The chef knife is one of the most famous and widely used kitchen tools in the world. If you have ever walked into a kitchen, whether household or professional, you have certainly seen one resting somewhere on the counter. The reason why chef knives have become so ubiquitous in the last few years is, quite simply, their versatility. There are few kitchen tools that are capable of accomplishing as many kitchen tasks as this type of knife.
Ideally, a good chef’s knife should feel like a natural extension of your arm. That is why we have decided to compile a small list of tips, tricks and advice that will help you find the best possible chef knife. Here is what you should know before choosing one.
Read Reviews and Check as Many Stores as Possible
The first step you should take in your knife searching endeavors is doing as much research as possible. Look for cookware or cutlery stores with wide assortments of knife models that let clients test them on the spot. Next up, simply ask for a few samples, a cutting board and do a test run. Simulate a few basic cutting motions and try to determine whether or not it fits comfortably in your hand.
Another good rule of thumb is to seek salespeople who take your own personal preferences into consideration and make recommendations according to them. Do not fall prey to employees who try to sell you a particular knife right from the get-go.
If you are still not convinced after paying a visit to your preferred store, you can just as easily browse the internet for specialized and informed articles that cover this subject. For example, you can check out this website called Chef Knives Expert, a highly appreciated online source dedicated to all matters related to knifemaking.
General Composition of a Chef’s Knife
While the majority of chef knives share a few similarities in terms of features, this does not stop manufacturers from coming up with novel concepts and designs. But before dropping a few hundred dollars on a custom-made Japanese chef knife, it is best to familiarize yourself with the basic features of a standard, commercial chef knife:
- Generally speak9ing, this is the thickest and broadest part of the edge (unless it is a Japanese-style chef knife). It is mainly used for tasks that require brute force, such as cutting tendons or squashing thick fruits.
- A good chef knife will come razor sharp right out of the box. You can easily test a knife’s sharpness by cutting a piece of paper.
- A handle should instill users with a feeling of safety and security. It should feel neither strain nor too slippery.
- This is the top portion of the blade, and it usually features polished, sharp and rough squared edges.
- Also known as the shank, shoulder, or collar, the bolster is the thick part where the material of the handle and the blade itself intersect. In the case of some models, the bolster is the thing that provides the knife with stability and strength.
General Aspects To Look For
To reiterate a previous point, a chef knife should feel comfortable, like a natural extension of your hand. It should inspire confidence, equilibrium and balance, not instill fear. What feels natural and comfortable in your hand might feel awkward to someone else. Therefore, during the testing phase, taking these following factors into consideration will help you determine how well you respond to the physical characteristics of the knife:
- This is one of the most important factors to take into account simply because it can represent the difference between an effective and fast cutting session and an awkward attempt. In this case, you will have to choose between two options: hefty and lightweight chef knives. Some people believe the former is better because you can use the weight of the knife to cut with more force, while others believe the latter is objectively superior because lightweight knives provide users with more agility and maneuverability. You will have to decide for yourself which one feels better for you.
- In order to judge the balance of the knife, simply grab it by the handle and see in which direction the weight falls. If the weight falls toward the back of the handle, it is safe to assume that the knife is not a right fit for you.
- This aspect is entirely subjective, but admittedly, there is an argument to be made about one size being better than the other. In terms of popularity, the 8-inch variant is probably the most widely used out of all of them. As for the rest, a 6-inch knife can offer some degree of agility but lacks in terms of cutting power, while a 10-inch is good for cutting thick chunks of meat but feels awkward for people with small hands.
With so many varieties and models on the market, some people might have a hard time finding the perfect chef knife. However, by browsing a wide variety of stores, reading as many product reviews as possible, and familiarizing yourself with how a good chef knife should look like, you will have an easier time finding one suited to your needs. Make sure to read through the tips presented in this article, and it will all become much clearer.