The Chef’s knife is the most versatile of all kitchen knives. It is an essential tool for any cook, professional or amateur. It is used mainly for slicing and chopping, although it can be adapted to many tasks in the kitchen: dicing, mincing, cutting in julienne, crush garlic… However, it is not recommended to use it as a deboner or for butcher’s work. As the Chef knife is quite big, it is not a comfortable tool to peel vegetables.
Chef’s knife size
The most common size is 8 inches (20 centimeters), although it can vary between 6 and 14 inches (15 and 35 centimeters). Consider that the longer the knife, the more difficult it is to control it. The ideal size is between 8-10 inches (20-25 inches long).
Blade shape and edge
The shape of the blade and the curvature of the edge allow to rock the chef knife on the board for a more precise cutting. Depending on the shape of the blade, the length and the curvature, there are different types of chef’s knives:
- German chef’s knife, with a curved edge.
- French chef’s knife, with a more straight edge.
- The Japanese chef knife, known as Santoku, has a straighter edge – like the French – but a widest blade.
Parts of a Chef’s knife
- Tip: It is the thinnest part of the whole knife, that represents about a third of the blade. It is used for delicate work, such as molding small ingredients or punching food.
- Edge: The sharp part of the blade, from the tip to the bolster. A good knife must be well sharpened to a proper use.
- Heel: The thickest part of the edge. Gives balance when strength is required for cutting.
- Spine: The not sharpened part of the blade, and the thickest. You can support the second hand when you need to apply more force on the cutting task.
- Finger guard: In some forged knives, the finger guard avoids fingers to slip to the edge.
- Bolster: In forged knives, the bolster is the thick steel part that connects the blade and the handle. Its weight is the key for a well balanced knife.
- Handle: The part to hold the knife. Usually made from plastic or wooden materials. Many knives have two scales riveted to the steel tang, the extension of the blade inside the handle.
Tips to choose a good Chef’s knife
There are a number of features that help you determine the quality of a knife:
- Blade material. The most important are: Stainless steel, Carbon steel and Ceramic.
- Hardness and quality of material. Hard steel or ceramic materials ensure longer sharpness.
- Solid and comfortable finger guard, to improve safety when working hours with your knife.
- Joints between different parts should not be noticed in order to avoid dirt and bacteria.
- You must check for balance and comfort when choosing your Chef’s knife. Size and weight should fit to the user, as well as the handle, to give full comfort in long working hours with the knife.
Have a look to our chef’s knife range. Which is your favourite?