Cooking requires various tools to use. One of the most commonly used kitchen essentials is the knife. Since cooking means chopping, cutting, and slicing, knives prepare all ingredients needed for a dish. Knives also vary in types and use. But usually, we reach out for a chef’s knife. If you have a limited kitchen countertop and only need one or two knives, then a chef’s knife is the best choice. This article is your complete guide on how to buy a chef’s knife.
What Is a Chef’s Knife?
A chef’s knife is used for food preparation. You can use it to chop and cut almost all kinds of food for convenient cooking. Generally, it is an all-purpose knife you can use for all kitchen needs.
A chef’s knife, also known as a French knife, has a straight edge with a curved blade that ranges from 6 to 14 inches. The curved edge allows easy rocking motion when chopping. You can utilize the spine to scrape down your ingredients and the wide, flat side for crushing garlic. The length depends on the user since you can choose which one is more comfortable for you.
Choosing the Right Chef’s Knife
Although there are many types of knives for specific uses, most home cooks still prefer to use a chef’s knife for food preparation. How to buy a chef’s knife is an important skill you need to learn to get the best at the most reasonable price. Remember, there are many affordable yet high-quality knives available in the market today.
Many brands offer great design options inspired by Japanese, German, and American knife versions. However, before you learn how to buy a chef’s knife, you first need to keep in mind the following considerations:
Professional knives usually measure about 12 inches in length. However, home cooks might feel uncomfortable using such a big knife. Thus, it is recommended to use a length of utmost 8 inches for residential kitchens.
Before deciding what knife to purchase, some knives are a bit heavy, but if used for chopping meat for a good 20 minutes, it still would do the trick. On the other hand, if you often use a knife and spend some time chopping vegetables, then opt for a lighter knife for more comfort.
Another consideration in finding the best chef’s knife is the grip. You can visit your local shop, try different knives, and see if the grip is secure and comfortable. Make sure that the handle is not too big or too small.
What to Look for in a Chef’s Knife
Aside from size, weight, and grip, here are the basic features you need to look into if you want to learn how to buy a chef’s knife.
- Durability. Knives are used almost every day. Especially for those who love cooking, a knife is your kitchen partner. Thus, you have to make sure that the material you purchase can withstand extended usage. The hardest knives are usually made from carbon steel. Carbon steel minimizes wear and tear, which can easily be observed in a stainless steel knife. However, carbon steel is a bit brittle. So be careful not to drop your carbon steel chef’s knife.
- Cutting Ability. Since knives are specifically made for cutting, you always have to check your chosen knife’s performance and cutting ability. The right knife should hold well despite use. Carbon steel does not dull very quickly, unlike stainless knives. The angle of the blade edge also plays an essential part. The smaller the angle, the easier it is to use in cutting smaller portions of food. This makes it a more versatile knife compared to those made from stainless steel.
- Budget. Stainless steel is far more affordable compared to carbon steel. If you have a limited budget, opt for a top-quality stainless chef’s knife. Some brands offer high-quality performance even without a hefty price tag. However, if you have a spare budget to spend, carbon steel knives are a significant investment to make.
- Maintenance. Stainless steel is known for its rust and stain-resistant qualities. Thus, in terms of maintenance, it is the easiest to handle. Just throw it in the dishwasher, and you’re good to go. However, carbon steel tends to corrode without proper TLC. If you’re not up the trouble, then opt for a stainless steel knife instead.
Aside from being a reliable kitchen partner, knives can also be a personal tool. Your various preferences regarding size, grip, and features can determine the right knife for you. Learning how to buy a chef’s knife only serves as your guide or starting point. Eventually, you can choose the chef’s knife that will accommodate your kitchen usage and cutting needs. Here’s how to learn more about Chef’s knife.