lmao (almost done that a couple of times till i worked out to use the tip lol), it's the same thing with onions really, we get told to cut them along the lines of the onion as best as we can then across the way, i use the tip for that too then when give it a dice over i put my palm flat on top of the chef knife so my fingers are not pointing down into the knifes blade, this should stop you getting cut, as for peelers cut away from yourself by placing the the potatoe or whatever your peeling onto the board and use a blade peeler not a knife or one of those other type of peelers, hope that helps if you haven't already learned it.

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