What is a chef's knife and what is its purpose?
Chef knife is the most common type of knife in any modern kitchen in the world. It is a true multi-purpose knife that can be used in many different ways-cutting, slicing, dicing, crushing, shredding, and shredding. Due to its specific size and design, all these techniques can be handled and mastered with a chef's knife.
It is one of the larger kitchen knives. Usually, it has a fairly large blade, ranging in length from 7 to 8 inches, with a slightly curved blade and a sharp tip. The blade is quite adequate, usually about 1.5 inches wide or even wider. Although you can also find shorter or longer blades-from 6 inches (extremely short) to even 12 inches (very large), these sizes are not common.
Unlike various special knives, chef knives are designed to be in contact with a wide variety of different ingredients and easily disassembled in various ways.
The wide and thick blade is not only particularly strong during cutting, but it also ensures that the knife can be comfortably and safely guided close to the knuckles.
In this way, you can even chop the best herbs into small pieces, or chop the meat into the silky tenderloin.
The slightly curved blade of this knife is perfect for slicing. The slightly rounded edges allow you to divide the ingredients in a single, smooth motion.
There are different price ranges for cooking chef's knives. The cheaper ones are usually made of stamped steel, while the more expensive ones are made of forged steel.
The price of high-end handmade chef's knives can even reach US$5.00, and you can buy cheap stamping knives for as low as US$20 in almost any store.
Of course, the quality of these price ranges varies greatly.
The significant advantage of Damascus steel chef's knife is its reasonable price.
You can browse the latest chef's knife series in our store.
German and French blades
There are many sizes, materials, and grip designs of modern chef knives. However, the slight difference in blade shape makes them belong to French or German blades.
The main difference lies in the shape of the blade:
- A German-style knife with uniformly curved blades from the heel to the tip of the blade
- The cutting edge of French knives is straighter and only bends upwards at the tip of the knife.
Both types are called Western-style chef's knives.
The design of the grip is not critical to defining either of these two types. The style can vary. However, German and French chef's knives are full-handle knives with riveted handles, usually made of wood, micarta, or G-10 material.
The Japanese Parallel is the famous Santoku knife, which is an oriental type chef's knife.
Santoku Knife-Oriental knife equivalent to Western chef's knife
In Japan and Asia, the counterpart of the Western chef's knife is Santoku. Although it is not technically identical to the (Western) chef's knife, it has very similar design and cutting characteristics. It also has a wide range of functions and uses in processing cooking materials.
Damascus steel Santoku (Oriental version of chef's knife)
The main difference between Santoku and the Western version of the chef's knife is the shape of the blade.
Although still slightly curved, Santoku's blade is more straightforward than a German or French chef's knife. In addition, the spine of the Santoku knife bends down at the tip of the knife.
The traditional Santoku has a "half handle" with a wooden octagonal handle.
However, modern Santoku knives come with various handle designs and handle made of wood or modern man-made materials (Micarta, G-10, etc.).
Compared with Western chefs' knives, Santoku knives tend to be smaller, thinner, and lighter.
Many modern blades (Glanton blades) also have small "pockets" to prevent food from sticking to the blade.
But the most significant difference between Eastern and Western chef's knives is how it is handled.
Although the German and French chef's knives should be moved back and forth in more slicing motions, Santoku knives should generally be used in more chopping motions.
Comparison of Santoku Knife and chef Knife
Comparison of Japanese and European chef's knives
Professional chefs and amateur chefs are still arguing about the degree to which Japanese or European chefs’ knives are preferable. Both cultures have a long tradition of forging, producing high-quality, stable, and sharp knives for home chefs and professional chefs for decades.
In Japan, Santoku represents excellent cutting art, and German and French chef's knives also have a long and firm tradition.
For you to decide which of the two knife cultures, your personal preferences and your experience with the two knives may be the deciding factor.
|Western European type (German and French)||East Asian and Japanese type (Santoku)|
|The main feature of the European chef's knife is the U-shaped cutting of the blade. This is destined for liquid, elegant weighing, and cutting, which ensures fast processing, especially for softer ingredients.
In addition, the blade is considered very strong. Due to this robustness, the operation of the tool is also very simple. Cutting technology has little to do with European knives because their blades are very strong.
|On the other hand, Japanese chef's knives are generally considered to be very sharp, sharper than similar European knives. This is mainly due to the V-shaped cutting off the edges, which makes the blade more effective.
However, this special sharpening, together with the manufacture of the blade, also brings greater challenges to the handling of Japanese knives.
The use of Japanese knives for shredding and trimming should be avoided as much as possible. The blade reacts very sensitively, causing breakage or at least rapid wear.
In addition, if you use a hard cutting mat, such as a slate, the blade will not be able to hold the edge for a long time. As the sharpness of Japanese blades has become higher, the same sensitivity has also increased.
Which one to choose? (Western model or three virtues)
If you are considering buying your first Damascus knife but cannot decide which one, then buying a chef's knife is your best choice. Whether you decide to choose the classic model or Santoku, once you start using it, it will become your most-used knife.
There are many styles to choose from in our shop because these are the most popular types of knives, so we make sure that there are always many to choose from.
If you have questions about which model is best for your needs, here is our advice:
- If you are a "meat-eater" and often cook with meat, then the Western version of Damascus chef's knife is a better choice. There is a more defined point on the tip that will give you some extra space for manipulation when handling meat, as it usually requires more slices.
- If you are a vegetarian or like to cook "Asian cuisine", then buying a Damascus Santoku knife is the right choice for you. Cutting fresh vegetables with this kind of knife is a pleasure, it will add a touch of oriental spirit to your cooking experience.
What is the price of a high-end Damascus chef's knife?
Many chef's knives have been sold at very affordable prices. Whether you are buying individual blades or choosing a set of knives, you can buy them within your budget.
However, people must be aware that low prices can also affect quality. Very cheap knives wear out quickly and are often poorly processed, causing more frustration in the kitchen rather than bringing the joy of cooking.
The price of a better-quality chef's knife ranges from $60 to $100. Upward, the price range is open. The price of high-end tools is usually between US$100 and US$500.
The price of a professional chef's knife is usually more than US$200, and some customized or special steel consumer blades can even reach a price of more than US$5,000. The most expensive Damascus chef's knife sells for about 80.000 Euros.
Several factors determine the final price. Not only the materials used but also the degree of manual work put into production are critical.
Damascus kitchen knives are generally more expensive than stainless steel kitchen knives because they are well made.
If the sharpening of the knife is done by the master blacksmith himself, this will also affect the price of the chef's knife.
A quick buying guide for chef's knives-what to look for?
Before you go out and buy a chef's knife, you should tell yourself what to look for when buying such a knife.
Blindly buying inferior goods will eventually lead to more frustrations and waste of money. If you pay attention to small things, you can be sure that you will enjoy your knives for a long time when you buy them.
Handle (grip) material
First, consider the tool holder. In terms of the efficiency and service life of your tools, the materials used here have already played an important role.
The handles of cooking knives usually use wood, plastic or composite materials. Pay attention to the use of high-quality materials. Pakka wood, Rosewood, Dalbergia, and Ebony are the gold standards for wooden handles, while Micarta and G-10 are advantageous composite materials. The handle should be integrally formed without notches or cracks. In addition, the shape of the handle should be ergonomic. This means it is comfortable to hold and easy to guide when cutting.
Ergonomics of the handle and blade
There are various designs of handles and blades. Most modern kitchen knives are designed in such a way that they can be held comfortably and used for longer periods of time.
The ergonomic design of the handle brings the following advantages:
- It's very comfortable to hold your hand in your hand. If you cover the knife with your hand, the handle of the palm will not hurt. It best fits the contour of your palm.
- In the long run, this knife is also very useful. Even if you insist on using knives, your hands will not show signs of fatigue.
Knife Weight and Balance
In addition, the weight of the knife plays an important role and should not be underestimated. The blade cannot be too heavy or too light. It should be just right.
The length and height of the blade should be tailored to your needs. This means that the length and width of the knife are suitable and can cut the required ingredients. But it should also fit your hand well. Although large knives are suitable for large hands, people with small hands should turn to smaller kitchen knives.
Balance is very important, especially for larger knives (such as chef's knives). Expect the center to be balanced on the backing plate. This means that if you hold the knife on your fingers where the blade and the handle connect, the knife will not tilt and remain level.
Proper balance ensures good guidance and comfortable cutting and slicing.
Aesthetics and surface treatment
Finally, pay attention to the processing of the handle and the blade. The entire knife must be displayed as one piece. There must be no grooves or holes. When cutting food, leftovers will stick to it, which can lead to the growth of mold and harmful bacteria.
In addition, you should carefully check the blade of the knife.
Whether it is stainless steel, Damascus knife, or hammered steel, the knife should have a smooth surface. This shows that the chef's knife is not only honed but also polished. The smooth surface ensures that the blade is optimally protected against rust and moisture.
Material and steel grade
Material plays an important role in purchasing the right tool. The handle and blade can only be made of high-quality, durable materials. The quality of the materials used determines the time you can enjoy your chosen chef's knife.
The first choice for beginners, the hardness of steel should reach around 60 HRC. The most popular and widely used kitchen chef's knife steels are VG-10, AUS-10, and 10Cr15CoMoV.
Blades made of these types of steel are hard but not brittle and can be ground into sharp surfaces.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Anyone who wants to assemble or upgrade kitchen equipment needs to decide whether he should buy one or more chef's knives, or just rely on his own special knife.
The advantage of chef knives lies in their universal application. The same knife can be used for different compositions and applications without the need to change tools. This can be a considerable relief, especially after a stressful working day. In addition, chef knives are available in different lengths and widths so that everyone can find a knife that suits their hands and needs. In addition, they don't have to be expensive chef's knives are already available at affordable prices, so they are easy to budget.
However, the chef's knife as a universal tool can also be a disadvantage. Knives for different compositions wear out faster. Not only that, various structures can attack the cutting surface, and the frequency of use of the blade is also higher. With this in mind, cheaper models require more intensive care because they become dull faster and must be resharpened more frequently.
- Universal tool-suitable for different ingredients
- No tool change required
- Already bought cheaply
- Available in different versions
- Due to different usage, wear faster
- Cheaper models become blunt faster
How to use a chef's knife?
If you want to learn the correct way to use a chef's knife, please watch this short video, which explains some basic cutting and slicing techniques. Next time when you hold the knife in your hand, try to follow the advice given in the video. Since then, only practice can be perfect.
To enjoy your chef's knife for as long as possible, you should pay special attention to two aspects: careful handling and proper maintenance. These two factors inevitably interact and are difficult to separate from each other. If both of these aspects are respected, your chef's knife should stay sharp for a long time.
First of all, pay attention to the careful handling of chef's knives. This includes ensuring that the proper cutting mat is used. The cushion cannot be too hard. Otherwise, the blade will wear out quickly. Avoid cutting boards made of stone or glass. These materials damage the blade the most. It's best to use a hardwood or plastic board, but don't dull the knife too much.
Also, make sure you cut it softly and not too suddenly. Hard cutting or strong prying can damage the blade of the chef's knife.
Correct care is also very important so that the knife can stay sharp for a long time. Always clean the chef's knife by hand. In dishwashers, the blades are severely worn, and many cleaners are too hot for sensitive blades. Rinse the knife with warm water but not too hot water, and use a mild detergent. After that, the knife should be sufficiently dry. For this reason, we recommend wiping with a soft cloth, and then draining, so that the handle is also completely dry.
If you want to sharpen your knife, you have three options: sharpening steel, sharpening rod, or sharpening stone (whetstone). All three variants have their advantages and disadvantages. The most recommended is to use a whetstone for sharpening because it has sided with different grain sizes, so you can get the most effective results. Especially for Damascus chef's knife, it is recommended to polish it on a whetstone to achieve the best effect.
If you want to take care of your knives in the best way, you should take them to a professional sharpener every six months.
In addition to proper maintenance and careful handling of chef knives, sufficient storage space is also one of the factors that determine the life of this knife.
One thing is certain: if you want to enjoy your chef's knife for a long time, you should not put it in the drawer with other knives or other utensils. In the drawer, the cutlery rubs against each other, causing wear and damage to the blades. The hasty storage of knives in a full cutlery drawer also makes high-quality chef knives dim and fragile.
There are many options for storing kitchen knives correctly.
If you don't want to leave the storage space in the drawer, you can choose the blade cover. These covers are put on the blades after cleaning to prevent the blades from rubbing against other utensils.
Another popular storage option is the classic knife holder. These knife blocks were originally made of wood only, which is gentle on the blade and prevents wear when inserted or pulled out. Today, you can also get knife blocks made of plastic or glass. The advantage of all blocks is that each knife is stored separately and can be used quickly with just a light pull. In addition, high-quality knife blocks can be very decorative.
Professional chefs who often cook in different locations prefer knife bags. These are flexible fabric bags with slots for every professional chef's knife. In such a bag, multiple knives can be stored. With the help of tape or rope, the bag can be rolled up or folded and fastened easily. Therefore, not only can you keep your knives together at all times, but you can also easily carry collectibles with you. Many combine the knife pocket with a separate blade cover.
The fourth variant is the increasingly popular magnetic stripe. They are fixed on the wall above the stove or near the kitchen workbench. With the help of magnetic attraction, you can attach a chef's knife with a blade to this bar so that you can always see your knife collection. This strip avoids the blades from rubbing against each other. When installing and removing it from the magnetic strip, always fold the knife on the back of the blade, never on the blade.