Cutting Safety: The Bridge (method 2 of 3)

Chef Debra with a Cut Glove

Use the Bridge Method of cutting to cut large round foods in half safely. While there is no one best method to cut foods as they vary in size, density, and shape, this post is focused on the “Bridge” method which is helpful for several situations.

Most importantly for the safety of cooks with and without sight loss, the Bridge Method allows the cook to cut round foods in half safely. This is crucial knowledge because food with a flat surface will be safer to cut than food that can roll away from the cook’s grip. It is especially helpful for larger firmer foods and keeps the fingers and thumbs safely out of the way of the blade while allowing plenty of time to place the knife blade precisely where the cook wants to cut. Some recipes call for the cook to “dice potatoes” or ”julienne carrots”.  The goal of such cuts is to allow for even cooking times and attractive shapes of the food. But many cuts start with cutting round foods in half. The bridge method is the safest.

The Bridge Method of cutting

Note: A chef’s knife is the best tool for this method unless the food is small, like a radish or cherry tomato. A blade length of six-inches to eight-inches (not including the handle) will work for most cooks.  If the food is small, a paring knife is a good choice.

Step 1: Place the clean  food you want to cut onto your cutting surface. We recommend a rimmed cutting surface such as a the TBK Work Tray so the cut pieces will be contained into a defined area.  Hold the food in your non dominant hand.

Note: TBK recommends that you wear a Cut Glove on the hand that is holding the food to be cut. It is quite flexible and is made of cut resistant threads that cannot be cut by your knife. Our Cut Glove is also available with a Knife Sharpener because a sharp knife is actually safer than a dull knife.

Step 1 of The Bridge Method for cutting round objects
The Bridge Method Step 1: Holding the food between your thumb and fingertips guide the tip of your knife safely under the bridge formed by your hand and fingers and place on top of the food to be cut.

Step 2: Have your non-dominant hand form a bridge shape, with your four fingers slightly apart to accommodate the food to be cut with all four of your fingertips touching the cutting board on one side of the food. Your palm should be facing downward as you now place your thumb with the tip of your thumb touching the cutting surface on the other side of the food. Your thumb side of the bridge should be closest to your body with the fingertips on the other side. Your hand will naturally form a “bridge” over the food.

Step 3: Gently bring your finger tips and thumb tip towards each other so that the food is now trapped between your fingertips and thumb tip, but still in contact with the cutting surface.

Step 4: Guide the tip of your knife safely under the bridge and place the blade where you want it on top of the food to be cut. For example, if you are cutting a potato, remember the first goal is to cut it in half so you will have a flat surface on both halves of the potato to work with. Maneuver your non dominant hand to be able to hold the food firmly so it cannot roll.

Bridge Method step 2
The Bridge Method Step 2: Place pressure on the handle to push the knife forward with a bit of downward pressure. Chef Debra demonstrates with a tomato.

Step 5: Once the food is firmly secured, place pressure on the handle to push the knife forward keeping the blade in constant contact with the food. You will not push straight down as it is much easier to push forward with a bit of downward pressure, rather than muscling the knife blade straight downward which is never a safe strategy. The motion is much like an airplane that is landing  An airplane touches the ground with its front wheels first, so that although it is still moving forward, the back of the planes wheels will catch up with touching the ground as it still moves forward reducing or eliminating a hard jolt.  When the blade runs out and the fingers that are gripping the knife handle and the back of the blade come close to the food, you can safely draw the knife backward, keeping it in the slit you have cut while keeping a gentle downward pressure to continue the cutting. Repeat this step until the food is halved.

Step 3 of The Bridge Method of cutting
The Bridge Method Step 3: Safely draw the knife backward, keeping it in the slit you have cut while keeping a gentle downward pressure to continue the cutting until the food is halved. Chef Debra demonstrates this technique using a tomato.

Step 6: Now you can safely lift your non-dominent hand straight up into the air away from the food and the knife blade.

Note: It is not the purpose of this article to teach how to large dice, julienne or otherwise fabricate food into specific shapes or sizes.  If learning this is of interest to you, email me at info@theblindkitchen.com and let me know what you would like me to make a video or write about in the future.

Read more about knife safety

This post is part of our series about knife safety. To learn more, read these posts:

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