- Chef Knives, Part 1
- Chef Knives Part 2
- Chef Knives Part 3
- Chef Knives Part 4
Chef Knives, Part 1
Anyone who knows me knows of my love for my knives. All through Culinary School my knives where an extension of my arm. My knife bag replaced my purse and my Christmas wishes soon turned into forged stainless steel or a three sided wet stone.
I am often invited to friends and relatives to cook and I am immediately kicking myself for not bringing my knives. I cringe as I carve a perfectly roasted Duck or roasted chicken, as I hack at it with a serrated Ginsu knife. Rare standing rib roast looks like shredded beef after several attempts of carving it with a knife no sharper than my butter knives, I have often thought I might have been better off grabbing their steak knife.
Needless to say I am the first to recommend the perfect knife for friends, family and any stranger willing to listen to me spout poetic about my love.
So what type of knife do I recommend to these confused souls?
First, I try to educate them about knives in general. I always recommend a Chef’s Knife, if picked properly it will replace several of your kitchen gadgets. A good Chef Knife will run you over a $100, but it should last you forever.
A Chef’s Knife in general is 8-12 inches in length and should be forged with a full tang. What am I talking about? The tang is the metal of the blade running from tip all the way through the handle, this gives the knife proper balance and strength. If it is not full tang, don’t even think about it.
I don’t recommend the traditional wooden handles, they look great, but harbor bacteria, go for a composite plastic, they are also great for gripping.
I also prefer a knife with a nice heel, no I am not talking shoes. The heel is the curved wide part by the handle, this is great for gripping & controlling the knife and it is perfect for rocking the blade.
Come back to see what my favorite knives are in Part 2. Subscribe to my newsletter.
Chef Knives Part 2
People often want to know do I prefer German, American, French, or Japanese Knives. Well, I went to a French Cordon Bleu school and my first set of knives provided with my books were German, I still own those Babies. All of my knives since purchased have been German. I have held, looked at, read about, and drooled over other brands, but I am very fond of my German Knives.
The German knife is typically:
- full tanged
- very comfortable handles
- easy to maintain the sharpness
- very strong
- stainless steel
- well balanced
They are heavier then Japanese knives, now for a lot of people that is not a plus, but I love a heavy well balanced German Blade.
Why? I am not a big male chef with meaty wrists, I am small framed female with small wrists, a heavy knife helps me put some cutting force into my cuts.
If you are going to purchase a Chef Knife let it rock back in forth in your grip and get a good feel for the balance and weight. My favorite German Knives are Wusthof and Henckel. Thanks Honey, for my favorite Henckel.
Chef Knives Part 3
Japanese Chef Knives have taken over the knife market. They are beautiful knives and are made of several layers of steel beaten down to a fine point. They are a soft blade making them sharper and easier to sharpen than German. Their handles are usually metal as well. Most Japanese brands have no bolster so they are a lot lighter. I find the lack of bolster and a smaller tang throws off the balance, but like I stated earlier I like heavy knives. So handle a German and Japanese side by side and find which fits your hand better. The more popular Japanese Chef Knives are Misono, Masahiro, Masamoto, and Shun
Come back for part 4 and read about who has the strongest knife blade.
This image is from http://hubpages.com/hub/How_to_sharpen_your_kitchen_knives
Chef Knives Part 4
I recently had a client ask me about the new ceramic knives, and to be totally honest I had no idea what she was talking about, so of course the first thing I did was research and call all my friends to ask them. The client was saying she heard it was the strongest and sharpest knife ever, but the kicker was she said it never needed to be sharpened. I immediately thought “yea, right.”
This image is from http://www.purewellbeing.com
So, I went on line to Google it, I can say it’s a very pretty knife. They are made out of Zirconia, which is suppose to be the second hardest material to diamonds. It is stated that it is very sharp and holds an edge longer than any other Chef Knife. It has a very dense blade with few pores, which means it cuts down on cross contamination.
It is brittle and thin and tends to chip and any culinary gadget that chips is not a good kitchen choice, several other people agreed on
Also it was mentioned that you need a special sharpener to sharpen it, so I guess it does need to get sharpened after all.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on your knives.