Chef Knives – The Guide
It is said that knives were originally made out of necessity. They quickly became an essential item for survival as well as for preparing food and providing shelter.
Back in the Stone Age era, knives were made of flint that could easily be scaled into shape. Later in history, man utilised both copper and bronze to create knives.
Today, knives still continue to be a valuable tool especially in the culinary domain. Good quality knives can be purchased from world renowned manufacturers.
Best Chef Knives on the Market
The most important tool of any culinary minded folk is unquestionably the knife. A good knife will easily last for 30 years, no matter how regular it is put to use.
Countless chefs prefer to use Japanese knives for their cooking as opposed to the European versions.
A number of reasons are as follows:
- Japanese knives are more durable and use a better quality steel. The edge stays sharp longer as compared to that of the German knives.
- Japanese knives contain a variety of alloys and steels depending on the usage of the particular knife. They believe that a knife should be harmonious to all five senses.
- The thickness and weight of Japanese knives are much lighter and thinner compared to German produced knives.
How to Choose a Chef Knife
There are particular reasons you need to consider in buying and choosing the right knife for you. Buying a chef’s knife is like buying any other piece of cutlery. These are the qualities you need to consider before buying one:
- Type of Blade
There are four different kinds of metal used in making a knife’s blade.
- Carbon Steel – It’s very tough and has a great edge but tends to quickly rust when not in use. They get discoloured as well once in contact with acidic food like citrus fruits and tomatoes. Be sure to clean and dry them after use and must be taken care of to avoid discoloration.
- Stainless Steel – It’s less effort to take care of them because they don’t quickly go rusty. However, it is challenging to keep a good sharp edge.
- High Carbon Stainless Steel – All praises go out to this kind of metal. It is tough, doesn’t discolour and holds a significant edge. It is an excellent choice of a knife blade, but it is much expensive compared to other chef knife options that uses other kind of metal.
- Titanium – Knives that are made of titanium are much lighter, holds its edge and is more wear resistant. It is more flexible compared to other chef knives. It’s a better choice for boning and filleting.
- Size of Blade – Chef knives come in different sizes and lengths range from 15 cm to 20 cm long and 2.5 cm wide. The length of the blade depends on your personal preference. You need to be generally comfortable holding the knife.
- A 20 cm chef knife is a good way to start your cooking journey. At first it may feel too heavy and awkward in your hand but as you go along with it, it will come easy and natural already.
- Find a knife that has a secure grip and a good feel in your hand so you have a balance on it and the handle should be riveted to it. No matter how expensive and sharp the edge of your knife is when you’re not comfortable in using it then it’s useless.
Chef Knives for the Beginner
It can be a little problematic in choosing the right knife when you first set out on your culinary journey. When starting out, it is a good idea not to invest in expensive professional knives. It may be a better option to get inexpensive budget chef knives and expand your arsenal as time goes by.
Be sure to choose a knife that is right for you. Hold the knife and feel it with your hands. It needs to be comfortable and sit well in your hand. Remember, one knife that may be right for one person may not be good for you. Look for the knife handle, size, blade and weight of the knife. Everything should be comfortable when you start using it.
Chef Knives for the Pro
A good knife is a chef’s best friend. If you’re using a knife on a regular basis, it may be beneficial to invest a little more into it. Don’t get put off when you see the price tag. A good knife will last longer and is by all means a valuable investment. Purchase a knife that can do more than one task; instead of buying an individual tool for each job.
Buy a knife that is made of high quality stainless steel. There should be no joints between the handle and the blade and the grip should be comfortable on your hand. The appearance of the blade should be smooth and polished and the cutting edge should remain its sharpness over time.
Where to Buy Chef’s Knives
There are plenty of sources for purchasing good quality of chef’s knives. It is better to check your local kitchen supply shops. Chefs Armoury have an extensive range of Japanese knives on offer, Chefs Hat of Cecil Street, South Melbourne or the King of Knives could very well be worthy of a visit. If you still haven’t found the right knife for you, broaden your selection and look for it online. There are plenty of online shops that sell high quality of chef’s knife that vary from different kind, uses and prices.
Whether you are looking in store or online you will find a vast selection of knives available depending on your particular requirements.
According to Life Hacker – Australia you only need four knives on hand – they could very well be right.
How to Take Care of Your Knife
A good knife is just as important as any other tool you have in your kitchen. And one of the most precious possession of a chef on his kitchen is his set of knives. A good knife allows you to work more efficiently and appropriately, that is why it is essential to take care of them.
- Sharpen and hone your knife regularly.
- Avoid the dishwasher at any cost. It is better to hand wash your knives.
- Never use the blade of the knife when scraping the ingredients off of the chopping board – use the back of the knife instead.
- Store the knife properly. A magnetic knife grid is perfect for any kitchen.
When using your knives be sure to do so in a safe manner – it is important not to be using them among clutter. Furthermore ensure that the chopping board is appropriately set up.
Ensure that the right knife is used for the particular task that you are carrying out, my favourite knife to use when we are catering is the Mac brand of knives.
Image thanks to Manu